Brands Are Catching the Connection

Brands are beginning to really catch the connection.   Remember the day of opening a candy bar, biting down, and believing you had a tooth in your bar, writing a letter to the company and getting a box of 48 candy bars?  Wait that never happened to you?  I was a senior in high school and was eating my very first “Big Hunk” bar. Okay, so it had nuts in it. I had no idea. I bit down and feared that some factory worker had lost a tooth. I sent a letter to the company. I received a well written letter explaining the ingredients, and assurance that it was not a tooth, and a big box of bars to share with my friends.

freebies2deals-big-hunk-candyCan you imagine how that would have blown up in Social Media today.  Given the bit of a ham I can be at the age of 48 imagine what I was like as a senior in high-school. The idea of having a major company send a package and letter to some twinky high school girl was unheard of.  I was the cool kid in school for as long as 48 bars would last me.

Brands both big and small are no longer able to hide behind corporate form letters, and auto-mated voice prompts. Companies, whether they like it or not,  are out there subjecting themselves to anyone who knows how to use a smart phone. No more form letters to mail out as an apology. Brands are being forced to catch the connection directly and engage the consumer.   Some are doing it very well and some are still not really seeing the need to do this and hen scratch their heads as to why the competition is quickly moving way ahead.

I had a banner week in connecting a brand to the fans with a major brand.  If you have read in the past then you know I am one of the #IdolTweethearts. Endorsed, loved, appreciated and spoiled rotten by American Idol.  I used to think they might cringe with each email, or see me on caller I.D. and not answer. I ask ALOT for our fans.   Recognizing that there have been those in Social Media who have joined with IdolTweethearts in chatting and sharing during the weekly airing of American Idol during Season 13, I asked American Idol if we might bless some of these fans with tickets for the Idol Tours ( #IdolTour ). “Let’s connect more with them.”  They made no promises, but guess what?  American Idol is doing a terrific job of “catching the connection.” There are a handful of women all over the US going to see the Season 13 American Idols at Idol Tours.  I may have slipped in my name, and all FIVE of my kids, and sure enough my entire family gets to go. American Idol is a big brand, the idea of IdolTweethearts is really trying to find yet another way to connect with fans. They get it. And I may be driving the bus to continue that connection.

on the busThis past month I really started recognizing in my own work, and the work I do for various companies just how important that connection is.  In the “old” days. I worked completely behind the scenes in helping the brand connect with the consumer by way of strategic planning, thinking and directing how best to get their products into the right markets in the best possible way.  Now I can dance and sing in the streets about the brands I represent.  All while holding my smart phone and recording or taking selfies.  I have worked in this Social Space for over 2 years now. I come by connecting with people naturally, but not all those in this space do that and understand that. Pushing your information is not going to build loyalty or brand recognition. Connecting with that end consumer makes a bigger difference.

I went out and bought some Red Vines. I was thinking about filling a mason jar and using as a center piece and tweeted that. @RedVines tweeted me back. I was tickled red. I took a screen shot and posted on my facebook.  I did not even have to bite down, mail a letter to express concern to get a response. A connection was made and I may have bought those red vines in that big bulk bucket.

red vinesI use think that everyone understood what it meant to make the connection with another human soul. I am really one of those people who speaks with strangers fearlessly. What I have learned is that over and over I talk with those working in the online social space and listening to them share how hard it is to get a company on board to understanding how important it is connect with the consumer.  Brands both large and small are beginning to “catch the connection.” Some are slower than others, but there is no going backwards ever again.  Are you catching the connection?

 

 

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Posted in American Idol, In Real Life, Portland

Taking Your Offline Business Online

Social Media, Branding, Marketing, Elizabeth Traub, Business Consultant, The DalleSocial Media is changing how I work and talk about the businesses I work with, both online and offline. It’s been a bit of a mystery for me to think and work differently. How is this space different? For the better part of 20 years, as a consultant, there is this “outside consultant” who comes into a company to assist where the need is. Outside of my work with a company, I did not speak about the brands in which I work with at cocktail parties or even on a golf course. Even my closest of friends had no idea of the companies I have worked with in the past. I have been a vault for all these companies over the years. I carry NDA’s and what I can speak of and to whom. NDA’s have no place for being all chatty about what project you are working on with a company.

Social Media, Branding, Marketing, Elizabeth Traub, Business Consultant, The DallesAs I am learning and growing how to take my offline business into the online space, I am also bringing more and more of my clients with me, as they become more comfortable and trust my kind of chatty. For many who work in this space every single day, this is clearly a no-brainer. Yet there are many large and small corporations who are still trying to gauge and value the effectiveness of this space. To trust that the message online is going to be consistent with their message offline.

For the past two years I have had to learn and grow in my knowledge of all things social media online, using my own business to test the waters, trying new streams and rivers to flow information in and out of. One thing I have learned is that many online “professionals” in online media ( Social Media)  are not so savvy or professional. Let me apologize now if I offend anyone. There is a script that many use to sell their services in this space. Having the ability to understand how to turn the dials, click the buttons, play with widgets, and get excited about the latest social network, or app is not qualifying, nor is it sustainable to a company.

Social Media, Branding, Marketing, Elizabeth Traub, Business Consultant, The Dalle

Oooh, pretty!

Several months ago I was hired by a company to work on an online project. They had the dial turner and button pusher of social and they were not seeing any value. It pains me to hear this. Once I did an analysis of their accounts I was shocked of the inconsistencies, no strategic message, and each platform looked like a different business. You see, that dial turner and content pusher is not a strategist, nor do they have any experience in branding, marketing and the experience of telling a good story, your story. They WILL NOT know how to take your offline marketing and implement into an online campaign. Unless you have an online professional on your staff to teach and train the culture of how you will bring your offline business into online awareness, you will not really see the effectiveness.

Being an online brand & marketing strategist requires a lot of research, off line experience and developing a strategic message and plan. Many companies, both large and small have not known how to learn, nor do they have the time. Successful companies will always be the hardest to bring on-board, as their companies are reaching goals and benchmarks without taking care or attention to the online space.
I love that what comes natural to me, being chatty, and what my work involves is NOW allowing me to talk more about both offline and online about the companies I am working with. Today is a perfect example. Years ago I would never have posted a pictures like these.

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Hanging out with Eddie Bauer Jr. and Emily Otteson

Wine, Copa Di Vino, The Dalles, Columbia Gorge, Social Media,

Working on an online campaign for Copa Di Vino. I love my home office workspace and working with a local The Dalles, OR client.

Social Media, Online Media, Entrepreneur, Elizabeth Traub. The Dalles, Business Development

One built the Obama’s vacation home, one a major NW utility company and one worked  for Johnson & Johnson. Imagine the work it took to convince these old-school fellows that a picture does not always tell a thousands words. Everyone smile.

My work in writing and building a strategic plan for a company  requires me to have spot-on writing skills, approvals, and editors. (Thank you Emily Otteson for editing this post.) Here, now with my own landing page, website, and blog, my sharing is from my own voice–not the voice, content, or add behind a brand. It’s like knowing who is wearing the Ronald McDonald costume. Often we do not know who a “brand manager” is at all. Yet being that voice and that spokesperson is becoming more and more common. I am getting more comfortable with it. Add in the selfies and pictures and you learn more of who I am and who I am working with.   The evaluation and score card is being made public.

Social Media. Online Media, Branding, Strategist , Marketing Elizabeth TraubWhen I first started working online I thought I should only say I was working, but not who I was working with. My thoughts have changed on this. Taking your offline business into the online space with a clear marketing strategy is one of the most important decisions your company will make.

Now for the “Paid Sponsored” part. The companies or individuals above did not pay me to write this post. They will discover this post like you have, and I am grateful to work with great companies and individuals who trust my words in this space. After all, if each one could say one thing about Elizabeth Traub, it would be “that girl is chatty.” However, I do work with and for the examples I have shown in these pictures. Am I a marketing and brand strategist? Of course I am. Why would I share images of companies I have no passion for?

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Posted in Business Spotlight, Sales & Marketing

Everyone Should Have A “Copa Moment”

I love when grapes are hanging from the vine.

I love when grapes are hanging from the vine.

Today I met with a new company I hope to be working with. Since there are all kinds of laws about disclosing that you are getting paid or given stuff when writing a post, I am happy to say that I have NOT received any kind of compensation for what I am about to write. The minute my fee lands in my bank account I become a law abiding citizen by disclosing things like “sponsored” etc.

I sat in their boardroom, a bit nervous and surrounded by a lot of wine: my first “Copa Moment.”  They did not even offer me one glass! Although, after all, it was only 10:30am…  Their brand offers a single serve pour glass of  wine.  The room had stacks of them. My stomach was rumbling as the meeting spilled into lunch and I had my second little “Copa Moment.” FEED ME!!! The owner ,James Martin, sat across from me and used “Copa Moment” in our dialogue. Being a bit of an ideaphoriac, I was processing and thinking of all kinds of moments.

The brand is called Copa Di Vino. “Copa Di Vino is based in the Southern end of the Columbia Valley in The Dalles, Oregon. Sunset Magazine noted that the Sunshine Mill, home of our flagship brand Copa Di Vino, is perhaps the most interesting wine attraction in all of Oregon” (via their website). I love the idea of working with Copa Di Vino. My mind swirling with ideas and with no hydration or food I am lead to write this post. I would never put my hydration and food needs onto strangers. Aside from these single servings of wine staring at me, I was met with professionalism on every level.

I love when the CEO keeps it real & comfortable.

My car broke down the day before and that car sitting in another city an hour and half away. I had to take my husband to work, juggle kids to school and make this meeting on time. My car is well stocked with my in-the-moment needs of both food and hydration. However, given the circumstances of driving my husband’s car, I went into that meeting with no fuel for the brain.Truly, another real “Copa Moment.”

Copa Di Vino has graced the market with their single serve packaged glass of wine. Honestly, “graced” in an understatement. The owner has been on Shark Tank twice, and they are serving up their single pours in stadiums and concert halls, as well as major grocery chains around America. Their single-pour, classy looking glass is something you can tuck anywhere while on the go to any social event. I do a lot of hiking here in the beautiful Columbia Gorge, and my is it wine country here.

Beautiful Columbia Gorge. The Dalles, OR

Beautiful Columbia Gorge. The Dalles, OR

I have yet to bring that bottle of wine with cheese & crackers, because who wants to slug a bottle up a mountain while carrying extra’s for the kids and the husband? I am wishing I would have known of Copa Di Vino when my dear friend and Food Network Star Paul McCullough visited Portland, OR. I was not sure what restaurant you take a Celebrity Chef to, so instead I packed a picnic which included a large bottle of wine. We may have had to finish the bottle since neither of us wanted to carry it. Peddling along the Willamette River produced some fun videos after finishing the entire bottle! I really wish I would have had a case of Copa Di Vino at that time.

Every mom knows that we have to cope with a lot. Especially being a mom of five and a career mom. My husband gets a little frustrated when I have him pop open a bottle of wine, only to not drink the rest later. I will often forget that I have an expensive bottle sitting for weeks. Coping with life requires enjoying some of life, too. Perhaps there will be more “Copa Moments” being opened in my kitchen.

On my drive home after the first meeting, I was thinking of my own “Copa Momen.” I was thinking back several months when I was in the Sunshine Mill tasting room with my son and his new girlfriend. We bought a round of Copa Di Vino. A bit curious about a packaged glass of wine, we each chose our own personal favorites. They offer a variety to meet the pallet of any wine enthusiast.  Individual servings of Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Riesling.

Single Serve SelectionMy husband and I decided we wanted to take the two of them out, without the younger boys to get to know her, and know them as a couple. That was a true “Copa Moment”. (I see a hashtag in the making here). This indeed was a moment of celebration. Meeting this young woman and now, months later, we are planning a wedding. Who would have thought months later I would also be sitting in their boardroom of Copa Di Vino? We all have moments of celebration, relaxing, vacation, movie night, girlfriends and business meetings. Copa Di Vino is quality wine in a small package and very good, in both packaging and taste.

As I “wine” this post down I am getting ready to attend an annual event at the Sunshine Mill, the parent company to Copa Di Vino.  After mixing and mingling I may come back with a host of “Copa Moments” to share.  Until then, if you ever come across a Copa Di Vino, I would love if you shared your “Copa Moment” with me. Cheers!!  Elizabeth Traub

Hey Twitter friends Follow @CopaDiVino

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Posted in Business Spotlight

American Idol and It’s Sustainability

American Idol and it’s sustainability is a topic I have tried to write about three times in the last eight weeks.  Each time a fluke in Word, WordPress and then my Ipad losing my entire writing.   Each time, it’s been like a clear message saying, “No Elizabeth not yet.”  Here is my forth attempt.  The topic of American Idol and it’s sustainability is a question that many are asking. There have been concerns over the deliberate and radical eliminations.  Concerns over the talent being nothing like that of contestants of the past.  Sound issues and perhaps the simple fact that American Idol has run it’s course. Will it be lucky Season 13?    Had I not had my IdolTweethearts experience I might be lead to believe what the tabloids are printing, and what I am seeing and hearing on TV.

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Last January I had the opportunity to sit and have lunch with the the former Fox Sports chairman David Hill and Trish Kinane one of the executive producers of American Idol.  It  was one of those lunches where you realize you have the uninterrupted attention of two very busy people and two very intentional people.  I was joined by Meg Hodson & Emily Hill also know as the IdolTweethearts.  We had the opportunity to ask questions about American Idol and what’s next.  What surprised me was the detail and passion in their answers.  It was not lost on me that American Idol was in for some big changes as well as some recovering from dipping ratings from past seasons.  The show had built a solid viewing audience in earlier years and the past few years the audiences were rapidly declining.  What changes could possible be made? In business that next BIG THING has a shelf life of about 8-10 years.  American Idol had already outlived that benchmark.

David and Trish each shared how American Idol had decided to give back more to the Top 30 contestants.  In  previous seasons the best was saved for last.  Those who made it into the Top 10 receiving a lot of coaching and training. Why not offer that to ALL the Top 30.  The Randy Jackson Workshop was launched.  I was there for a full day and watched what Idol was giving back.  Offering music education and understanding of the music industry to each of the Top 30. Each contestant given more to go back home with.  In past years, you sing, you get cut, you go home. The only memory you have is new friendships, and interactions with the judges. This year those who were cut from the Top 30 were given so much more. Vocal and stage coaching. Voice lessons and mentoring.  Trish explained how American Idol wanted to raise more awareness of real musical talent.  Not just that one hit wonder, but allowing contestants an experience that would help them be able to build their own brand once cut from American Idol.

Trish shared the challenges of what this year might look like.    Change would occur and not all would know how that change would build ratings in one season or over the next few seasons to come.  The conversation was riveting to be part of and both Trish and David instilled new hope to hold out on American Idol for the entire season. All of this change would come with some bumps.  The message was clear. American Idol wanted to do more and give back more.

Is America getting this? I don’t think so.  American Idol has missed something here?   It kind of feels like the same show. I get frustrated that American Idol has invested time and efforts behind the scenes with these contestants but that message is not being communicated.  The Top 30 did not leave as abruptly as we may think.  Let’s face it Americans were upset when they did not see their favorite sing for a chance.  Time had to be cut short for air time.  Eventually people would have been cut. It is an elimination show.  I think if American Idol had taken more air time to show what happened with those Top 30 behind the scenes American’s would not have been so upset.  We have only seen glimpses.  Time and education, like no other season was poured into these contestants.  Contestants were cared for and given something they could take with them to build their own music careers once Idol was over. This is a first, yet that message was lost somewhere in the show.  I think American Idol should have done more to highlight these changes, and interview some of those cut to share what that experience meant to them.

Later I sat at a table with a few of the Top 30. Jess Muess, Majesty Rose, Maurice Townsend and a few others.  What they shared with me brought tears to my eyes. They shared how much they appreciated being there. One young man said, “If I went home today I would be able to do more with my music, I have learned so much.”  Each of these contestants went around the table and shared a little of their experience.  I was blown away and excited to get behind American Idol more than ever. I had not watched the last few seasons and a transformation was in the making. You could see, experience it and feel it.

Sometime during the day I asked one of the camera guys how many millions of dollars were represented in these workshops.  I thought it was interesting how every where we went, full camera sets, lighting, and people.  All taping each circuit and class and yet very little shown to Americans.  This was a very big deal. I can appreciate that American Idol aired the short conversations with Randy Jackson, but Americans were already tired of him. I even muted my TV a few times when those interviews popped up.  I wanted to hear from the contestants and what this experience meant to them.

Now what.  How does the American Idol story get told?  Outside of a two hour show, it might take the IdolTweethearts showing up a few more times behind the scenes to help tell the story.  I think when I lost my first three writings I did not get to upset. I figured that American Idol would be telling their own story, but they are not.  They are getting lost being just another singing show that is tired and old and desperately seeking to try new things.  However sitting with David and Trish there was no desperation. There was a calm and clear understanding that it might take a season or two to work this out.  They do need to spruce up a bit more. Adding Harry Connick Jr. was a big deal and American’s love him.  You can read more on that HERE. Was he enough for Americans?

American Idol Boot Camp 31

Trish Kinane, Emily Hill, Meg Hodson, David Hill, Elizabeth Traub

I think American Idol is going to pull through.  I have confidence in the two people who took time out to visit with the IdolTweethearts. They bring a calm in the storm. I have confidence that the decision to invest more into the contestants will have long term favor.  Later that afternoon David Hill was walking down the hall. I called him over. I asked him, “What goes through  your thought process or filters in a decision as big as bringing Jennifer Lopez ( JLO) back.”  It’s no secret she cost a lot to bring back.  Here is a man who has made some pretty big decisions for Fox.  Seemed like a good question to ask.  His answer was was one word, “Instincts” Here is a man who speaks my language. I understood and I knew that American Idol would be lucky 13.  I have good instincts. Instincts are what we build our confidences on.

I am  now enjoying American Idol more and more each week.  There are moments that are a bit stale, and I think American Idol knows this. They are working on trying new things and every solid business will do this to become more sustainable. Their audiences have grown up, and they are growing a new era of audiences. They are learning what that audience looks like, acts like, and enjoys in a music talent show.  I think they are going to be able to sustain themselves.  American Idol is the only music talent show to every produce Grammy award winning artists. I have one in the making. They have to sustain another 8 years. My 8 year old son wants to try out. He stands with his mic watching and pretending he is on the stage. Thanking American Idol for allowing me the honor of hanging around that lovely day back in January.

emerson profile

Bring Emerson into your next American Idol meeting and he will tell you a thing a two about the show. HE LOVES IT!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in American Idol

Now You Know My Business Story

Have you ever sat down to plan or attend an event? Would you invite your golfing club to attend a buying show for kids room accessories? Would you invite your mommy group to your business networking event? You might, but my guess is those in my mommy group would rather spend their precious time at a girls night out with girlfriends. I have been asked over and over why I have an online presences representing three different categories. I typically answer with, “I actually have four websites/categories.” My answers then get even more interesting and raise a few eyebrows. People have  this idea that I am super charged and have the energy of 5 people when one person can hardly manage their one website.
It started when I was 18 years old. Long before there was Social Media and long before I even knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

1. I started working as a Young Life leader. Getting together weekly with high-school girls and investing my time to get to know them and give them an ear of understanding. This turned into mentoring and I have been in these kinds of relationship my entire adult life.  Mentoring women on matters important to their heart.

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2. When I was in my young 20’s I started my first business. Then another small business and then a business that grew in the millions with over 50 employees. It was a kids high end design store. It gave me an outlet to be crafting. Painting furniture, sewing bedding and learning how to run and manage something that was only intended to be a fun hobby with a side income. God had a different plan. That store was called Skip To My Room.

Skip To My Room

This was my very fist sign from 1992.


3. The success of Skip To My Room had brands and products in the kid industry hiring me as a consultant to help strategically help their business, help with design, and helping to teach their sales teams how to sell and most important build relationship with their customers. I felt the success of Skip To My Room had the success due in part to the relationships our staff made with our customers.

How does all of this turn into four online websites and three twitter handles. It seems kind  of silly, or as others have said, “hard to manage all four.” Yes, I can understand how it would be hard to manage if I was just starting my career when Social Media started. I had many years of practice long before there was Social Media. Social Media has actually made the managing of the things I love so much easier.

I first started eight years ago with a personal blog called http://www.elizabethonthego.blogspot.com/ Sharing the personal things about my life that I felt could help others along.  Sharing my stories of being a mom to five kids, my relationship with God, with life, and with my personal life experiences.

I then took my passion for kids room design and started a side business from home. It had been years since Skip To My Room had closed. Divorce can do that to a thriving business. I still had those creative juices burning inside and so was born, an online boutique called Hung Out To Buy. Like some play in a garden for therapy, I play in the elements of kids room design. I have been at this for over 20 years, so it was easy to set up the kind of online business I could manage. I had no desire to have over 50 employees again and this suited me well with young boys still at home.  It made sense to also set up a twitter @HungOutToBuy

Logo for FB

I had been meeting  a host of women through mentoring. I wanted to do the same in this internet space and allow women a place to walk and talk in the beauty of their stories. http://girlfriendshub.com/ was built. Taking what I have been doing in real time, and allowing the opportunity to share more and bring other women along in this journey of growing up.  It also made sense that this, too would have it’s own Twitter handle. @Girlfriendshub

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Working as a business consultant and being able to be part of teams is something that I grew up in. I did not even know what a consultant was. The first time I was invited to share my ideas with a company I thought it was really cool. They flew me out to their Canadian factory. They had a lovely stretch limo pick me up and they put up in a lovely hotel. They paid for all my expenses and the wife of the owner even took me shopping. ( I was only 27 years old.) I spent 5 days with this company and helped the design team forecast colors and designs for the next season. I helped rewrite their sales tools. It was fun and exciting until my dad asked how much I was paid. You see I thought I was being a help to their collection. I sold their brand well and was in the million dollar club. If I helped with these decisions all the stores across the nation would do well. I was quickly schooled in what it meant to be paid to think. A consultant was born. Taking my business brand and having that website.  I had no idea what to call my consulting business. I no longer had a niche. I could study and research a company and help where the need was.  ETC made sense.  It also happens to be my initials.  Here you have https://elizabethtraub.com/ and of course the Twitter handle for that is @elizabethtraub

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I love answering this question, “How do you do it all?” Those who are closest to me know that over the past 20 years I have not done it all. I have had the blessing of being able to have some hired help. I have a husband who supports my passions and takes care of a lot of the little details. Every time I am traveling he schedules my trips right down to printing out driving direction from point A to point B to point C and back to point A. My five children have grown up being part of my business.  They have traveled with me as nursing babies and they have worked alongside me when they old enough.

Emily At a Trade Show

Emily helps at a trade show for a client.

I have chosen to break down the three different parts of my life on Social Media because it makes sense to me. Girlfriends, and the women I mentor are not so interested in business. Nor do I need to be pitching and peddling kid’s products to these girlfriends. In the same way I would not want to pitch kids products to those whom I do business with that have nothing to do with that industry.  All three categories of my life are about relationships. As people get to know me, they learn of the things I am up to and can go and visit those places.   I love that I have been able to pour my heart and time into the things I have loved. When people ask me what I want to be when I grow up, I realize that I started practicing what I wanted to be by God’s natural design of me.  I am thankful daily that I get to be me, and if the truth be known there are days when I have the energy of five people. I have always been this way. Rest and good nutrition are my secret, along with a really fun family.  I now end with, “Now you know the rest of the story. Good Day” Paul Harvey.  That seemed appropriate don’t you think?

Posted in In Real Life

The Love of Harry or #TheLoveOfHarry

I wrote about Harry Connick, JR last December. On the heels of having met him, it was very easy to write “When Harry Met Sally” (you can read that here).  Now that American Idol is in fully engaged in Season XIII, Harry has become the weekly topic of fans.  He is the newest judge addition and he speaks to his passions with honesty and integrity.  He has remained true to who he is in everyday life as a husband, dad and celebrity.  In the show, he speaks with a parenting heart, a heart that is often misunderstood. You can hear American Idol fans booing his responses to the contestants.

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The Love of Harry

As a mother of several kids I ask myself: what, if my kid were on that stage,  would I be thinking if Harry was judging them? Integrity is often lost in our society–especially in TV.  Harry has challenged the lyrics being sung by young girls; he has challenged clothing choices.  And alas, he is a father to three daughters. Last December, he shared that he believes he will judge in a manner in which he parents and guess what he does? Week after week, he brings a father’s heart to that judging table. He also brings an element of instructional intelligence that get’s mocked. This is just the kind of judging influence I would wish on my children. Is it a bit harsh? Not really. We just have watered down ethics so much that his honest feedback makes it appear that way. I have yet to boo the TV screen as I watch.  I dare to say that Harry is a bit of a misfit among the American Idol stage.  He is not that guy who is playing to the top ten pop culture of teeny boppers.  He is not the guitarzan man, or that female pop artist dancing and jiggling on stages world wide half dressed. He is classic, jazzy, movie, middle-aged hunky man of musical intelligence.  He is bringing a completely new twist in judging and finding his place at that judging table.

American Idol, Idol , Harry Connick JR, Season 13, #SeasonXIII, #idol,  Elizabeth Traub, #Idoltweethearts Social Media, Entertainment, #AmericanIdol

In the 2nd week of March, fans of American Idol finally saw Harry take that stage as the gifted musician he is.  I saw Twitter explode with positive tweets over and over again.  Within 24 hours the IdolTweethearts decided we wanted to highlight Harry for our next #IdolPreParty.  Kellie McNulty had the graphic made, Harry’s managing company providing signed CD’s for our giveaway, and IdolTweethearts has prepared Social Media savvy communications to get the word out.

I sat down to my computer and literally spent 3 hours watching YouTube video’s of his past performances as well as his guest spots on dozens of talk shows. Take a minute and watch his performance on the American Idol stage.  I personally fell in love with Harry in the movie “P.S. I Love You”. This past week, even more than meeting Harry face to face, I got excited for American Idol.

Now, American Idol is having some serious growing pains. Growing up music in America the past 13 seasons has had its ebbs and its flows.  The struggle is still there in gaining a fair share of the viewing market. However, meeting Harry, watching his judging style, and then investing some serious YouTube hours, I think that American Idol just might gain momentum on this guy.  I think Americans are really wanting to bring back elements of integrity and it’s not to say that Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez on are not contributing, it is that building of a team, and the addition of Harry that is rounding out that judging table.

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The Love of Harry is not about a dreamy love affair with a man you can’t have. It’s about the love of honor, integrity and bringing a higher gauge of moral to American Idol.  The IdolTweehtearts love Harry. We loved when he tweeted out that he was having lunch with us.

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We are honoring him this week with the hashtag #TheLoveOfHarry and we will talk about him during this weeks #IdolPreParty. Sadly due to his commitments during our #IdolPreParty he will not be joining us, but let’s just say he will have his phone and be looking in on what we all have to say about him. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @HarryConnickJR and follow his official Twitter fan sight, too. @HCJrFanClub

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I Can Only Imagine

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#IdolTweethearts with Maurice.

I Can Only Imagine what it might be like to be in the same room of American Idol Contestants.  I can only imagine what it might be like to actually kind of sort of sing a duet with one.  And then one day American Idol called a few of the IdolTweethearts to be on location at the Terranea Resort.  When it’s an all expense paid they mean it.  American Idol, once again, paid all the expenses.  When someone is giving you a gift, do you ever feel like you should make the best of it?  I can only imagine what it must be like, well imagination is now my reality.  I did my best to make the best of it.

I spent some time with Maurice Townsend, and many of the top 30 contestants at the end of January 2014.  I talked with Maurice about his journey with American Idol. Hearing of his four children, and his wife who were at home watching, waiting and hoping just like the rest of the nation. How far would this journey take him.   I was first sitting with him and a table of contestants while they ate his lunch.  Then later he addressed me by my first name as we walked the hallways of this beautiful resort.  “Hey Elizabeth.”  We chatted and even though Meg & Emily knew who he was, I was able to introduce him as a new friend.  We stood and chatted and then I asked him, “Would you sing us a worship song?  And if I know the song can I sing it with you? ”  Maurice looked into the lens of my phone and started to sing, “I Can Only Imagine.”  which is one of my favorite worship songs.  I had tears in my eyes.  Even though I was invited to sing along I could barely get the words out.

Maurice did make it to the top 30.  Congratulations for this amazing accomplishment. Thank you for taking a moment to bring a little slice of worship into this amazing day of being behind the scenes with American Idol.   There will be many more posts highlighting the behind scenes action during boot camp.  Stay Tuned.

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The Online Dinner Party-Facebook

I love Social Media. I love connecting, making new friends, and learning more about people, their lives and their work. When I first started out, I thought Social Media was just another form of advertising. Nothing seemed to work and with hands thrown up I reached out for help.

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A dude in Social Media seemed to share his experiences, and wisdom. He soon became a mentor and helped in the understanding of how Social Media works. Once he said, “Twitter is the cocktail party and Facebook is the dinner party.” Via Robert Caruso.  Now that is a language I could understand. As I have hosted many of both in my life time.

As my  numbers began to grow in both Twitter and Facebook, I assumed that most, especially the “professionals” or “experts” in Social Media, understood this social space.  If we are taking our real face to face experiences and bringing them into Social Media we are emulating those experiences we have lived in our everyday lives.   I love those one-two touch connections in Twitter.  Many, like a cocktail party, you brush shoulders with, exchange a greeting, and maybe have  two minute conversation.  Even handing out a business card here and there. During that cocktail party experience you may connect more than that two minute conversation.  You may actually find a likeness or common experiences to deepen that meeting and build new friendships that lead to phone, or face to face engagement. Now enter Facebook.  Then there is that invitation to come to the dinner party.   An invite to a place for getting to know new friends in business and personal life experiences.   More than just that one-two connection or brush of shoulders.   Facebook is more like talking, engaging and learning more of you personally, how you do life, business and justice for all.

I began to open up my personal Facebook page to those on Twitter ( the virtual cocktail party).  I am social and this is the kind of social I have learned to love and embrace. After all, most of my current friends on Facebook have been to my cocktail parties and dinner parties.    The Facebook friend requests, once active in Twitter, started growing by the 20’s and 30’s daily.  I have been selective in who I chose to let into the more personal side of Elizabeth Traub.  After months of trying to put my finger on why I no longer see Facebook’s value is when that virtual dinner party began to look like this:

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My Facebook streams turned into a constant flow of lovely inspiring quotes & links by others than the actual person I had “friended”.  I get that is the “thing” to do. And I do appreciate those who have invested time and efforts to bring good content. I am still learning and value this from those who do bring this kind of content,  and have not lost the very precious art of engagement and conversation.   However there are many who do not have their own voice in Social Media.  I do not  see what YOU have to say about life, business,  and the things you say you are passionate about.   Would you show up to a dinner party looking like this?  Many no longer have a voice in a platform that is designed to be social.  As a matter of fact many platforms are turning into this.  In conversation after conversation, it is becoming the drudgery of many platforms to have to search for that real authenticity.  Do we not have confidence in our own words?  Do we run out of words to speak that we must search the voice of others?  Or are we simply not who we say we are, therefore we can’t not speak to the words we do not have?

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This past weekend I have removed from my Facebook many who do not have their own voice.  Who do not engage, and who continue to push through content that lacks the relevance of being Social.  Yet, there is this broadcasting of just how Social they are.  Social is not linking and quoting others.   At the cocktail party of Twitter, there are those one-two minute conversation. However after that there is nothing, that can bring a deeper meaning to the relationship being part of the dinner party.

I took this conversation into Facebook this weekend and I loved this statement by Jewel Fryer. She and I met through Twitter, and through that we found each other on Facebook and continue that friendship in our own voices.  Here is what she had to say about this:

“Jewel Fryer What bother’s me most about them is that they call themselves social but they don’t really give anything of themselves. Just Hallmark type quotes and tidbits, and sharing the same old blogs and such that their particular circle is also sharing. It’s like social media karaoke.”

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Thanks Jewel you inspired this graphic.

Now that I have eliminated all of this inauthentic white noise from my streams, within in 24 hours I am now seeing those posts from others that got lost in the shuffle.  I am seeing posts &  comments from many of my long time face to face, real time, met online, now building friendships friends.  I think I may actually go back to loving how Facebook works.  Sure the promoted Facebook stuff will not go away and Facebook will continue to make changes. It still has value. I love how I  have connected with college and high school friends. Recently moving out of a city I lived in for almost 23 years I am happy to have Facebook keeping me daily in touch with long time friends. More-so now that I have eliminated the non-conversationalists.

Enjoy this Social Media space. Be you, be engaging, be chatty and you might find you enjoy this space that much more. Happy Socially Engaging Day to you.

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American Idol & Vocal Coaching

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Really honored to also meet Dorian Holley

I seem to write my best posts when a few thousand feet in the air from my IPad. I think I will start with the events on Thursday Jan. 31st, 2014. It started with one of our Fox network contacts asking if a few of us #IdolTweethearts  could basically come “now”.  Earlier in the week us gals pitched some ideas to the Fox people, and apparently they did more than take us seriously, they wanted us back down in LA.   For the past six weeks we have been working to show American Idol that we can be a relevant group of women.  A few of us have gone to bat for the whole team.  It’s been a bit of a lifestyle high for me.  I have promised, upon writing this, I will not disclose any spoilers. Thus the date of writing and posting will be a couple of weeks apart.

Here is about 20 minutes of a day behind the scenes. For those who watch the show and tear up, imagine sitting in and watching the show being made. Let’s just say it is no secret I am a big cry baby. Can you imagine how hard it was for me to sniff back the tears as I watched this filming moment. I actually may get my foot in on the show. As the camera was moving around I swear the camera man caught my foot.

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Michael Orland is the Associate Music Director for American Idol. Dorian Holley was not only a back up vocalist with Michael Jackson during the Bad World Tour in 1987, he now works with American Idol.  We have seen both these men in past shows coaching the contestants with music arrangements.  It was amazing to sit and listen to them give direction on how to sing the octaves related to one word in the entire song. Like a mad scientist scratching notes and keys on the pages of possibly the next American Idol.

There is a keyboard and a mic and this young talent busting out a song. Starting and stopping. There is no sound guy mixing it up. This is raw unedited talent. And I just want to sit and listen. This contestant is one of the top 30.  At this moment  I could be listening to the next American Idol. The vocals , transitions, and passion behind her voice go right from my ears and to my heart.  Even if the camera’s were not rolling I would still have been speechless. Actually I had to be speechless with the camera’s rolling.

American Idol set out to do more to grow and build the vocals of these contestants.  I am sitting here forgetting where I am, and who I am. Listening and lost in this voice.  Experiencing within a few feet the talent that is about to light up network TV. The thought that this young talent could be that next American Idol is surreal.   I am just a middle age mom  from The Dalles, OR who saw an opportunity and ran with it inviting others along.  That young girl taking direction from Michael Orland.   I am in awe to be here. Meg & Emily, two of the IdolTweethearts also moms like me. We are quiet, listening and watching. Why am I sitting here? I am not being paid. I was not hired or commissioned for this project? I asked. I asked that we, the IdolTweethearts be given more opportunities like this. That we can help tell these kinds of stories. We can invite others to come along and begin to expand the stories and tell our own. The right of passage, for me was earned through simply asking and inviting others to come along.  American Idol and the 100’s of people making this show happen are trusting the IdolTweethearts  with our cameras and our words.

The hashtag #ThisIsReal resonates for me. I look at this precious talent and can see in her eyes a deep soulful embrace of the lyrics. A determination to sing that single word over and over until it’s perfect.  There is something deeper.  This contestant  in this room, standing at the mic and being coached. I wonder if she is thinking that Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtrey, Adam Lambert were all in this place. I may never step up to that mic and be coached by Michael Orland & Dorian Holley but that day I watched as raw unedited talent  being grown to new levels, pitches and talent; I sat in awe.  And then I sat at the keyboard.

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I can play Book One piano.

What does it mean to be #IdolTweethearts. It started as a great way to connect a small handful of women on the same journey to Hollywood in December of 2013. It has turned into a respectful and honorable place among American Idol. Growing the passions we have around the contestants, people, music, and the stories we are invited into. If you would like to follow our stories, be sure to check in on our fan page, Twitter @IdolTweethearts and all that good stuff.  My journey is meant to be shared.

When a window of opportunity is opened I am climbing through it and leaving it opened that others may follow. #SavvySocialTip

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What Critics Are Saying About American Idol

I am reading what the critics are saying about Season XIII of American Idol.  After reading, I am asking some questions.  What makes for a good show? What makes for a good judge? What is going to keep viewers coming back week after week?  The critics I speak of are not the entertainment news reals clicking out the numbers of viewership. The critics are not the writers meeting deadlines for what they think is going to be the story of the day.   The critics are the fans.

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I took this standing on the stage in Dolby Theater.
This was above my head. Imagine when they light it up.

The fans are those excited to see what’s up with this season. Fans that have family, friends, or the girl they want to junior high school with who tried out.  There are those fans that stopped watching American Idol and could not help but just try one more time and watched on both Jan 15 & 16 of the premiere. The critics are fans that have never stopped watching regardless of who’s on stage or who’s judging. The critics are Americans who gather around their TV’s and watch dreams of others that perhaps they could not have.  Sadly some the critics are those who walk away and click to another channel.

How does a brand bring it? Bring it year after year and keep their biggest critics coming back? How will American Idol sustain longevity in a space that is compromised with the advances in technology?  Although that is an all  together topic and post.

American Idol is a dream maker.  They are filling stadiums years after year all over American with a dreamer, hopeful and opportunist.  Does filling stadiums during auditions equate to bringing back fans and continuing to be the only show that has produced the highest number of music stars?  The competition is tough in this TV space and there are many talent and music shows to compete with.

Thirteen years ago Americans were calling in to vote for their favorite contestant.  Then they added the “text” feature and now add in all the Social Media conversations and it’s easy to break down what the critics are saying. 

What are you saying? I asked a few questions on my Facebook page of my family and friends. Here is what some are saying before the airing of Season XII.

Why or why not did you watch American Idol in the past?

Velinda Davis I only watched the auditions couldn’t believe some of the people. No one should lie to you about your singing voice!

Cindy L. Johnston-Bennett I am not a chocolate person but will always give you an honest answer. .. in the beginning we loved to watch the raw talent preform and learn. Not wearing expensive outfits or singing with back up. Just the raw talent… now it has changed and we enjoy watching it but not as much.

Nathasha Alvarez I used to watch it when it had Simon. I loved that he was honest. He left and so did I.

Emily Otteson I watched it in the beginning for the joys of watching others’ dreams coming true and the silliness of people like William Hung. Then I stopped watching because I didn’t like tv.

Amanda Farnsworth Young Chocolate? Did I see chocolate? I do not believe I have ever watched a complete season, but I did watch the very end of the first season. In the more recent years I have only watched some of the auditions at the beginning because it hasn’t held my interest for the entire season. I tried watching it last year or the year before though, and quit pretty quickly because the drama between a couple of the judges was a bit too much.

Sherrie Finch We watched. Partially because we like the auditions. Then we got hooked after Nikki and Mariah had their drama.

Amanda Farnsworth Young Sherrie, that drama is what turns me off of the show.

Nathasha Alvarez I don’t think Nikki is qualified to be a judge

Nathasha Alvarez Mariah can judge but Nikki isn’t even a decent role model and I don’t understand what she says

Stephanie Leigh Samuel I used to love American idol, then it seemed like the best performers never won, and the ones who did actually win didn’t really become stars. (The exception of the few…Carrie, Kelly, Jennifer, Katherine Mcphee)

Stephanie Leigh Samuel oh yeah, and I’m sad Simon is gone. I do love Harry though! He might entice me back!

Amanda Farnsworth Young I agree about Harry. He seems solid.

Suzy Henshaw I personally love these types of shows but the one thing that has ALWAYS bothered me is that they are too predictable! I get bored after awhile because I can usually pick out the winner in the auditions and there is no need to watch anymore. I stopped watching American Idol because of that reason and because I get super annoyed with the judges/peanut gallery:) My honest and un-edited opinion:) I would prefer to watch the first couple episodes and then the last episode.

Shae Kelly Rutledge I don’t like how they air the not talented singers as a joke. Those poor people don’t know they are bad, or they do and just want publicity but either way it encourages People to laugh at one another faults and failures.

Marie Drexler I have watched and enjoy the show. But . . . I don’t like how much people feed in to the negative criticisms. I enjoy watching when the contestants are respected and the judges are kind. It has been fantastic when everyone wins . . . Even when they leave the show.

Beverly Olson I haven’t watched it for awhile…..got kinda old…Tired of Randy calling everyone “dog” every other word…..I will be watching this season since I love Harry Connick Jr. Saw him in concert in Hawaii…love that man!

Stefanie Webb My guys and I have never watched an American Idol. We would see some of the shows funny moments on another show, but never actually watched. And to be honest, can’t even tell you why. Just haven’t.

Janice Brand Worthington Like seeing the auditions probably the most. Loved Steven Tyler on the panel and think Simon was usually the most accurate in picking who ‘had it’ and why. Sometimes he was too harsh but that’s also the biz. Nikki was total crap and Mariah never had anything interesting to say. Their bickering was such a turn off. Glad to see J Lo back and interested to see Harry but somebody needs to be gutsy with their comments or it’s too boring. The judges truly matter. They need to do something different to keep attention past the top 10 or 12 because if the lead singers are not great, I start tuning out. Plus all of that Seacrest build up and repetition that stretches the show is a waste if time. I don’t watch unless its on TIVO, period. That’s my two cents

Patty Norman Burke Unlike most people, I do not enjoy the auditions. I am just too mortified to watch some of the people that they show that obviously do not have what it takes to go further. I wish they did not show those and only showed the more serious contenders. I watched several seasons, but last year I did not watch because I did not like the Nikki/Mariah drama. I will watch this year as I like the judge line up (just not until auditions are over) I like the addition of Harry Connick Jr.

Gunnar Simonsen Openly Rambling Alert!!! We used to love watching it as a family and then for us, something changed. It always seems to when the chemistry is changed. Though we hung in there, last year we hardly watched. I think we were just tired of the drama or perceived drama of the judges panel. Tired of feeling like we’re getting played while watching people getting played. I think though in the end, we just got tired. We do watch The Voice more regularly though. But, if you say so… I’ll watch it again.

Elizabeth Traub Gunnar Simonsen It will be a pivotal season for Americans who tuned out…and tuning back in. Not to mention you are a musician who is influencing the Emily Otteson and Elliot Otteson sons of the world.

Anne Marie Tarjan Robbins I haven’t watched it in a few years. I don’t like the commercialized part of it. I can’t stand the way Simon treated people. I think it was somewhat fake and not quite as real as it could have been.

Gunnar Simonsen Thanks for your kind words. I will be sure to tune in. As far as me influencing others… you’re too kind.

Sheryl Ann Camp I watched after season 1. I flipped during the finale of season 1 and decided to try it. I watched it in the beginning, sometimes had a hard time not laughing at people who clearly had no talent trying out. But then Simon annoyed me. It’s not that I didn’t agree with him, I actually think to this point he’s the only judge who got it right most of the time, but after awhile he got incredibly annoying with his pretentiousness and condescending treatment of those not as good. He was actually mean at times and I don’t like to watch, or feel part of, berating of others. Once he left, they got Steven and JLO. I thought Steven was hilarious and JLO was a nice change after Paula. But last year my husband and I swore to never watch again if Nicki and Mariah came back. Nicki was hard to listen to. Her speaking voice made me cringe. Mariah made Simins pretentious attitude appear non existent. That was disturbing.

Sheri Kaetzel We watched a couple of seasons of AI. Maybe the 2nd and 3rd. It got too routine. And the people we thought should win were booted off really early-I guess that means that we weren’t the type of people the show was meant to appeal to? I got tired of watching the auditions with people embarrassing themselves and being embarrassed by the judges. I also am not into all the back story of the contestants. I’m glad they have a life, I just want to hear them sing. A little back story is okay.

In contrast – Christopher and I just recently watched the Sing-Off and loved it. Pure talent. Helpful criticism. Had no clue who would win because they all kept improving. When all of the contestants would have to perform together it was amazing choreography of voices and dance moves. Nothing cookie cutter.  Other than that… I’ll give AI another try, but just for you, my friend. And maybe Harry Connick, Jr. will sing?

Deborah Main I dont watch TV period. But Im going to watch it for 1st time this season ONLY because of the #IdolTweetHearts with YOU and because of Harry. I respect you and Harry. I definitely dont watch shows like this, even though my daughter and I both sing. Its basically because of the drama that people above mentioned…and the “credibility & respect” factor. For me constructive criticism is interesting to watch…bashing and drama is not. It would not be entertaining for me at all to see someone ridiculed. I watched Fashion Star one season because my friend was on it. I was surprised how much I liked the show. I learned a lot so it was educational, but I also respected the judges. So I think who the judges are makes a HUGE difference. Thats my 2 cents from someone who never watches these shows!

Justin Michael It just became really lame after the first 5 seasons and the talent decreased each year too…..I have more respect for people who reach the top the hard way than someone who wins a silly contest.

Ruth Wiggins-Davidson I quite watching because of Nikki.

Rita Kaye Hamlet Could not stand the sight of NIkki Minaj. Mariah was a little too Diva for my taste too. She acted like it was “The Maria Carey Show.” Definitely plan on watching this year. Great set of judges. Still going to miss Randy Jackson. But love the other three.

Rita Kaye Hamlet So Elizabeth, if you didn’t swoon over Harry, did you swoon over Keith? Love him.

Elizabeth Traub Rita Kaye Hamlet let me rephrase this. I did SWOON over his intellect. I mean handsome guy yes. But his ability to speak to the language of music, and education of music was what impressed me.

Rita Kaye Hamlet Oh I’d swoon.I would SOOOOOO swoon! So, what about Keith?????

Tracee Greenough I watched my first idol last season. Why? Because my boyfriend was watching it. Watched the whole season and really wanted Angie to win but knew that the woman who won (can’t remember name) was a much better singer. Man that woman can sing. Oh! And I know I’m alone here but I like Niki. Fell in love with Keith and almost like his wife because of him. I think Emily should go for it. She is so talented. Miss you.

Terri Williams We used to watch it with a group of neighbors for the first 5 seasons. We met every week for a potluck dinner and really enjoyed it. Then it just got boring and lost us. You couldn’t pay me to watch it last season with the judges they had in place. I now prefer The Voice. If there is some BIG change, I might consider watching again but truthfully once you’ve lost an audience, it’s not easy to win them back. Sometimes a show has just run it’s course.

Alicia Gonzalez I watch it with Pedro. I love to see dreams come true and watch the impact the show has on contestants SM. I love to sing. We compete against the TV. Lol. And I BELIEVE our lives can change in an instant. Also I’m not a damn hater! I might be rooting for someone but no matter who wins, I’m THRILLED for that person. That’s my story. That’s why I’M A ROCKSTAR!

Annie Cowing I love all the comments here. I am definitely watching this year. I love the praise given where praise is due. I love constructive criticism and watching people grow. I love it especially in our culture where true encouragement is hard to find. It is sort of anti-cultural in that way and much needed. Everyone should have this kind of encouragement where they are gifted and be empowered. Everyone should watch idol so that they can learn how to praise others and do it in a personal fresh way like the judges. They can also learn how to constructively criticize, but that takes even more practice and tact

Teila Thomsen The only interesting part of the season is the auditions. Lol

Shelly Cowan Buttenmiller I watched way back then started up a few years later then stopped again & started. The first year of Randy, J- Lo & Steven was brilliant, breathed life back into the show. I’m hoping the same will happen with Keith, J-Lo & Harry. Refused to watch Mariah & Minaj. Can’t stand rudeness, catfights or cleavage that should be kept to themselves. I love judges who really show they care, are encouraging with constructive criticism. These kids have dreams & some of them blow your socks off. Tryouts are hilarious, group eliminations are brutal but necessary & I love as they get down to the best. I love the back stories. This show is the quintessential American dream, it’s why immigrants come here. Love it & will watch this year!

Stacie Adams Savant I watched it a little in the beginning and then mostly just the tryouts. I did not like Paula Abdul and I didn’t like it when Simon was mean. I truly felt bad for contestants.

Alexandra Stan Watch it because its fun and interesting. I love to hear amazing voices. Stop watching after a few weeks cause Ryan gets annoying and it’s always the same old stuff. They need to stick with singing like the voice and not all the other stuff:) I like dark chocolate:))) xoxo

Amy Wilkie I honestly have never watched it or really have a desire to watch it. Mainly because I don’t like watching people being mean to other people (judges), there is not a whole lot of substance, no story line or plot which is something I look for in a television show.

Susan Kay Wyatt I never watch those shows. I don’t like the mean part where they exploit the untalented people and just watching people get critiqued in general. I am too sensitive. I did watch The Voice for a little bit. But for the most part we don’t watch TV in our house. Jazz is playing and we are reading or writing.

Krista Thomas Gilbert More singing and human interest stories than critiquing!

Lynn Abate-Johnson i watched in the early years because my sister and her family were crazy about it. then, they got rid of their TV right around the time Paula left and i didn’t continue watching it on my own at home. It seemed like more fun to watch WITH family/friends, especially during auditions when it was more like a trainwreck and Paula/Simon were going at each other with Randy-DAWG being chill/refereeing (is that a word?). I think for me, if the “chemistry” would have been as strong after Paula left, it might have held my interest. But it didn’t, so i haven’t watched in years. From the commercials I am seeing, it looks like the “chemistry” may be found again, and I’m cautiously optimistic, so i will likely DVR it and see! #HopeThisHelps #MUAH!

Jamie Greer Gibb We used to love Idol and then, perhaps because of ratings or sponsors requests, the show got trashy judges; Judges who were more interested in how little they could wear and rarely offered criticism that could be considered constructive. Last season, with Keith Urban in the seat, was one of the best for helping contestants grow from week to week, and one of the worst for female judges. Because of Mariah and Nicki, we rarely wanted to watch. When we did, often we cringed or felt compelled to cover our eyes. Nonetheless, Keith had a way of telling it like it was without trashing the contestant. We will try the show again this year, mostly for his good judgement. If there are barely clothed judges who have no valid input, nothing will convince us to ever watch again.

Scott Derby it’s too redundant and you can pretty much determine who’s gonna win it all before they reach the finals. Too many times the judges tend to steal the scenes with their petty sniping…need I mention Minaj and Carey……The Voice and The Sing Off displ.

Shannon Anderson I watched up until last year due to bad choice with judges as well as the genre of music the final contestants would sing. Quite honestly I would love to see a “Christian American Idol” be launched as this would definitely be one I would love to see. Just my thoughts

Scott Derby me too Shannon….nothing wrong with belting out a song or two about our Lord.

American Idol has done more than just produce the highest number of music stars.  Each person who steps on that stage is given something to take away for a life time. I was able to get small glimpse of what that felt like.  In December of 2013 American Idol treated me, and host of other women from all over America to come to the taping of Hollywood week.  It was a lovely all-expense paid trip which gave wings to what is now called IdolTweethearts.  A number of us gals connected and helped bring a different kind of critic.  We were women from all walks of life.  American Idol brought us in to be critics and they received our feedback.  Now that the show is fully engaged for Season XIII the fans are tweeting, commenting, facebooking and sharing their voice.  Here again are the questions I ask:

What makes for a good show?

What makes for a good judge?

What is going to keep viewers coming back week after week?

We’d love to hear from you.

 

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Rococo Artisan Chocolate Review

I’ve always had a secret dream of being a food critic. So here. I. Go…

Have you EVER. Tasted SOMEthing. So good. That the simple memory of it makes your mouth water? The mind’s eye to salivary gland connection connection is closely-knit, yet in this particular circumstance, they may as well be attached at the lip because you’re just drooling? Well, I have tasted something so good like that. And this particular something that turns me into a mouth-watering monster is a little rectangle chocolate bar by the name of Rococo. I didn’t choose Rococo off of some fluorescently-lit grocery store shelf (which is a proven trigger for cravings, by the way*). Rococo chose me.

It all started when I decided to spend part of the week in The Dalles, Oregon with my family. My mom and I had some work to get done over the course of a few days, so she gave me her desk on the first floor, and she worked upstairs. The first morning, I made coffee like a good daughter should, delivered it to momma, then set up my work station and began trucking away. I did so for a good hour or two when a little tickle in my throat hinted that I should get some water. I got up and did so, but on my way back, I noticed a lovely little blue and white-patterned something in my mom’s Logaberger basket sitting on the desk. The basket was filled with cards and pamphlets from different businesses, but amidst the plethora of paper was this beautiful piece of artwork. I had to touch it.

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So I picked it up and on the glossy, yet lovely plastic cover were whispy drawings of birds and honey bees and various patterns of chocolate bars which seemed to chirp and buzz at me to peak at what was inside. Keeping the seal of the small package was a sticker that read, “Morello Cherry, Rococo Aristan Bars.” Chocolate and cherries are my favorite! But the sticker acted like and old-fashioned wax seal, and I thought about how this chocolate must be special and mom is probably going to use it for something and perhaps Rococo himself (of herself) sent mom this one bar of artisan chocolate as a gift and mom was waiting for the perfect occasion to break the seal and celebrate something special.

So I broke the seal and opened it. The rest is basically history. I had the next two full days of work at my mom’s desk to convince myself that “just a little more won’t be noticeable.” Well, that Morello Cherry must have crack in it because I am the chocolate lover of all chocolate lovers and this Rococo bar impressed me. I am fine eating a corner of that 75% Cocoa “artisan” chocolate bar from Whole Foods, and I’m cool eating a whisp that fair trade, organic piece of chocolate from some local company from Portland. But the Rococo Artisan Bar? It is an example of true art in a chocolate bar–from the dreamy packaging that won my heart to the real cherries and dark, fragrant aroma and texture of the dark chocolate. Their tagline is “Once Bitten, Truly Smitten,” and myyyy am I smitten!

Anyways, from now on, I may taste others, as my food critiquing career has just started, but as of now, I settle for nothing less that Rococo. Tally ho!

-Emily Otteson

Find them on Twitter or Facebook or just visit their lovely website to get yours!**

Rococo

*Proven by my own experience. I got a full-ride to Seattle Pacific University for pre-med at one time in my life, so you can probably trust me.

**As a disclaimer, they did not ask me to write this. I simply had to! Although, if y’all feel like sending my darling mother another, that would be pure and utter chocolate joy!

 

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Posted in Food Critic

Friendships In Social Media by Emily Otteson

Friendships in social media, in my opinion, develop like friendships in real life. First, there are some casual glances and then a formal meeting. There are some small talkative exchanges, and then slowly, over the course of many interactions and time, the conversations get deeper and thus, friendships are developed.

Being a team here at ETC that is in and around social media very much, building our brand along with client brands, keeping social media relationships as close to friendships are in real life is a huge priority. If this fails to be a priority, individually and as a business, social media just becomes a series of robotic exchanges betwixt twitter handles and Facebook or other media comments with the sole purpose of elevating ourselves. It’s here that we run into twitter handles with taglines like, “If you don’t follow me back, I’ll unfollow you!” Imagine how well that would work if such exchanges were shared in person! But such is the twitter-happy, Gram-tastic culture that exists. Yet, amidst this quick-click following and unfollowing culture, it is possible to develop real friendships. Thus, it is our goal at ETC to fight that robotic culture, and in building a following for ourselves or a brand, we’re dedicated to equally building friendships as best we can along the way.

A great example of how a real friendship can develop is our friend Eddie. ETC was producing a high-end fashion show in the Fall of 2013, and it was there that I met a young, hip, cool dude with slick hair and sunglasses named Eddie. I figured he must be in his late twenties, with his cool shades and demeanor, but to my surprise, he was my parents’ age! I was singing at that particular event and he was doing other things throughout the evening, but in that small way, a relationship began.

SikkShades, SickShades by Eddie Bauer Jr, Sunglasses, Eyewear, SIkk Shades, Elizabeth Traub, Consulting

Elizabeth, Eddie, Emily

After the event, he flew back to his hometown in Texas with his lovely wife, and our friendship continued through, would you know it?!, social media! Through the natural flow of twitter updates, facebook interactions, picture sharing, etc., we slowly got to know one another. In years past, without the platform of social media, my interaction with Eddie and his wife would have been a one-time meeting. Instead, getting to know Eddie through SM, that relationship was given the ability to be sustained.

A fun thing, too, is that over the course of developing friendship in a few months, that friendship has now gracefully turned into a business relationship. The foundation of that business relationship was not built solely on clicks, tweets, and robotic moves, but was built on consistent witty and honest exchanges, watching their Christmas tree be decorated on Christmas and hearing stories about this or that family event. Through this natural process, I began to learn that this cool dude is not just someone I would trust in friendship, but someone I would trust in business.

And Eddie is just that–a cool dude! Everyone has a story, and Eddie is someone who has sure been through a lot. He is fun and engaging, sure, but that fact is only backed by who he is in person, with lines on his face and a look in his eyes that show that he’s seen a good deal; the character he possesses has been earned through hard and good times. But the lines of wisdom ’round his brow show nothing of bitterness, and after hearing his story, that is truly impressive.

SikkShades, SickShades by Eddie Bauer Jr, Sunglasses, Eyewear, SIkk Shades, Elizabeth Traub, Consulting

Perhaps it’s this that has made us so honored to now be working closely with Eddie on his Sikk Shades Campaign. Having a little (little=a lot) experience with the sports industry and people, Eddie had the idea of producing a new line of stylish sunglasses that were durable, yet fashionable, meanwhile showcasing breakthroughs in design and technology. Starting out, Eddie says, “The vision was clear. But the road? Not so clear.” He knew the product he wanted and sized up the time it would take to get there, and thus the journey began…

“I knew I wanted sunglasses that were stylish enough, safe enough, and durable enough for outdoor-oriented people to wear during their chosen pursuits,” says Eddie. “The best way to learn their preferences was simply to ask! I consulted with many, many action sport athletes — as well as Olympic hopefuls in many disciplines – asking questions and taking notes.” And after much more research, Eddie’s dream is finally coming to fruition in a brand called Sikk Shades.

Here are the fast details:

First!–These shades are hand-made in Italy. Hand-made. With care. Second!–The frames are perfectly weighted with the purpose of reducing pressure points and fatigue. Third!–A flush, padded, nonslip nose cradle is positioned on every pair of glasses to prevent irritation of slippage when perspiration begins. And Fourth!–The SikkShades technology features Carl Zeiss’ Flash Electric Coating, a process that infuses the iridium of the lens, which enables each lens to outperform polarized lenses in many tests measuring glare, clarity, and UV protection.

SikkShades, SickShades by Eddie Bauer Jr, Sunglasses, Eyewear, SIkk Shades, Elizabeth Traub, Consulting

Impressed? I used to work at Sunglass Hut, so I can pop this sunshade information off like it’s my birthday. But seriously, I already have the Huckleberry model (an over-sized wayfarer) and the frames are lightly comfy and stylish and lenses are protective. Bam! Do I seem just a little passionate about all this? Perhaps I am! And I can only attribute that to the fact that Eddie is a legit dude who, like I said, I would trust in friendship and thusly trust in business. At Sikk Shades, he is committed to educating the consumer on what it actually takes to produce quality sunglasses, as well as making sure that the consumer doesn’t have to bust to bank to get them.

SikkShades, SickShades by Eddie Bauer Jr, Sunglasses, Eyewear, SIkk Shades, Elizabeth Traub, Consulting

As Sikk Shades is in the beginning stages of production, here’s how you can get your hands on a pair: order and test-drive a pair of these cutting edge iconic frames with matching iridium lens at cost –- roughly half of retail price. Be first among your friends to be seen with the “SikkShades by Eddie Bauer Jr” frame on your face, before they hit the mainstream, and if you’d like to support our efforts, Sikk Shades has a few of affordable options for any budget!

To all the details for receiving your pair, go

here!–> SikkShades by Eddie Baurer Jr.

Like mentioned earlier, it amazes me how social media can truly develop lasting friendships, and we here at ETC are truly honored to be supporting Eddie in any way we can!  Cheers!  Emily Otteson

Please Follow @sikkshades on Twitter/Like SikkShades Facebook Fanpage/Follow @EddieBauerJr on Twitter @sikkshadesbyeddiebauerjr on instagram.

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Posted in Business Spotlight

“Come To My Cottage” Jude Law

As you know Emily Otteson is a gifted writer, musician and vocalist.  I am honored, that she would sit on this website as our editor and believe me every typo you ever see is something I have pushed through without her keen eye.  This past weekend Emily introduced a new holiday song at a concert here in Portland, OR. As I listened, I sat smiling, laughing and embracing this gifted girl.  I told her a gift to me would be to go home and record this. Record just you and your piano.  That she did. Her gift to me is my gift to each of you. Enjoy.  “Come To My Cottage” written, composed and sung by Emily Otteson. Merry Christmas and being of good cheer. Elizabeth

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Posted in Portland Music

American Idol Stories To Tell

There will be many stories to tell of my experiences with American Idol, including taking that behind the scenes tour and spending a day a midst all the hub-bub of taping Hollywood week. These experiences did something deeper than just the fun of meeting Harry Connick JR, and brushing shoulders with JLO and Keith Urban.

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It moved me in deeper ways.  One word: CARE!  American Idol cares about it’s viewers. American Idol cares about what they are presenting in a show that was designed around family TV entertainment.  That family element was lost in the past few seasons, and in that they also lost a huge viewership. But today, American Idol is coming back into the hearts of families. It does not start with the contestants. It starts with the three people seated in these chairs (pictured above). These judges are moms and dads first. To hear the interactions, first hand, during the taping brought me a new hope for American Idol. Yes, American Idol chose me to hang out with them for two days.  Yes, it was an all expenses paid trip. Yes, they wined and dined me. Yes, they gave me some gifts. However, there is one thing you can NEVER buy in Elizabeth Traub and that is lip service. I have walked away from some very big deals in my career, because I could not speak to a brand or product if I full-heartedly could not get behind it. Basically I am saying you can’t pay me enough to falsify a brand. My integrity and honor trump the fan fare of a celebrity, a brand, or product. Plus I make a lousy liar.

So there I was at American Idol and sat back, watching a team of people ask questions from a room full of women, myself included, wanting to know what we the viewers are wanting. I will write more to this later. For now, these three seats are the decision makers for the dreams and futures of some of America’s most talented young people.  Yet in talking and learning more of their hearts, I believe American Idol is going to change the scope of music, tv and entertainment this next season in ways we have yet to see.

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Posted in American Idol

American Idol Thoughts as they Come #2

American Idol, Idol , Season 13, #SeasonXIII, #idol,  Elizabeth Traub, #Idoltweethearts Social Media, Entertainment, #AmericanIdol

When you receive an invitation from Ryan Seacrest to attend a private American Idol event there is a barrage of emotions that collide in the moments of reading  that email.  I can’t say I jumped for joy or giggled uncontrollable. I read the email once. Then I read it three more times and wondered, did Ryan Seacrest really send this?  Did I open up some email that had not been filtered to spam.  This email was the 3rd communication from American Idol. The first was a twitter follow; the second was a tweet from American Idol and the 3rd was this email.  Now what?  The email read that not all who received the email would be attending. Within moments I got a text from my friend Lynne and she was who I had to tell first. Girlfriends excitement set in.

Now a new kind of crazy set in.  I was checking my email every 5 minutes.  Checking my spam file which I don’t think I had ever checked.  Studying the small handful of women who had also been tweeted the same tweet.   I was reading their tweet streams to see if they were saying anything new. It seemed we were all in a bit of a frenzy.  Then I sent a private message to Sheryl Camp.  A women who was tweeting she had received the same letter.  Sheryl returned my call that evening. The entire hour we chatted I was cooking dinner. Standing over my stove making a veggie stir fry with left-over turkey from Thanksgiving. It was nervous energy cooking.   Together we chatted away our outward process of what this might or might not be. Asking the question, to each other, why us?  Why middle age women?  Sheryl had moved out of the Social Media space she was once involved in through her gabbygeek name.  She was tweeting and embracing her new life as a recent first time grandma.

It felt good to talk to someone. To talk with a person who understood that it one afternoon the crazy thoughts that produced a host of questions and challenges. The challenge was simple.  Staying on course for the demands of my day.  Who am I fooling?  I spent the next two days on my computer studying the other women, and realizing this was no ordinary group of women.

We all began to connect.  At first it was just a few of us.  We found each other on Facebook and privately locked into this amazing invitation. We started a hashtag called #idoltweethearts. We jumped  into a twitter handle @Idoltweethearts  and  a Facebook Fanpage.  One of our creative gals even made this amazing graphic.

American Idol, Idol , Season 13, Season XIII, Elizabeth Traub, Social Media, Entertainment, American Idol

Thank you Meg for making this.

Every few hours we added another person into a private group we started.  Who else had been chosen?  Did we miss anyone? Together we searched and scanned Twitter. Even as I write this blog on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I am still wondering who else might be out there.  Each gal having their own busy lives, in business and mothering we have come together from all over the United States.

Together, we have been “randomly” chosen.  American Idol communicating that they love @Idoltweethearts.  Together we have formed a bond of a sisterhood.  Here is a list of those whom we have been able to locate and have chosen to be part of this #idoltweetheart group of sharing.   If you are in social media please follow each of these gals.  We are sharing our emotions and thoughts as we walk through the mysteries of the unknowns.  I have had some communications with media/news asking questions like, “What exactly are you doing?” In 48 hours of this post I can share more, but for now. I am very honored and blessed to be counted among a lovely group of women.

I have energy and excitement over the mystery of stepping into the unknowns of American Idol. Thanking them for the gift of this little trip to Hollywood just before my birthday.  I told my husband that he did not need to get me a birthday present. This trip is going to fill my quota for this year. I have been a longtime fan of American Idol. The host of judges I love following and reading about.    Music is deeply rooted in our family.  It is funny to have many kids in my family, all musicians and middle age mama is heading to Hollywood.  Please come along and join this journey.  Love & Blessings Elizabeth

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Posted in Uncatagorized
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