Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Twitter 102: Effectively navigating the Twitterverse

I wrote a while back about how big and major social networking has become. Most everyone seems to be on Facebook now. Many more folks are joining Twitter now. However, its a different platform, and can be hard to figure out. It's actually a little more effective far as finding out the latest news in world and entertainment, plus it has better networking tools. Here are some tips from my 2 years of experience to help you make the most of Twitter.

- Follow actual people, and not just celebrities. Try to engage in conversation with them as they tweet and such.

-Participate in TTs (Trending Topics) often. These can be world events such as the upcoming Royal Wedding, or topics in hashtags such as #tragicmoviedeaths. You would put the hashtagged subject into your tweet, and tweet something related to the topic.

- Less is more. Refrain from going over the 140 character limit in your tweets whenever possible. Many folks do not care to read too much on an extra link. One and two liners are key.

- Retweet the tweets are others, but don't overdo it. Make sure you mix it up with your own tweets and convos with others. This will make your timeline (TL) more interesting and therefore a more interesting follower.

- While you shouldn't expect every one you follow to follow you back, try following back your followers. Be interactive!

- Whether on your computer or your cell phone, get a Twitter app. It makes your Twitter experience more exciting and easier. Tweetdeck is a good app, available for the PC, iPhone, and Android phones. There's also Tweetcaster and Plume for Android, Twitbird and Echofon for the iPhone, and UberSocial for the Blackberry, to name some of the more popular Twitter apps out.

-Make your tweets and accounts private. Due to spammers and such, this should be a given.

-Upload interesting photos (or Twitpics) frequently.

Beware of follower services and even Follow Fridays. Many times these are ineffective ways to gain followers. The best bet is to gain followers through interacting with others.

- Check frequently to see if you have been unfollowed. is effective for this purpose. You don't need your TL cluttered with folks that followed you just to increase their follower count.

- Lastly, have fun, don't bash others or become an e-thug, and be socialble. If you feel the need to blast a follower, send them a direct message (DM) . Discretion is best.

Happy Tweeting!
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Legacy of David Fink

A week ago today, Gaffney and the members of my beloved gym, Your Best Body Fitness Center and Day Spa, lost a great man in David Fink. He passed unexpectedly from a massive heart attack suffered as a result of an enlarged heart. He was the co-owner of YBB with his wife, Lisa, trainer, and in charge of YBB's Boot Camp. He leaves one heck of a legacy. David dedicated his life to health, fitness, and the wellness of himself and others. This makes his sudden death at only age 47 harder to swallow. His dream was to have a gym where everyone, regardless of your fitness background, could come and feel welcome. David did exactly that. He built YBB from humble beginnings into one of the top fitness centers in the county, and one of the best-kept secrets in the entire Upstate South Carolina area. David was an innovative, forward thinking man, always devising ways to make people healthier and enjoy getting healthy. He not only made sure YBB had top notch fitness equipment, supplements, and trainers, he built and instituted other additions. These include a full-court basketball gym, used for adult and children's leagues and ZUMBA classes. He especially recognized the growing need and appeal of ZUMBA, and approved 7 classes/week, more than any other class or boot camp. The MMA class has also become a popular draw for enthusiasts and experts of this art. David really wanted to put the members first, listen to us, and provide us with resources that we could both enjoy and benefit from. David was also extremely friendly and sociable, often being near the front entrance, greeting members and conversing with us about a wide variety of subjects. Once again, customer service was a high priority for him. He truly cared about all of his members, and that feeling was often mutual. I'm blessed to have formed a close, personal relationship with David and Lisa over the past 4 years. When I lost my infamous 100 pounds, David was behind me throughout most of it. He was my trainer as I joined his Boot Camp. His sessions were no picnic and he would push me to the limit, but it was all worth it. When the smoke cleared and the weight was gone, I did several promotional pieces, including appearing on flyers and on their website, He truly did have a big heart as he took my health and weight loss as serious as I did. Yes he was compensated for his work, but that was still love. After I lost the weight and he no longer trained me, he was still available for various questions, advice, and encouragement. He provided workout plans and sample menus for all of the members to use. I still use many to this day. David Fink was truly in a class by himself. He was a husband, son, uncle, father, brother, friend, trainer, businessman, coach, and motivator. I would like to say (again) thanks David for everything. I've been into fitness for years, but it became more. fun and effective after meeting you. What you and Lisa built at YBB was a great community and family within the gym. I look forward to coming to work out. I've gotten waay more from YBB than a nice physique and a healthier outlook on life. Joining and staying at YBB has been one of the best decisions of my life. It will never be the same going in YBB and not seeing David's smiling face with his Tarheel or YBB gear and great conversation. I know Lisa will keep the legacy alive. David is gone, but what he has built over the past 20 years doesn't have to die with him. And I don't think it will. R.I.P. David Wayne Fink, my trainer, motivator, mentor, and friend. 1963-2011
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Miseducation: Is there a better album?

One of the best and most timeless albums of all time is Lauryn Hill's 1998 solo release "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" It went multiple platinum, won several Grammys, and allowed "L-Boogie" to separate herself from the Fugees.

Notice I said one of the greatest albums. After careful consideration, listening and analyzing, Jill Scott's first release "Who Is Jill Scott" not only holds its own with 'Miseducation', it bests it in many ways.

One of my homies boldly said this same thing. I, and several others, initially chastised him for this claim. I then decided to get both albums and do my own analysis while on a long road trip. And I agree with my friend.

Lauryn Hill has an awesome reputation as a hip-hop artist, and just a musician in general. Her unique style, voice, and lyrics make any album stellar. However, I came to the conclusion that "Miseducation" is not an album that has great listening value. On the 2nd and subsequent listenings, I found myself wanting to skip two or three songs. Lauryn's voice, plus those numerous interludes, also interfered. I realize I'm nitpicking, but I know music. It's still a great album, just a bit overrated.

Jill Scott is a soulful, Neo-Soul artist whose style is Sharp but not totally original. She is often compared to Floetry or Erykah Badu. However, "Who Is Jill Scott" is a nearly flawless album. You can listen to it over and over and feel soothed rather than nauseated. You can get lost in the awesome flow of Jill's music. She didn't receive Grammy love or much radio play like "Miseducation" However, she comes from a slightly deeper place than Lauryn. Her melodic ballads add to the overall album quality.

These are my views, but I believe most can agree both albums are must-haves, and that Jill Scott is also a strong artist deserving of more praise.

I welcome all feedback as always, positive and negative.

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