I Got Mad. I Tweeted. I Ended Up on CNN Live!

UPDATE: I’ll be back on CNN this Thursday, July 30th with Rick Sanchez around 3:30PM…related healthcare topic.

I don’t usually get into personal issues on my blog, but this topic on healthcare reform for people with pre-existing conditions hit home. I ended up on CNN talking about it, and since I have other articles here about how media opportunities come my way all the time, this story fits.

Yes. I am totally with President Obama on healthcare reform and wish the naysayers would stop whining and screaming so we can get this done. I want the food industry to make food healthier and stop putting salt, sugar,  steroids, and other junk in our food. I want individuals to get more serious about the food, drink, and abusive substances they put in their bodies. I want a national movement of people walking and exercising. And I want all companies in the healthcare industry and our government to examine every process, procedure, and technology solution, from the mailroom to the boardroom, so they operate more efficiently.

How This Started

I tweeted the other day because I was mad when I happened to turn on the TV and listened to people with $40 million dollar salaries talk about there being no need for a public option for healthcare for regular people like me.

Here’s the tweet that started all this. I don’t usually use curse words, but oops.

15 years since pre-existing condition and Kaiser still tells me no. I can pay for insurance and can’t get it. Damn right I want reform.

Later, I tweeted this:

My President is trying to get insurance for me. First thing out of Bill OReillys $40million mouth is that it’s rhetoric.

Well, little did I know that CNN was looking for regular, ordinary, hard-working Americans to interview who are in my situation. They called, and I didn’t hesitate. Well, I did a little bit. I don’t usually discuss my personal life outside my immediate family. People who have been knowing me for years had no idea that I’m a breast cancer survivor. The 15 years in the tweet was where I was the last time Kaiser turned me down. That was two years ago, so now I’m a 17-year survivor.

I was glad I’d decided to do the show when I received this tweet from a follower:

Serious Q because of what you do -like me-don’t you pay for your own ins? Then why do “we” need the GOV to do it for you or me?

This was my response to her. I didn’t hear back.

The gov won’t pay all for people like me who can afford it. I want to pay but I have a pre-existing condition and am denied.

Obtaining viable health insurance is not like going to the store with money and picking out what you need and getting it. Once you’ve had the audacity to get sick, you’re too much of a risk for the insurance companies, and having the money to pay the premiums won’t matter.

Join the conversation on CNN’s site.
Check out all
the active comments.


Why I Create Time to Blog and Why You Should Too

Boost your search engine
rankings with a blog.

With over 72 percent of people finding what they need online, you must get found. A blog offers the following benefits.

Share your expertise. A business blog gives you a platform to promote what you know and establish yourself as an expert in the marketplace.

Describe and build your brand. Your brand represents what people know about you or think of when they hear of you. Focusing your blog on your expertise will help promote your brand.

Boost search engine rankings. As you continue to offer tips, insight, and advice to people who need what you have, you’ll give the search engines what they crave – fresh, quality content.

Reach the masses with less effort and money. Search engines, links from other sites, integration with social media tools, and Google Alerts are just a few of the ways a blog can help you reach people you never would have otherwise. You could start to attract potential customers, clients, journalists, and industry giants seeking fresh ideas.

If you need more convincing why blogging is so important, you have got to read this article from Anita Campbell’s Small Business Trends blog, “42 Million U.S. Women Use Social Media: Blogs Most Influential.”

“But I’ve heard blogs are free and
easy to set up. Why do I need training?”

Yes, it’s true. You can easily create a simple blog at sites such as Blogger from Google. But if you want to become a serious blogger and take advantage of customized designs and plug-ins that will boost your search engine rankings and virability, you’ll want our advice and training. You’ll want a self-hosted WordPress blog with powerful functionality that makes it easy to share and get others to promote.

With a self-hosted blog, you will:

  • Have complete control over design, functionality, and virability.
  • Be able to add any number of the thousands of free plugins that make your blog easy to share and promote, thus boosting your search engine rankings.
  • Host your own content and easily move it from one host to another if you ever need to.
  • Easily create full backups of all files.
  • Be able to monetize it by selling your own products.
  • Upload as much content as your hosting package will allow.

Attract new business and the media
like a magnet!

Here is a previous post I wrote that will convince you to start with a professional, self-hosted WordPress blog so you won’t have to backtrack later and change it. A few months later, my blog won Top Business Blog from FastPitchNetworking.com.

“I have a newsletter that I email regularly.
Why do I need a blog?”

It’s a good idea to collect email addresses and send your subscribers valuable information regularly. But if that’s all you’re doing, how will Google and other search engines know? The only people seeing your newsletter are your subscribers. When you add your expertise to a blog, it’ll get picked up by the search engines and exposed to the world! So do both.

Google will be the first to tell you that you don’t have to pay them to get found online.  In the Blogging Bootcamp, we’re going to walk you through what they suggest you do, plus some more of what we’ve learned along the way.


Create a Customized YouTube Channel Background Using PowerPoint (videos)

In a recent post, I gave step-by-step instructions on how to create a customized Twitter background using PowerPoint and included links to my how to videos I made using Camtasia. If you have a YouTube channel, you can use the same methods explained in these videos to create a customized background (the skin) for it.

Resize PowerPoint Slide First, Then Design It

In the Part I video, you’ll see in Step 1 that it’s necessary to resize a PowerPoint landscape slide. For my YouTube channel, I changed the slide to Portrait and resized it to 15 inches width and 24 inches height.

To learn how to design the PowerPoint slide, watch the Twitter background videos because the same techniques apply.

Add Your Graphic to Your YouTube Channel Background

Once you’re satisfied with your PowerPoint design, sign in to your YouTube Channel account. Use the instructions in the video link below to change your background.

 Step-by-Step Videos

I’ve posted a series of step-by-step videos on all this on my YouTube channel, digitalbreakthroughs. This link will take you to a playlist that has five videos. The last video shows you how to upload your new design.

Update – Don’t Have a YouTube Channel?

Creating a YouTube channel is easy, but there is
a lot more to it than what you see on the surface.

I wanted to take my YouTube channel to another level, so I started learning more about it. Setting up a YouTube channel is easy, but I soon discovered that there were a lot of features I wasn’t taking advantage of.

As I was learning more about having a YouTube channel, I took a lot of notes. Every time I wanted to do something, I’d have to dig through those same notes. I started organizing them into a logical work flow, and ended up with step-by-step instructions that were good enough to put into a booklet. A review team went through every page, and every step to verify its accuracy.

You can reduce your learning curve and avoid having to go back to improve your channel by learning how to do it right in the first place. A Complete Guide: Create, Build, and Manage a YouTube Channel, is a 24-page guide updated to the latest version of YouTube, published May 2011.

Also available in ebook format
You’ll receive a PDF of this booklet
within 24 hours of payment.
Order online.

I hope you’ll check out the full table of contents, buy yourself a copy, and recommend it to others. Always free shipping. Click here for more information on building your YouTube channel, and discover lots of features I wish I’d known.



Create a Twitter Background Using PowerPoint (with Video Instructions)

In a previous post, I explained how I use PowerPoint for all of my graphics projects. A designer will laugh at this because they probably use software such as PhotoShop to handle complex projects. Well, I don’t know PhotoShop well enough to whip out something fast, but I know just about everything that PowerPoint can do. And for the types of projects I have, I’ve figured out how to get them done fast using this software I already have.

My latest project consisted of changing my Twitter background for my main account, and another one here @ digitalbreaks. PowerPoint gives me total control of customization.

Here’s how I did it (links to YouTube videos included below).

UPDATE: All the videos on YouTube show you how to do this in PowerPoint versions 2003 and 2007.

Ready PowerPoint for Your Design

  1. Decide on your color scheme, matching your Website, blog, etc. (or not), and sketch out a rough design. (Here are some charts that show you Web colors that match.)
  2. In PowerPoint, resize a landscape slide to 20” Width and 12.5 inches Height (click the File menu, Page Setup). Depending on your monitor and resolution, you may have to reduce the Zoom level in order to see more of your slide. Both monitors are set at resolution 1280 by 720 pixels.
  3. Either from Slide Master view or directly on the slide, change the color of your background. Make it more interesting by using two colors and experimenting with Shading styles (click the Format menu, Background, down arrow to Fill Effects, Two colors (then click the down arrow and choose colors). Try the different Shading styles. My @peggyduncan Twitter background is a dark blue and white with the Shading style, From title.

Here’s a Video – Part 1

(Rate and Comment please. Subscribe to my channel for updates.)

Place Your Graphics and Customize Your Design

  1. Display the ruler (click the View menu, Ruler).
  2. To place graphics on your slide, first set your Zoom level at 50%. The zero (0) marks the center of your slide. Using the ruler as your guide, to the left, place your graphics between 0-8.5. On the right, place them between 4.5 and 6.5.
  3. Use guides and a grid to help you line everything up (View, Grids and Guides, Display drawing guides on screen, Display grid on screen.
  4. Create more guides by hovering your mouse over one and dragging while holding down the  Ctrl key. When you’re finished and don’t need as many guides, click and drag some of them off the screen.
  5. Add any other drawing elements and graphics you want (the higher the resolution the better). Add text using a text box so it will be easier to move around (located on the Drawing toolbar. Click the Tools menu, Toolbars, Drawing).
  6. Save the slide as a PNG (click the File menu and change Save as type to PNG Portable Network Graphics Format, Current Slide Only). The final filesize can not be larger than 800k for Twitter. If you need to resize any photos (but maintain the quality), read my previous post, Resize a Bunch of Photos by the Batch.

It’s important to note that when you save your slide as a graphic, it’ll only be 96dpi. This might be good enough for your design but if it’s not as sharp as you want, check out Image Exporter from the PPTools Website. This is the software I use when I need to save my PowerPoint slides in higher resolution (about $30.00 and worth every dime), especially when I need to print them.

Here’s a Video – Part 2
Here’s a Video – Part 2.5

Add Design to Twitter as Background

Once you’re satisfied with your PowerPoint design, sign into your Twitter account.

  1. Click Settings, Design tab.
  2. Under the default theme, click Change background image, Browse to find your graphic, double-click it.
  3. Untick the tile background box (so design won’t repeat itself when viewing using different monitor resolutions), Save changes.

Tweaking It Until It’s Right

You will probably have to tweak your PowerPoint design several times and resave until you get it just the way you want it. I use two monitors: one on my laptop and a second 22?, with both set at resolution 1280 by 720 pixels. The designs looked different on both so I tweaked it as much as I could so it would look great both ways. You have no control over other people’s monitor resolutions so just do this to your satisfaction. A huge advantage of doing this in PowerPoint is that tweaking is so easy.

Now change the default colors in Twitter such as the sidebar background color, text, and links.

  1. Go back into Settings, Design tab, Change design colors.
  2. You may want to change the text, links, sidebar, and sidebar border, keeping everything color-coordinated with your new design.
  3. Click the sidebar block to select it. Now use your mouse to click desired color in the box and use the sliding bar next to it to hone in on the exact color you want. When you’re satisfied, click Done.
  4. Repeat Step 3 for each color block until you’re satisfied and click Save Changes.

Here’s a Video – Part 3

After you’ve created your new background, leave a comment and link so I can check it out.

Is Your Business Card Ugly?

When I got back to my office after a few conferences, I started reviewing some of the business cards I’d collected. I kept noticing the same, common missteps business owners continue to make. Here are a few:

  1. No email address.
  2. Email address is illogical, hard to spell, impossible to remember, hard to type, hard to read.
  3. @yahoo.com, @aol.com, instead of @anybodybutyourownURL.com.
  4. No physical address.
  5. Cheap paper.
  6. Type is too small to read without a magnifying glass.
  7. Background is too wild and text impossible to read or scan.
  8. Design ignores all the rules (e.g., font too fancy for type of business).
  9. Unnecessary words such as “email” before the email address, “Website” before the URL.
  10. Coating on both sides that makes it impossible to take notes on.
  11. Vanity phone numbers such as 400-488-PHONE (not a real number). Don’t make me have to work to call you. Please also include the actual numbers.

Your business card is part of your marketing team, and it needs to be dressed and looking like you mean business. Take a look at yours. Are changes needed?