Video: Designing Your Life

When I first saw this video, I thought it would be perfect ‘content’ to share with my girls. You see, I officially became an empty nester when I helped my youngest daughter move in with my oldest daughter in their college town this past weekend. [sniff] I don’t want to be the overbearing mom, so I like it when I can stumble upon nice sharable content that allows me to contact them without seeming needy. (Similar to a bookstore/customer relationship.)

So when I started watching this video for Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, I thought they could glean something from both the video and the book. But the more I watched it I thought, ‘Forget the girls. I think need this book.’

In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans illustrate how design thinking can help create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.

If you want to share this with your daughters, er… customers, here’s the embed code:

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Mixing Business with Pleasure: A Series of Selfies

Mixing Business with Pleasure: A Series of Selfies

I’m friends with a few of you through our personal pages on social media, and I have to say that my book friends are among my favorite posters. And while I enjoy the peek behind the curtain into your personal lives, I really love seeing how some of you tie your book lives into your personal pages; it’s obvious that being a bookseller is more a vocation than a job, and the two worlds cannot be easily separated.

One bookseller who always makes me smile is Cynthia Compton with 4 Kids Books & Toys in Zionsville, Indiana.

In addition to “meeting” her kids (and her bulldog) through social media, I get to see all of the fun activities happening at the store. I especially enjoyed her posts during the week of Halloween, when Cynthia would post a selfie, dressed up to match the theme of a book.

Whether she’s a minion, a witch, a chef or a princess, she usually has a book in frame and a smile on her face. And not only does her clever wit shine through her captions and hashtags, (“Preventing scurvy, one story hour at a time… #4kidsbooks #shop local #zionville”) but so do the services provided through her store (“Wanna play ‘guess the party theme?’ #birthdayparty #4kidsbooks #zionsville #carmel”).


In addition to sharing the images on her personal Facebook page, Cynthia says she also posts them on the store’s Instagram account.

“My kids are (of course) mortified… #momsonsocialmedia,” she says.

(Honestly, I thought that was a prerequisite.)

Coffee Tree Books: Social Media Class

Coffee Tree Books in Morehead, Ky., is located at the edge of the Morehead State University campus, so they’re often tuned in to the collegiate calendar and student comings and goings. But this year, they are particularly aware of the semester’s end and final grades–not because they are receiving them, but instead because they are giving them. You see, Coffee Tree Books is serving as a “client” for a social media class.

“I turned it over to [the students],” says Susan Thomas, owner of Coffee Tree Books. “It was very difficult to turn over all of the social media, because it’s hard for employees to not do it.”

Susan says that not only was the process a learning experience for the class, it was a learning experience for the store.

“They had to do 5 forms of social media,” she says. “So in addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I now have Pinterest and YouTube accounts.

The class had specific curriculum expectations: They had to create a contest on social media, and they also were required to create a logo, which resulted in Duck After Dark, an evening concert series held in the store’s Fuzzy Duck Coffee Shop.

“They had to meet with me every week,” Susan explained, “and they had to post something every day.”

Susan says they were a great class, but she thinks they found that working in a group is difficult.

“There were four of them,” she says. “One needs to be the leader. One needs to be the client liaison. They discovered that they needed to plan.”

I was particularly impressed with the videos created by the student group. One promoted books new to the store that week, and the other promoted an adult spelling bee. Susan liked the ideas so much, she plans to create more videos for the store and will share the results with us later.

Now that the semester is over, the big question is: Would she serve as client again?

“I’ll have them do it again next year,” she says. “We’ll have a different starting point.”

Although Susan says she has always shied away from having personal social media accounts, she discovered that social media is about making yourself special.

“We’ll see how it converts into love, and dollars,” she says. “It’s all the same when you’re a bookseller.”

We All Make Mistakes

We all make mistakes. Even the rocket scientists at NASA.

Granted, the tweets posted by NASA are probably not penned by rocket scientists, but they should probably be proofread by them.

NASA_sun_moon_ tweet_mistakeYesterday, NASA posted this tweet, which included an image of the view from the Space Station. It read: “What’s our new cover pic? The sun & Earth, as seen by @StationCDRKelly from the @Space_Station. Enjoy! #YearInSpace”

The problem? It wasn’t the sun shown in the photo. It was the moon.

NASA deleted the original tweet and issued a correction. But there are two little words that prevent delete/retweet as a viable solution. “Screen shot.”

We all make mistakes, and a lot can go wrong in 140 characters. But if you want to save yourself a little embarrassment, take 300 Seconds and have a colleague look over your shoulder before you press the “tweet” button. And if there’s no colleague around, remember, there’s always Victoria.




Don’t Miss Your Favorite Tweeters

Trying to follow the appropriate people and not miss any tweets on Twitter’s continual stream can start to feel like you’re eating a bran muffin; the more you chew, the bigger it gets.

Tweetdeck is a tool from Twitter that allows you to segment and organize your timeline into different columns that can show notifications, scheduled tweets, and activity, among others. Here’s the entire list of column types available.

Screenshot 2015-08-05 05.51.18

In addition to my home, activity, and scheduled tweets columns, I created three “lists” columns: one each for authors, bookstores, and publishers I want to follow. Lists can be public or private, and you have complete control of each list. You determine who makes it on the list. And if they’re a bit overzealous with their tweets, you can remove them from the private list without having to actually unfollow them.

As I write this piece, with a glance at my Tweetdeck and no scrolling through the timeline, several click-worthy items caught my attention:

  • I discovered that while I can no longer listen to Benedict Cumberbatch read Kafka’s Metamorphosis on BBC, I can still hear Neil Gaiman read A Study in Emerald.
  • I found that Margaret Atwood’s “MaddAddamites NooBroo” beer–a summer-suited effervescent ale, made with a bouquet of botanical ingredients inspired by her “MaddAddam” trilogy–is now available in LCBOs in Canada. (Atwood collaborated with Beau’s Brewery as a fundraiser for Pelee Island Bird Observatory. She also wrote the tasting notes for the beer.)
  • And I was pleased to realize that J. Ryan Stradal and I share an affinity for LaCroix cocktails.

It’s really simple to start using Tweetdeck, just sign in with your Twitter username and password. Once you’re logged in, you can add columns, create lists, schedule tweets, and more.

And if you’re looking for some authors to follow, here are a few recommendations from your fellow booksellers: Brodi Ashton, Margaret Atwood, Geraldine Brooks, Chris Bohjalian, Kelly Corrigan, Sarah Dessen, Lauren DeStefano, Tim Federle, Jamie Ford, John Green, Shannon Hale, Tony Hortwitz, Oliver Jeffers, Maureen Johnson, Stephen King, Jon Klassen, Kiese Laymon, Neil Gaiman, David Levithan, Ann Patchett, Rainbow Rowell, Jon Scieszka, Samantha Shannon, Laurel Snyder, Mo Willems, and Sara Zarr.