Twitter Hits 20 Billion Tweets

Twitter Hits 20 Billion Tweets

There have now been more than 20 billion tweets since Twitter’s inception, according to tracking service GigaTweet. The milestone comes just two months after the service hit 15 billion tweets and about five months since it reached 10 billion, indicating that activity levels on the microblogging service continue to accelerate.

Check out the original article at . . . Amazing numbers! I used to only think of Twitter as a place to follow celebrities or where people would tell you they were heading to gym. I have to admit I got onto the Twitter bandwagon a little late. However, I think it is amazing how much you can learn through Twitter. Look for me there @ drdianehamilton . . .

Learning Styles and Personality Tests


Understanding personality preferences and learning styles has always interested me. My daughter, Toni Rothpletz, and I wrote about personality assessments in our book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality.  However, in that book, we discussed more personality-related tests rather than learning style tests.  In my book for online students, I do discuss styles of learning to some extent.  Here are just a few of the learning style sites that you might find interesting to see where you fit with your learning preferences:


The site offers a nice overview of their breakdown of learning styles including:

VARK:  (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic)

I currently teach for several online universities where they administer different personality and learning style tests.  One of those tests is the VARK questionnaire.  The creators of VARK claim “This questionnaire is designed to tell you something about your preferences for the way you work with information.”  This test is copyrighted. To receive information about it, you can email  The results of this test suggest that you adjust your studying to be more like your style.  These styles include:

  • Visual
  • Aural
  • Read/Write
  • Kinesthetic

KOLB’s Experiential Learning Theory ELT

Another important learning styles test is David Kolb’s KOLB  Learning Style.  Kolb also 4 styles or preferences.  They base these preferences on a four-stage learning cycle.  These four stages include:

Stage 1: Concrete Experience (CE)

Stage 2: Reflective Observation (RO)

Stage 3: Abstract Conceptualization (AC)

Stage 4: Active Experimentation (AE)

There are two levels to this model . . .after going through the above stages of experience, reflection, conceptualization and experimentation, there are four styles of learning that a person may prefer:

  • Diverging (CE/RO) – ability to see things from different perspectives – like brainstorming, interested in people and work well in groups.
  • Assimilating (AC/RO) – logical, like concepts – like clear explanations, do well in science-related careers.
  • Converging (AC/AE) – problem solvers – practical – like technical tasks, do well in technology-related careers.
  • Accommodating (CE/AE) – hands-on person, likes a good challenge – rely on gut instinct, do well in teams requiring action.

To find out more about KOLB learning styles click here.

To learn more about learning styles for the online student, check out The Online Student’s User Manual .  To learn more about personality styles and understanding personality assessments check out It’s Not You It’s Your Personality.

The Online Student User’s Manual – Facebook

Please check out the new homepage for my book The Online Student’s User Manual on Facebook.  Please let others know by picking the “I Like” button when you get there.  Thanks!
Click here to go to the Facebook page.


Sample APA Paper 6th Edition

I often have students ask me for examples of how to write in APA format.  With the recent changes in the 6th edition of APA, it can be even more confusing.  I think the following link has a good example of what an APA paper should look like:

Facebook Said to Put Off IPO Until 2012 to Buy Time for Growth – Bloomberg

Facebook Said to Put Off IPO Until 2012 to Buy Time for Growth

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking in Mountain View, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The Facebook homepage

The Facebook homepage. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Facebook Inc. will probably put off its initial public offering until 2012, giving Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg more time to gain users and boost sales, three people familiar with the matter said.

Facebook would benefit from another year of growth absent the added scrutiny that comes with a public listing, instead of holding an IPO in 2011 as investors speculated, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Facebook doesn’t discuss share-sale plans. Still, Zuckerberg, who holds board control, could push for a stock sale at any time, they said.

It is hard to imagine how much growth there is to come for Facebook. To read the entire article, click on the link above.

Free Help: Job and Career Changers and Seekers

To sign up to receive my free newsletter containing helpful information about reinventing your career, including how to deal with change, choosing careers, facing fears, knowing your options and more. . . click here.

The information in this newsletter includes some excerpts from my book  How to Reinvent Your Career:  Make More Money Doing What You Love that is due to be published this summer.  To get a head start  before the book is even available, sign up for the newsletter today!

Free Information for Prospective Online College Students

To sign up to receive my free newsletter containing helpful information about online colleges, including what to expect in the classroom, how to pay for classes and much more click here

The information in this newsletter includes some excerpts from my book The Online Student User Manual that is due to be published this summer.  To get a head start on the information before the next semester begins, sign up for the newsletter today!

Calling All Authors « Action Book Review

-Coming Soon-

Check out Calling All Authors for a unique site that reviews upcoming books . . .

Great Social Media Book by David Seaman

I have read a lot of really excellent social media-related books lately.  I personally enjoyed reading David Seaman’s book: Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz.  It had some excellent advice about how to market you or your products and it is written in a way that is entertaining and doesn’t pull any punches.  He lists some great resources and excellent ideas about how to advertise and not spend a lot doing it.  I was aware of some of what he wrote but he added a lot of new twists to explain how to use some of the sites you might already be familiar with to help drive traffic to your site. . . I highly recommend it. 

Why Facebook Questions Could Be Zuckerberg’s Dream Come True


Marshall Kirkpatrick of Read Write Web wrote a very interesting blog about a new idea from Facebook. I definitely recommend checking this out by clicking here.

I see a lot of potential for this option for social media marketing and getting content for possible Q&A videos on Youtube.

Mike Leonard, NBC Today Show Reviews Dr. Diane Hamilton’s New Book About Reinventing Your Career

Mike Leonard of NBC’s The Today Show was nice enough to review my book How to Reinvent Your Career:   Make Money Doing What You Love . . .
“There has never been a better time to take note of Dr. Diane Hamilton’s wise and encouraging advice. The world is changing rapidly and with change comes uncertainty…as well as opportunity. Find your passion. Use this book as a road map to a better career and a more fulfilling life. “

Mike Leonard NBC Today Show Feature Correspondent and Best Selling Author of “The Ride of Our Lives – Roadside Lessons of an American Family”

Dean Voelker Interviews Dr. Diane Hamilton

WHME-FM Radio Show

Listen to Dean on WHME 103.3 FM for Improving Your Financial Health “Improving Your Financial Health”
Listen to this Radio Program
with Dean Voelker, AAMS
on WHME-FM in South Bend, IN
Saturdays at 9:00am EST
Click Here: 2010 Archived Shows

Upcoming Show – “Improving Your Financial Health”

  • –>07/31/2010 – Dr. Diane Hamilton (Upcoming Show)
    My guest this week is Dr. Diane Hamilton – Diane has a Doctorate in Business Management and currently teaches business courses for six online universities. Along with her teaching experience, she has more than 25 years of business and management experience. Dr. Hamilton has also written several books and articles which focus on understanding online education, and personal finance for young adults. Her most recent book, Ten Things Young Adults Need to Know to be Financially Savvy is designed to teach young adults basic principles of personal finance. The unique and innovative style of the book engages young readers to learn about money management, home-buying and other areas of personal finance in an entertaining and personal way that is far from the typical dull text available on the subject. Please join me for a lively discussion with Dr. Diane Hamilton as we talk about how to keep young people better informed.
  • Dr. Diane Hamilton

    My interview with Dean will be on Saturday’s show and you can also check back on Dean’s site at for the actual interview file if you miss it.

    What is Lady Gaga’s Personality Type?


    Since Lady Gaga is coming to the U S Airways Center here in Arizona this weekend, I thought she might be an interesting person to talk about in terms of personality type.  In the book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, my daughter Toni Rothpletz and I wrote a chapter about Myers-Briggs testing and gave some examples of personalities with certain personality types.  I recently read that Lady Gaga is an INFJ.  We mentioned a few celebrities in our book that also have this type, including: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lance Armstrong, Dan Aykroyd, Richard Gere, Woody Allen and Billy Crystal.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Myers-Briggs INFJ stands for:

    Introverted/Intuitive/Feeling/Judging defines INFJ personalities are those who:
    “Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.”

    The “I” in her type means she likes to think before she speaks.  The “N” means she is intuitive and is obviously creative.  The “F” means she makes her decisions based on her values.  The J means she is not really spontaneous but likes more structure. 

    The good news for those of you who are thinking about attending the concert here in Phoenix is that since she has a “J” in her personality type, she’ll probably be on time!

    10 Mistakes People Make When Dieting

    Part of my training I received as a pharmaceutical representative included receiving a certification from the Certified Medical Representative Institute.  The CMR courses were amazingly comprehensive, and made me appreciate all of the training people must undertake in order to become medical doctors. The courses I took were graduate-level and gave me in-depth knowledge about body systems such as the cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, and immune systems, and so on. The courses covered not only human anatomy and physiology, but also disease processes, medical treatments, and scientific/medical research.
    Everyone I meet seems to have issues with their bodies.  I am often asked questions about how I stay healthy and if I have any advice for weight-loss.  I would recommend that if you’re going to diet, try to avoid these common mistakes:
    1.  Don’t skip meals. You’ll just be hungrier later, and overeat.
    2.  Don’t expect to lose too much too quickly. Crash diets are unhealthy.
    3.  Watch how many calories you drink. Sodas, juice drinks and many other beverages have lots of calories.
    4. Watch your portions. Try to leave a little on your plate when you’re finished. You don’t have to clean your plate.
    5. Watch the condiments. Adding a lot of condiments adds a lot of calories.
    6. Watch your grazing. Nibbling on little things can add up.
    7. Eat several small meals during the day rather than a few big ones.
    8.  Try not to eat late at night.
    9. Be sure you’re drinking enough water.
    10. Don’t buy junk food. It will be easier to avoid it when you’re at home.

     I am a fan of the book Food Rules by Michael Pollan (2009).  He suggests 64 rules that people should follow in order to be healthy.  I recommend checking it out!

    10 Famous Product Failures And the Advertisements That Did Not Sell Them | Growthink


    Excellent list of some infamous product failures . . . Will definitely have my marketing students watch this one. To see the actual commercial – go to:

    Everyone makes mistakes. When big business makes mistakes, however, it’s typically after they’ve spent millions of dollars on marketing campaigns to let us know about their flawed products.

    Here we present the advertisements for ten of the most infamous product failures in history.

    10) Sony Betamax

    The 1979 Betamax was a real breakthrough for its time and for the video recording business. It’s a shame it didn’t catch on. Grandma must be pretty ticked off that all of her memories are trapped in a dead format.

    Why it failed: Despite having higher quality (and a cooler name), Betamax was defeated by VHS when over 40 companies decided to run with the VCR-compatible format instead. The lower price of VHS-C camcorders probably helped a little too.

    Want to avoid these types of mistakes?  Hiring a professional business plan consultant can help you avoid common pitfalls.

    9) Coca Cola- New Coke

    Bill Cosby, a soda can, and a crystal ball. Nope, nothing odd there.

    Is Bill Cosby really trying to be believable

    Why it failed: There was nothing wrong with old coke. Life lesson: If it ain’t broke, don’t fizz it.

    8) Polaroid – Instant Home Movies

    Five seconds into this commercial and this guy has already lost us. “Imagine if someone invented a wonderful box (what??) and gave you a way to catch little pieces of your life so that you could see them again, anytime, by just dropping them into the box. Now, now…wo..wouldn’t that be something?”

    Why it failed: Polaroid will inevitably be associated forever with the act of standing around shaking a picture that may or may not come out as intended. Trusting Polaroid to capture any life event big enough to warrant a video camera would just seem reckless.

    What about you? Are you planning a new marketing plan campaign?  Need help planning your strategy? Call 800-506-5728 to speak with Growthink’s professional business plan writers.

    7) Pepsi – Crystal Pepsi

    Who knew that 15 years later Van Halen would be done with Sammy Hagar and bring back David Lee Roth? Also, who knew we would live in a world without Crystal Pepsi? We were pretty sure it was here to stay.

    Why it failed:Similar to New Coke, there was no real need for Crystal Pepsi. Despite the shifting tides in early 90’s marketing towards healthiness and purity, people just didn’t get excited about a clear caffeine-free Pepsi. Not really a surprise- those who were that concerned with the health and color of their beverage probably would not be Pepsi drinkers to begin with.

    6) McDonalds – Arch Deluxe Burger

    Worst. Commercial. Ever.

    Anytime you think the best way to market your product is by standing in an elevator in a chef’s outfit and begging the people on that elevator to eat that product…you might want to go back to the drawing board.

    Why it failed:The goal of the Deluxe line was to market McDonald’s fine cuisine to the adult demographic. Unfortunately, adults weren’t interested in paying significantly more for slightly different burgers.

    5) Apple – Lisa

    Wow. Looks like it took Steve Jobs and his minions a few years to really get the hang of that “cool commercial” thing….

    Why it failed: The Lisa was geared towards business consumers, though those consumers were attracted to the lower price tag on IBM PCs. NASA got behind the Lisa project, which they regretted after it was discontinued two years later.

    Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.  Growthink’s professional business plan consultants have worked with more than 2,000 entrepreneurs.  We know what works and what doesn’t.   

    4) Levi’s – Type 1 Jeans

    Apparently jeans that are perfect for those situations when you’re being dragged through the dirt while hanging on to a rope wrapped around a possessed car don’t resonate with the masses. This confusing Super Bowl commercial was simultaneously the debut and the death knell for Levi’s Type 1 Jeans.

    Why it failed: Fashion is a capricious field. The designers at Levi’s made Fashion Fumble #41b: Celebrating the launch of a product before checking to see if anyone RSVP’d to the Evite.

    3) IBM – PCjr

    This is what happens when you only have enough money in your marketing budget to afford a dead guy. This commercial is flawed on many levels. Would Charlie Chaplin really know how to use a computer? He was born in 1889, back when North Dakota wasn’t even a state yet.

    Why it failed: This computer had a hefty price tag. At $699, it was twice the price of computers from Atari and Commodore. Many were also disappointed at the awkward layout of the factory-shipped keyboard.

    2) DeLorean – DMC-12

    How this car failed to catch on perplexes us. We know we”d want one.

    Why it failed: The fall of the DeLorean Motor Company was not due to the vehicle, which is no surprise because this car is an incredible piece of engineering and style. Rather, failure ensued after hard times fell on the company’s founder. John DeLorean’s empire was dismantled after his arrest on accusations of drug-trafficking resulted in bankruptcy.

    1) Ford – Edsel

    “They’ll know you’ve arrived when you drive up in the 1958 Edsel, the car that’s truly new!”
    I guess in 1958, new was slang for ugly. The front of this car bothers us, as it looks like an angry mechanical face.

    Why it failed: A small army worth of factors came together to curse the Edsel. A name that didn’t resonate with the crowd, a bizarre pricing strategy, and a national recession have all been cited as factors by those who use the Edsel as an example of how not to market a product.

    CEO Ethics

    Top ten ethical blunders

    Rather than address the causes for ethical problems, companies too often simply create a filter for trying to catch infractions. This reactive approach failed in addressing total quality, and will fail in addressing quality in ethical orientation.

    We now have over twenty years of experience with formal ethics structures in business. By and large these have become one-dimensional programs for delivering compliance, with very little impact on actual business strategy or corporate culture. Enron was touted as a paragon of ethical practices even while its executives plundered shareholder value, and its employees adopted ever more ruthless personnel policies. It is important to realize that such failures are not simply from rejecting ethics, but rather from misapplying them.

    The Wrong Way to Strive For The Right Thing

    In many ways the whole business ethics culture is at fault. Voluntary codes are not rigorous enough. Structures like ethics or integrity offices have become largely legal services grappling with compliance. Rarely do Boards or strategic planners accord ethics the serious consideration given to finance or marketing. And whistle-blowing systems have been adopted without protecting those who take the risk to do the blowing. Business ethics too often pivot on a business case: tolerated for contributing to reputation or protecting against fines, but considered optional if there is a cost to ethical adherence.  

    The most common mistakes are in the most common practices:

    1. Adopting formal codes as a tactic rather than as a strategy, assuming rules will catch mistakes rather than addressing the underlying beliefs, motivations and culture.
    2. Managing ethics as a legal or PR variable rather than creating an operational culture that invites the hard questions and uncertainties of moral dialogue.
    3. Instituting systems of accountability to more clearly assign blame rather than to give more depth to the fiduciary duties for care, answerability and due-diligence.
    4. Defining ethics principles as a top-down or internal exercise rather than by means of a dialogue with stakeholders, critics and those impacted by corporate activities.
    5. Assuming that generic terms are enough to inspire employee adherence rather than interacting with them to discover the precise implications for values, attitudes and behaviours.
    6. Downloading ethical responsibility on employees as a parallel deliverable to business results without providing the tools, skills or leadership for effectively managing the conflicting objectives or ambiguities.
    7. Introducing whistle-blowing structures without creating the culture that supports dissent and rewards those who take stands based on ethical principles.
    8. Making ethical commitments without introducing the hard measures for evaluating and tracking the specific dimensions of trust and integrity.
    9. Embracing ethics programs during crisis or scrutiny without unlearning the habits and values that contributed to impropriety in the first place.
    10. Regarding ethics as a binary option without realizing that it is actually a process of constructive and iterative transformation that actually extends and enhances strategy. 

    I teach several ethics classes. I think this is a good article written by the Center for Ethical Orientation. Many of my master and doctoral students are considering starting their own businesses. It is very important to have a strong code of ethics set up from the beginning and to be sure that this message is being delivered.

    10 Awesome Ways to Integrate Twitter With Your Website

    Web developers with social media savvy are in hot demand. Imagine what it would be like to promise your clients a web presence that is fully integrated with  . . . click on the title to see the rest of this article.

    How to Form an LLC With Rental Property |

    Many investors use rental property to create “passive income.” Investors can buy apartments, commercial property or even single homes to then rent out to tenants. While these properties can produce cash flow, they can also leave the owner with personal liability for the business. Putting your rental properties into an LLC will limit your personal liability with a very small initial setup cost. You can even form an LLC online for a fraction of the price of meeting an attorney in person.

    Difficulty: Easy
    1. Step 1

      Choose an available LLC name in your state. When forming an LLC, you need to pick a unique name that no other company is using as this name will appear on all of your documents and banking information.

    2. Step 2

      Find an online LLC vendor or contact an attorney. You can work with an attorney one-on-one or form your LLC online by yourself. You’ll need to supply some basic information such as business address and the names and contact information of the owners.

    3. Step 3

      Pick your statutory agent and pay your filing fees. Every LLC needs a registered agent on file with the state, who will be the person to receive legal correspondence on behalf of the company. When applying for an LLC, most states charge a fee that must be paid at the time of filing.

    4. Step 4

      Start operating your rental property under the LLC. The next time you take on a tenant, change all of your rental property forms and contracts to the name of your LLC instead of your personal name. Henceforward, the LLC will be liable for those contracts and you personally will have limited liability.

    5. Step 5

      Start a bank account for your LLC. Your LLC is its own entity, so it can open a business checking account to receive the rental income, pay the rental property expenses and debt service and pay profits to you as the owner.

    I had someone ask me today about using an LLC for their rental property. I personally use Keyt Law in Arizona – I think they do a nice job.

    I use LLCs to protect me financially. Here is a great link to FAQs about why you should use an LLC to purchase real estate:

    Improve Your Karma With Microlending

    If you haven’t heard of microlending yet, you are not alone. Although it is primarily something that has been found in third world countries, the U.S. is also in the microlending market. What makes microlending unusual is that it can be done by just about anyone and the amounts that you lend can be quite small. Some of the proponents of microlending even suggest that these loans could help to end poverty.


    What Is It?
    Microlending occurs when loans are made are small and/or are unconventionally secured, if at all. They are a means for people who could normally not receive credit to be able to obtain a loan. The idea is to spur entrepreneurship. Many people, often times women, in traditionally poor areas may come up with an idea for a business but may be unable to obtain financing. Originally starting in developing countries about 30 years ago, these loans were intended to build wealth and, with hope, end poverty. (Learn more about emerging markets in Evaluating Country Risk For International Investing.)There are two types of microlenders: For-profit and not-for-profit. eBay’s subsidiary, Microplace, is an example of a for-profit dealer. Those wanting to donate to an individual borrower can use their Paypal accounts to transfer money. Kiva, a well-known not-for-profit lending organization, doesn’t receive any interest on its loans, but the field partners through which loans are managed do charge borrowers interest. Kiva has some interesting statistics regarding its loans:

    Total value of all loans made through Kiva: $105,084,510
    Number of Kiva Lenders: 601,646
    Number of countries represented by Kiva Lenders: 188
    Number of entrepreneurs that have received a loan through Kiva: 261,312
    Number of loans that have been funded through Kiva: 149,794
    Percentage of Kiva loans which have been made to women entrepreneurs: 82.55%
    Number of Kiva Field Partners (microfinance institutions Kiva partners with): 106
    Number of countries Kiva Field Partners are located in: 49
    Current repayment rate (all partners): 98.04%
    Average loan size (This is the average amount loaned to an individual Kiva Entrepreneur. Some loans – group loans – are divided between a group of borrowers.): $402.88
    Average total amount loaned per Kiva Lender (includes reloaned funds): $174.98
    Average number of loans per Kiva Lender: 5.03
    Data as of 11/27/2009 from

    Kiva and other organizations advertise the appeal of lending being a safe investment and a socially conscious thing to do. Developing countries have many people who are in great need of assistance, and the hope is that by donating to these people, the economies of their countries will benefit.

    These loans are not only being made available overseas. U.S. entrepreneurs can also take advantage of this financing. In fact, small and private businesses make up more than 87% of all businesses in the United States – accounting for 900,000 newly-created jobs every year. And funding for these companies often comes from lending firms.

    It has been suggested that excessive interest rates have been charged in the microlending game. This is because there are no legal limits – and little government involvement – in this field.

    Researchers at MIT recently have worked on two papers that suggested microlending may not be as impactful as originally hoped. The research found that many microcredit clients actually use the monies they receive through lending on household items – debt, car payments and luxury items – rather than the businesses for which it was designated.

    Becoming a Microlender
    One of the first decisions you must make is whether to donate interest-free or not. In addition to lending through third party organizations, you can also become a lender on your own. If you do so, it is important to confirm that your client is reputable and has the intention of abiding by timelines, late payment policies and interest rates, as it relates to repayment of the loan.

    Microloans can become a valuable part of your charitable gift giving. Although these loans have no guarantee that they will be repaid – as is the case with any loan – you may be helping those in need as well as helping a depressed economy. Financial interest returns may be small or non-existent, but the money invested may be a charitable way to help out those in need.
    For related reading, check out Microfinance Has Major Impact and Using Social Finance To Produce A Better World.

    by Diane Hamilton, Ph.D (Contact Author | Biography)

    Diane Hamilton’s formal education includes a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Arts and a Doctorate degree in Business Management. She has an Arizona real estate license as well as certifications in the areas of medical representative, Myers-Briggs and emotional intelligence. With more than 25 years of business and management-related experience, her background includes working in many industries, including computers, software, pharmaceuticals, corporate training, mortgage/lending and real estate. She currently teaches business-related subjects for six online universities and is in the process of writing a book on personal finance for young adults. She can be reached through

    Top 10 Personality, Career, IQ and EQ Tests

    This is a list of personality, career, IQ and EQ (emotional quotient) tests that you might want to take to find out more about your personality, intelligence and personal preferences.  I list some of these in my book: How To Reinvent Your Career.  Now that there are so many people looking for jobs, it makes sense to find out more about your personality and preferences to see which jobs would be a good match for you. 

    How to Setup A Twitter Autoresponder |

    How to Setup A Twitter Autoresponder


    By ramsaywebs, eHow Member

    Twitter allows you to send a Direct Message to anyone that follows you on Twitter. There are some great free services that will help you send a Direct Message to anyone that follows you automatically. This is commonly referred to as a Twitter autoresponder feature.

    Twitter users use an autoresponder to connect with their new followers. You can send out a Direct Message that tells your new follower who you are and how they can connect with you. If you are using twitter you will find that most people use Twitter autoresponders to send links to affiliate products or to a blog they contribute to.

    Follow these steps to setup a Twitter auto responder.

    Difficulty: Easy
    1. Step 1

      Sign up for a free account at Socialoomph. (See the link in resource section at the end of the steps).

    2. Step 2

      Add your Twitter account. Select Social Accounts – Add New Accounts – Add Twitter.

    3. Step 3

      Enter in the details of your Twitter account user name and password.

    4. Step 4

      Scroll down to the auto welcome check box – select Automatically send a welcome message to new followers.

    5. Step 5

      In the “Send this message” text box enter the message you want to send.

    6. Step 6

      Scroll down and select save at the bottom. You are done setting up your Twitter autoresponder.

    Self Help: Improving Your Lifetime Potential – Dr. Diane Hamilton

    My website is dedicated to helping people improve their lifetime potential.  What does that entail?  I am always studying self-help articles to improve “me”.  I find that a lot of others do the same.  I use my website and blog as a way to share those things that I have learned through my research.  It can take a lot of time to find how to do certain things or how to improve your life in certain ways.  I hope that with my research, I make your research a bit easier.


    I like to study careers and different jobs that become available due to new technologies and advancements.  My degrees are in Business Management with a strong focus on Human Resources and Personnel Management.   In my book How to Reinvent Your Career I include a lot of information about how to improve yourself in order to get that career that is a good fit for you.  The anticipated publication of this book is early Fall, 2010.

    In the meantime, I recommend checking out some of the following sites for more information to help you with your own research:


    There are always personal areas we can develop. I love books like The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama.  Tony Robbins also inspires me quite a bit.  It can be easy to get bogged down in negative thinking.  We all have that inner voice that we barely notice in our minds.  I think it is important to pay attention to it, to be sure we are not focusing on negative thoughts. 

    I recommend that you check out some of the following sites for more information about self-help topics:


    Having worked in the pharmaceutical field for 15 years, I received a lot of health-related training.  I have a CMR certification which was a pretty intense graduate-level program where I learned about medicine, disease management, and how the different systems in the body function.  One thing that I had to learn in my own personal life was the importance of being healthy as compared to just being thin. 

    I recommend that you check out some of the following sites for more information about health-related topics:


    I currently teach for 6 online universities and personally have a PhD in Business.  I am a big advocate for a continued life-long education.  I never stop taking courses.  I love to learn new things. The great thing about the Internet is that there is a wealth of information out there that is FREE! 

    I recommend that you check out some of the following sites for more information about paying for education:

     I recommend that you check out some of the following sites for more information about free education:


    My latest passion has been to learn more about social networking.  It can be so complicated because there are so many different sites out there.  I do like to use sites like Posterous which allow you to update many different sites easily with just one email.  I am always looking for great suggested sites and things to read.

    I recommend that you check out some of the following sites for more information about social networking:

    I hope some of my links are helpful to those of you who have similar interests to mine.  I welcome hearing back from those of you who have found sites that you like as well.  I am constantly updating my lists so check back on occasion to see some new site that I think are useful.

    Facebook Is to the Power Company as … –

    Some experts argue that Facebook has grown so large that it is nearly impossible for a viable alternative to emerge, despite the presence of other social networks. Facebook gains data from each additional participant, growing more useful as it expands. This makes it progressively harder for users to leave, an economic principle known as lock-in.

    Interesting NY Times article about how Americans feel better about doing their taxes online than posting updates on Facebook. I find that hard to believe as no one is forcing anyone to post updates . . . whereas paying taxes is not exactly a choice. I do think that Facebook would be hard to compete with in the social networking market though. I have been paying attention to a lot of the ads on TV lately that have a little “F” implying they have a facebook page. They promote it as they would a website address.

    U.S. to Scrutinize For-Profit Career Colleges –

    The U.S. Department of Education on Friday will propose a measure to penalize for-profit career colleges for graduating students with high debt-to-income ratios.

    The proposal, which will undergo a 45-day comment period that is expected to include opposition from industry lobbyists, is an effort to ensure schools are training students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation. It comes at a time when for-profits are under new scrutiny as they capture a growing share of federal student-aid dollars.

    “Some proprietary schools have profited and prospered but their students haven’t,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “While career colleges play a vital role in training our work force to be globally competitive, some of them are saddling students with debt they cannot afford in exchange for degrees and certificates they cannot use.”

    Under the proposal, training programs would be judged on whether former students are repaying the principal on federal loans, and the relationship between total student loan debt and average earnings upon graduation. The recommendation sets up three tiers of eligibility, with those in the middle tier facing enrollment restrictions and debt-to-income disclosure requirements, and the weakest tier losing access to federal student aid for new students.

    According to the Education Department, if career colleges made no changes, 5% of all programs would no longer be eligible for federal aid and 55% would be required to warn students about high debt-to-income ratios. Many publicly traded schools derive close to 90% of their revenue from federal aid.

    The recommendation, known as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, has been a long time coming, with federal officials and industry representatives meeting for a year to discuss new higher-education regulations. The government put forth its first proposal in late January and the stocks of for-profit colleges have soared and swooned since, propelled by rumors of how programs could gain exemption from the regulation.

    The Education Department said that this version is “thoughtful,” with income calculations based on actual graduate earnings rather than Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. To give time for program improvement, the agency proposed that the 2012-2013 academic year be the earliest that programs could be found ineligible for federal aid.

    The Education Department had released 13 other proposals in June but said it needed more time for this one.

    “Some key issues around gainful employment are complicated and we want to get it right,” Mr. Duncan said at the time.

    The earlier recommendations included proposals on incentive compensation for student recruiters, a clearer definition of a credit hour and a new metrics by which students must show academic progress in order to continue receiving federal aid.

    The colleges’ programs include training for students to work in the culinary arts, as medical assistants, and in criminal justice.

    Interesting article from the Wall Street Journal . . . Those of you who have ever received a mortgage loan, know that your debt-to-income ratio is a big factor in getting your loan. That ratio shows how much you make vs. how much you spend on debt. I will be interested in seeing what they consider a high debt-to-income ratio . . .

    Top 50 Job Resources claims:  Here are 10 of the 50 best job posting sites (job boards) for job-seekers. . . click here or go to:  
    I think that this site has some great recommendations.  However, I didn’t see listed which I think is an excellent site for people to find online teaching jobs. I would definitely add them to this list.

    Home Based Business Scams from

    Top 10 Work At Home and Home Based Business Scams and How to Avoid Them – Part 1

    Home-based business and work-at-home opportunity scams rank very high on the list of the top types of Internet fraud.

    In this issue, we’ll focus on the Top 10 home-based business/work-at-home scams. We’ll give you the straight goods on envelope stuffing, mystery shopping, and other common home-based business “opportunities” you may have seen floating around the Net.

    Then in the next issue, we’ll give you some important tips you can use to kick the tires of any online job offers or business opportunities you find so you can protect yourself from those that are scams.

    Work-At-Home and Home-Based Business Scams

    There are two basic types of scams involved here. Scammers using both types are aiming at folks who want to make money from home, either by:

    1. Having you work from home, doing envelope stuffing, craft assembly, or other tasks where you are (supposedly) paid by a company as an employee.

    There are certainly some legitimate telecommuting jobs, but work-from-home jobs are often just big scams.

    Before we go any further, a sobering quote: “There are very few legitimate [work-at-home job] opportunities available,” says Beverley Williams, President and Founder of the American Association of Home-Based Businesses.

    2. “Helping” you start your own home-based business, as a mystery shopper, network marketer, or other businesses where the only money anyone sees is the money the scammer pockets.

    Certainly, there are LOTS of legitimate businesses that can help you start your own home business. We’ll help you figure out which are real — and which are just scams.

    Our goal with Internet ScamBusters is to save you time, money and heartbreak before you fall for the scams. Remember — if it sounds too good to be true… *it probably is*.

    Why Are These Scams So Successful?

    It all comes down to psychology. Besides the “make money fast” dream that many Internet newcomers fall prey to, home-based “opportunities” scammers mooch off the following groups. Perhaps you belong to one or more of them:

    1. The Sick, Disabled, or Elderly: If you are elderly, ill, or have a disability, you may have problems landing a traditional job.

    2. The Stay-At-Home Mother: Whether you have a spouse or you’re single, you may be looking to supplement or create an income while raising children.

    3. The Low-Income or No-Income Family: You or your spouse may have just lost your job, and you feel desperate and anxious to find work as the bills pile up.

    4. The Person Without Higher Education: You’re not stupid or dumb — you just didn’t go on to college or university.

    To summarize, these scammers are often preying primarily on the sick, the disabled, the elderly, the unemployed, parents, and people without a lot of money.

    The Top 10 Home-Based Business/Work-At-Home Scams

    Note: These scams are not ranked by dollars lost or people scammed. In fact, there’s nothing scientific about the list. It’s just the ten home-based business scams we find the most disturbing.

    10. Craft Assembly

    This scam encourages you to assemble toys, dolls, or other craft projects at home with the promise of high per-piece rates. All you have to do is pay a fee up-front for the starter kit… which includes instructions and parts.

    Sounds good? Well, once you finish assembling your first batch of crafts, you’ll be told by the company that they “don’t meet our specifications.”

    In fact, even if you were a robot and did it perfectly, it would be impossible for you to meet their specifications. The scammer company is making money selling the starter kits — not selling the assembled product. So, you’re left with a set of assembled crafts… and no one to sell them to.

    9. Medical Billing

    In this scam, you pay $300-$900 for everything (supposedly) you need to start your own medical billing service at home. You’re promised state-of-the-art medical billing software, as well as a list of potential clients in your area.

    What you’re not told is that most medical clinics process their own bills, or outsource the processing to firms, not individuals. Your software may not meet their specifications, and often the lists of “potential clients” are outdated or just plain wrong.

    As usual, trying to get a refund from the medical billing company is like trying to get blood from a stone.

    8. Email Processing

    This is a twist on the classic “envelope stuffing scam” (see #1 below). For a low price ($50?) you can become a “highly-paid” email processor working “from the comfort of your own home.”

    Now… what do you suppose an email processor does? If you have visions of forwarding or editing emails, forget it. What you get for your money are instructions on spamming the same ad you responded to in newsgroups and Web forums!

    Think about it — they offer to pay you $25 per email processed — would any legitimate company pay that?

    7. “A List of Companies Looking for Homeworkers!”

    In this one, you pay a small fee for a list of companies looking for homeworkers just like you.

    The only problem is that the list is usually a generic list of companies, companies that don’t take homeworkers, or companies that may have accepted homeworkers long, long ago. Don’t expect to get your money back with this one.

    6. “Just Call This 1-900 Number For More Information…”

    No need to spend too much time (or money) on this one. 1-900 numbers cost money to call, and that’s how the scammers make their profit.

    Save your money — don’t call a 1-900 number for more information about a supposed work-at-home job.

    5. Typing At Home

    If you use the Internet a lot, then odds are that you’re probably a good typist. How better to capitalize on it than making money by typing at home?

    Here’s how it works: After sending the fee to the scammer for “more information,” you receive a disk and printed information that tells you to place home typist ads and sell copies of the disk to the suckers who reply to you. Like #8, this scam tries to turn you into a scammer!

    4. “Turn Your Computer Into a Money-Making Machine!”

    Well, this one’s at least half-true. To be completely true, it should read: “Turn your computer into a money-making machine… for spammers!”

    This is much the same spam as #5, above. Once you pay your money, you’ll be sent instructions on how to place ads and pull in suckers to “turn their computers into money-making machines.”

    3. Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)

    If you’ve heard of network marketing (like Amway), then you know that there are legitimate MLM businesses based on agents selling products or services.

    One big problem with MLMs, though, is when the pyramid and the ladder-climbing become more important than selling the actual product or service.

    If the MLM business opportunity is all about finding new recruits rather than selling products or services, beware: The Federal Trade Commission may consider it to be a pyramid scheme… and not only can you lose all your money, but you can be charged with fraud, too!

    We saw an interesting MLM scam recently: one MLM company advertised the product they were selling as FREE. The fine print, however, states that it is “free in the sense that you could be earning commissions and bonuses in excess of the cost of your monthly purchase of” the product. Does that sound like free to you?

    2. Chain Letters/Emails (“Make Money Fast”)

    If you’ve been on the Internet for any length of time, you’ve probably received or at least seen these chain emails. They promise that all you have to do is send the email along plus some money by mail to the top names on the list, then add your name to the bottom… and one day you’ll be a millionaire.

    Actually, the only thing you might be one day is prosecuted for fraud. This is a classic pyramid scheme, and most times the names in the chain emails are manipulated to make sure only the people at the top of the list (the true scammers) make any money.

    This scam should be called “Lose Money Fast” — and it’s illegal.

    1. Envelope Stuffing

    This is THE classic work-at-home scam. It’s been around since the U.S. Depression of the 1920s and 1930s, and it’s moved onto the Internet like a cockroach you just can’t eliminate.

    There are several variations, but here’s a sample: Much like #5 and #4 above, you are promised to be paid $1-2 for every envelope you stuff. All you have to do is send money and you’re guaranteed “up to 1,000 envelopes a week that you can stuff… with postage and address already affixed!”

    When you send your money, you get a short manual with flyer templates you’re supposed to put up around town, advertising yet another harebrained work-from-home scheme.

    And the pre-addressed, pre-paid envelopes? Well, when people see those flyers, all they have to do is send you $2.00 in a pre-addressed, pre-paid envelope. Then you stuff that envelope with another flyer and send it to them.

    Ingenious perhaps… but certainly illegal and unethical.

    To see other articles about scams, check out the right side of this blog page for past blogs listed under “scams”.

    Affinity Fraud: No Safety In Numbers – Ponzi Schemes

    Affinity Fraud: No Safety In Numbers

    by Diane Hamilton, Ph.D

    Many people have heard about how Bernie Madoff scammed many wealthy people out of billions of dollars. Madoff pulled off something that is often referred to as a Ponzi scheme, which is a type of affinity fraud. Affinity fraud occurs when investment scams are targeted at specific groups of people. These groups usually include the elderly, the religious or professionals. Unfortunately, the very people who do the scamming can sometimes be the ones that people trust the most. One way to protect yourself is to understand what affinity fraud is and how to avoid it. 

    What is Affinity Fraud?
    Affinity fraud occurs when specific groups of people are targeted with the intention to scam them out of money. Usually, a relationship is exploited, as in the case of a friendship, a religious association or relying on the loyalty to a common group. Many leaders of these groups trust the scammer and unfortunately help spread the scammer’s message.A Ponzi scheme is similar to a pyramid scheme. The difference lies in the fact that with a Ponzi scheme, money is promised without requiring the investor to sell anything.  In a pyramid scheme, the investor often has to sell a product or service as well as try to recruit others to join. With a Ponzi scheme, the investor believes they are investing in something that is promised to make a large return. In actuality, the scammer is just bringing in more investors which provide them with more money for personal use. The scheme works as more and more new investors bring in more and more money. (For more, read Fiscally Challenged? Wise Up To Financial Fraud.)

    One of the reasons affinity scams are so successful is that they rely on loyalty and testimonials. Many times the scammer will use names of others from their group to convince them that they are in good company. The scammer relies on the fact that the investor feels comfortable within this group of people and shares a sense of community with them. By learning that others within their group have already invested, investors are less skeptical and have their guard down.

    Types of Common Affinity Fraud
    One of the most common types of affinity fraud is targeted at religious or ethnic groups. It may be difficult to detect fraud within these groups due to their tight structure. Also due to their relationships with one another, these groups are less likely to report victimization to authorities.Usually prominent members of the group are targeted first so that others will feel more comfortable with their recommendation. 

    Many different types of groups can be targeted. The elderly have long been targets of many different types of investment scams. Affinity fraud is no exception. The ploy is to give an illusion of security which is something that many elderly are searching for.  Professional groups are another easy target. Scammers find any group that is close-knit where they can prey upon that relationship.  By learning that others within their group have already invested, the investor is less skeptical and has their guard down.

    Affinity Fraud in the News
    Ponzi schemes were in the news quite a bit in 2009 due to Bernie Madoff. One of the groups that he exploited included a large number of people in Hollywood. Madoff targeted big names like Steven Spielberg, and once a scammer can gain access to an elite like this, those who travel in the same circles are prime targets for the scam. (To learn more, see How To Avoid Falling Prey To The Next Madoff Scam.)

    The Hollywood community is not the only group that’s been targeted. Predators rely on the fact that people that are part of these groups feel a sense of pride and belonging. 

    Another commonly targeted group by affinity fraud is the elderly. Fraudsters have been known to convince senior citizens to liquidate their retirement to buy securities that are never actually purchased. Some elderly have trusted their investment advisors with their retirement only to find that their money had never been invested and is long gone. 

    Avoiding Affinity Fraud
    There are ways to avoid affinity fraud: 

    • Do not rely solely on recommendations by fellow friends, club members or associates. 
    • Be sure to know where your money is being invested and who is investing it. 
    • Get everything in writing and check to be sure that your money it is actually where it is supposed to be. 
    • Be careful if the person is trying to pressure you into quick decisions. If they make it sound too good to be true or imply it is a once in a life time opportunity, be skeptical. 

    Remember, it is never a good idea to have all of your eggs in one basket; it is important to always diversify. Should you actually get scammed, you will always have other money to fall back on as a safety net. If you feel you have been scammed, you can contact the SEC. Fill out their complaint form at You can also contact a state securities regulator at to find out if the product being sold or investment being promoted is legitimately registered. (Read Stop Scams In Their Tracks for more on this topic.)

    When the economy is doing poorly, a lot of people look to make back the money they lost in the stock market. This is a time when people are more vulnerable than ever to these types of scams. The best things to do are to not trust blindly, be sure to check out everything about the investment and don’t let greed get the best of you. (To learn more, see our Investment Scams Tutorial.)

    by Diane Hamilton, Ph.D

    Someone was asking me about Ponzi Schemes today . . . so I thought I’d share the above article I wrote for Investopedia.

    What’s New in the Sixth Edition of the APA Publication Manual?

    What’s New in the Sixth Edition of the APA Publication Manual?

    via – Click this link for more on this article.

    Many of my students are now required to use the 6th edition of the APA manual. For help on what has been changed in the newest edition, see the above link. I like that they now have 2 spaces after a period . . . I think it looks better.

    What does your brain say about your pers…

    What does your brain say about your personality?

    Research shows certain brain regions have significantly different sizes depending on the self-reported strength of a particular personality trait.

    The Washington Post

    Does the size of your brain — or, specifically, different regions of it — say anything about your personality? According to a new study, maybe.

    Interesting personality study by the University of Minnesota – to find out more click on the above link.

    In our book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, my daughter Toni Rothpletz and I wrote about the Big Five Factors of Personality that this author refers to in this article. In the 1970s two separate research teams came up with what we now call The Big Five Factors of Personality. You may hear the terms Big Five or Five-Factor Model. These are basically the same things. This is probably one of the most well-known theories of personality. The model is based upon our personality having five traits. These traits include the following areas:

    • Openness to Experience
    • Conscientiousness
    • Extraversion
    • Agreeableness
    • Neuroticism

    In this study out of Minnesota, “their research showed certain brain regions had significantly different sizes depending on the self-reported strength of a particular personality trait.”

    How to Search for a Job Online –

    In a tight job market, building and maintaining an online presence is critical to networking and job hunting. Done right, it can be an important tool for present and future networking and useful for potential employers trying to get a sense of who you are, your talents and your experience. Done wrong, it can easily take you out of the running for most positions.

    Here are five mistakes online job hunters make:

    The WallStreet Journal had a very interesting article today about common mistakes online job hunters make. You can click on the link above to read it. I like that the author mentioned that people need to keep up with their Linkedin accounts. I see a lot of people that are not active on there. There is a wealth of information that can be garnered through joining groups and going into the question and answer areas. If you are on Linkedin, go to the section called “More” at the top. Under that area, go to answers. You can ask a question or find an answer there. If you are an expert on a topic, it is a great way to get exposure by answering questions that are being asked.

    The Worst Teacher I Ever Had

    I actually just wrote about this in my book: How to Reinvent Your Career . . . here is an excerpt:

    It happened when I went back to school. I had a wonderful experience getting my doctorate degree, with the exception of one horrible teacher. This guy was a nightmare. He was incredibly slow, which was tough for me to deal with as I am very hyper. He also had an undecipherable syllabus, and nothing he asked for made any sense. I’d never had any problem in any of my other courses in my entire life, so this was very frustrating for me.

    I would call him to try and figure out what he wanted, but he would be horrible on the phone. He would say things to me like, “Welcome to the cave. I’m going to eat you up like Jello pudding.” Seriously, I’m not making that up. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He didn’t like that I worked quickly, and wanted to slow me down. I guess because he did things slowly, he thought I should be that way, or I wasn’t putting in the effort he thought I should be. Little did he know that slowing me down would have been the worst thing for me, because when I lose momentum, I’m not nearly as effective. He obviously needed some help with his interpersonal skills. This is interesting to me, because interpersonal skills are a big part of having emotional intelligence (which I will touch on later). We did not get along well on the phone, in fact he frustrated me to no end, however I tried to put up with him.

    I remember one conversation I had with him about my intentions for my dissertation. I mentioned that I wanted to do something about looking for what lead to superior sales performance. I’m not sure how I said it, but he immediately responded with something like, “That’s a great idea, to see how emotional intelligence affects sales performance.” I hadn’t said that, in fact I didn’t even know what emotional intelligence was at that point. However, once I looked it up, I decided that was a great way for me to go. For those of you who haven’t heard about emotional intelligence, it’s about having the ability to understand your own emotions, as well as those in others. Interpersonal skills are a big part of that. Ironically, this guy obviously hadn’t beefed up his own emotional intelligence skills, but he did manage to give me a push in a good direction.

    I tried to work with him for as long as possible, but eventually we both got totally frustrated with one another and decided it would be best if I changed professors. The next guy was wonderful, and the course was very enjoyable. What is interesting though is that the original professor, whom I couldn’t stand to even talk to and was so glad to get away from, actually changed my course in life to some extent by misinterpreting or reading something into what I’d said on the phone. I barely got to know the guy during the few weeks I was enrolled in his course, and yet our brief contact had a strong impact on where I went with my studies. Not only did I write my dissertation on emotional intelligence, but I’ve also written about it in my books, so I guess he wasn’t so bad after all. I escaped from “the cave” with some helpful information, and I guess I have to thank him for that.

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    Is Wikipedia Reliable? – For Dummies

    The creators of Wikipedia are the first to admit that not every entry is accurate and that it might not be the best source of material for research papers. Here are some points to consider:

    • Look for a slant. Some articles are fair and balanced, but others look more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If an article has only one source, beware.
    • Consider the source. Even if an article cites external sources, check out those sources to see whether they are being cited fairly and accurately — and do, in fact, reinforce the article’s points.
    • Look who’s talking. If you research the contributors themselves and find that they are experts in their fields, you can be more confident in the entry.
    • Start here, but keep going. Wikipedia should be a starting point for research but not your primary source for research material.

    In this article by the authors discuss the accuracy of Wikipedia. Why would Wikipedia not be reliable? The reason is that the site is written on a wiki. A wiki is software that allows users to modify its content. I never realized how interactive this software was until I taught courses where students used a wiki in our online classroom. There have been studies to show that Wikipedia is as reliable as Britannica. However, even the creator of the site doesn’t recommend using it as a source for citing in studies. When you look up “Who Writes Wikipedia” on their site, the first answer they give is: You do! Because so many people are able to access the site and make changes, there can be errors. My personal experience has been good with Wikipedia. However, I always double-check to be sure they have listed reliable sources below to back up their information. I agree with Dan Woods and Peter Thoeny in the above article . . . you can start there to get an idea of a topic but look for information to back up what is stated. It should not be your only source of information.

    Howstuffworks “How Google Voice Works”

    How Google Voice Works

    by Josh Briggs

    Browse the article How Google Voice Works

    Introduction to How Google Voice Works

    If you’ve ever caught a rerun of “The Little Rascals” or an old Looney Tunes cartoon, chances are you’re familiar with one of the most popular forms of communication ever known to man: the good old tin cans connected by a string. Kids used to make them all the time and attempt to talk to each other. OK, so maybe the tin can phone wasn’t a very useful method for communication. But it did foreshadow where our society was heading. And look where mobile communication is now.

    With the recent smartphone boom has come the integration of the Internet and e-mail with traditional voice communication. These handheld devices, like Apple’s iPhone and all the RIM BlackBerry and Android-based phones on the market, give people more ways to stay in touch and stay informed. As demands for organization and communication systems management evolve, inevitably we’ll see even more innovative products and services sprouting up. Meet Google Voice.

    Learn More

    Google Voice is a Web-based communication platform for linking multiple phones to a single phone number. And that’s just the beginning. After an exclusive introduction in early 2009, on the heels of the purchase of the phone management system GrandCentral in 2006, Google Voice was available by request or invitation only. After a year of working through the bugs, and slower-than-expected traction, it’s now available to everyone, for free. And it has the potential to change the way we communicate yet again. When you see what it has to offer, you can’t help being impressed. But remember, everything has drawbacks. Before we explain whether Google Voice suits you, let’s start by looking at the many features it offers.

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    Google Voice Functions and Features

    google voice screenshot screenshot
    Google Voice lets you control which features you use and how.

    Google Voice’s defining feature is the ability to use one phone number in place of all your existing ones. However, your Google Voice number doesn’t replace your other phone numbers. Think of it as an operator who routes your calls to all your phones for you. It works like this: You have a Google Voice phone number (of your choosing), which in theory, you hand out instead of your cell phone or work number. When someone calls that number, it’ll ring all of the phones you select. You can customize it, too. Let’s say you know you’re in your office during the same three-hour period each day. When you set the parameters for your work phone, you would set it up to ring only at your office during that time. Along those lines of thinking, you may choose to disable your home phone for that same period. It’s as simple as that. But that’s only part of what Google Voice can do.

    All of this is done through the Google Voice management site on the Internet. So, before you can dive into Google Voice’s cool features, you need to have a Google account. This is as simple as going to the Google Voice Web site and signing up for a free account.

    And while we’re on the subject of free, now is a great time to mention free short message service (SMS) texting capabilities. You can use the Google Voice Web site or download the Google Voice app to your non-Apple (we’ll get to that later) smartphone and text using your cell phone and Google Voice number. If someone sends you a message at your Google Voice number, it’ll forward the message to any mobile phone you have set up in your account. When you reply, it will appear to come from your Google Voice phone number.

    What’s more, you can then send these text messages to your e-mail account of choice. Which leads to another cool feature. Not only can you send and save text messages to e-mail, you can do the same thing with voicemails. Google Voice will transcribe voicemails into e-mail form. SMS management is more refined too. You store text messages then search for them much the way you would search for an old e-mail.

    When we said Google Voice acts like a switchboard operator, we weren’t kidding. You can set it to screen calls so when your phones ring, you hear a programmed voice informing you who’s calling. You can then listen in to the voicemail live and pick up if it’s someone you want to talk to. Along those lines, you can block numbers, too, including annoying telemarketers or stalker-type exes. On the flip side of that, you can change the automated greeting and even setup personal greetings for individual contact numbers.

    Google Voice has some other cool free features you would normally have to pay for. For one, you get a free directory service so no more paying to dial 411. Also, you can share voicemails via e-mail, record incoming calls and conduct conference calls. You can even set up call widgets on your home page for customers to call you through that channel, a feature that’s great for businesses.

    So these are the major features and the jest of what Google Voice can do for you. Now, how about we go through how to place calls in the next section?

    Using Google Voice

    Military Puts Google Voice Through its Paces
    When Google Voice finally went live in 2009, it was by invitation only. GrandCentral users were grandfathered in, but new users had to request an invitation then sit and wait. But Google made sure to take care of the people who take care of the United States in times of conflict. Google Voice extended an open invitation to military personnel and anyone with a valid “.mil” e-mail address was, to borrow military jargon, good to go. With Google Voice, a soldier stationed in Iraq could fetch voice messages via the Internet free of charge. Instead of waiting for handwritten letters sent via snail mail to deliver that personal feel of home, troops could hear them almost instantaneously thanks to Google Voice.

    Placing a call through Google Voice is simple. If you’re using the Google Voice app on an Android phone, you begin by choosing one of three options — use Google Voice for all calls, use it for only international calls or don’t use it at all. From there, you use the key pad or choose one of your contacts, just as you would with any phone, and the number you’re calling will display your Google Voice number. There isn’t much to it.

    Now if you want to use your Google Voice number from a landline or non-Android-based system, you go about it differently. One way to do it is by calling your Google Voice number then signing into your voicemail. Once you do that, you’ll be prompted with a few options, one of which is to place a call. Select this option, dial the number and your Google Voice number will be the one placing the call. Another way to do it is through the Web site or mobile site. When logged in, select the “quick call” field then chose the phone you wish to call from. You select the phone you wish to use (assuming you have more than one set up), and Google Voice will call you at that phone. Once you answer, the service connects you to the number you’re calling.

    Now let’s see how you can use it for business and maybe even save some money in the next section.

    Making Google Voice Work for You

    To Record or Not Record a Phone Call?
    Have you ever wished you recorded a phone conversation with someone after he or she guaranteed you something — only to bag out on that promise? You’re not alone. Just make sure that if you do, it’s legal. In the United States, though the federal government may disagree, most states have laws that proclaim it’s legal to record a phone call as long as one of the parties is aware. That means if you know what’s going on, it’s OK. In some states, like California, both parties need to be in the loop. So before you decide to use a recorded phone conversation as ammunition against a crooked real estate broker or whoever wronged you, be sure to find out if it’s legal.

    Google Voice is perhaps best suited for business professionals who have multiple phone lines and e-mail accounts to manage. Many of us have a home phone, cell phone and work phone (and maybe even a work cell phone), and at least one work and one personal e-mail address. With the way information flies around and the speed with which it can go stale, we live in an up-to-the minute, can’t-wait-’til-later society.

    Small businesses can truly benefit from using Google Voice. Consider the money a business can save by outfitting each employee with a Google Voice number. As it is, most small businesses use some sort of elaborate phone system. Not only does this entail high startup costs with expensive equipment purchases, each phone line adds to the overall cost of the phone bill, too. With Google Voice, employees would receive many of the features they’d get with a phone system. The one major concern small business need to take in account is their identity with established phone numbers. Unfortunately, Google Voice cannot port existing phone numbers. At least, not as of this writing. Also, the voicemail to e-mail transcribing we mentioned earlier probably isn’t adequate enough to use for business purposes. We’ll get more into that in the next section.

    In addition to GrandCentral users, Gizmo5 users were integrated with Google Voice after Google purchased the latter in 2009. Gizmo5 is a voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) communications network similar to Skype that once worked hand-in-hand with GrandCentral. So those who used Gizmo5 were able to set up their account with Google Voice without any major hurdles to overcome.

    Google Voice can eliminate costly features on your existing phone service and in some cases, replace elaborate phone systems if you’re willing to take time setting it up and learning how to optimize its features. Sounds perfect, right? But before you ditch every phone service or system you have, make sure to read about some of the snags you may face in the next section, just to make sure it’s something you’ll be comfortable using.

    Google Voice Problems

    Google Voice mobile Web site screenshot
    To use Google Voice without the dedicated application, you’ll have to visit the mobile Web site.

    Not every smartphone has a native application to use with Google’s VOIP service. Google Voice and the iPhone don’t get along seamlessly. Neither do Palm or Windows Mobile devices. In fact, the only two smartphone systems that have native applications are Google Android and Blackberry. Users running iOS, Palm webOS , Windows and others, need to use Google’s Web version of the service.

    Google created an application for the iPhone, but Apple pulled it out of its App Store, prompting the FCC to send a letter of inquiry to the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant. Instead, iPhone and other smartphone users are forced to go through the Web-based version. Using the Web app means you can’t sync your contacts list. This may be nitpicking though, because importing a contact list from other non-Google platforms such as Microsoft Outlook or Yahoo Mail isn’t easy either. Also, text messaging is limited. You won’t be able to send text messages to more than one recipient at a time. Forget about international texting, too. It isn’t supported yet. But that’s the case for Android users, too.

    Perhaps one of Google Voice’s coolest features is also currently among its weakest. The transcription service can give you some less-than-literal translations. Voicemails may or may not come through perfectly when transcribed to text. For this reason, you may want to wait until Google perfects it before relying on it for business purposes — or asking someone on a date, for that matter. “I hope to see you soon” may come through as “I love your friend June.” Ouch.

    When we said Google Voice is free, we weren’t lying. There’s no charge for the basic service. There are some features that’ll cost you a small fee, however. For one, you can call long distance through the United States and Canada for free, but you’ll be charged for international calling. Some of the enhanced features that work with Google Chrome, for instance, also come with a fee.

    Google Voice Competitors
    Google Voice isn’t the only virtual phone and communications management system out there. Similar systems like Rabbit and 3jam give you options to consider.

    When it comes to recording calls, you can only do so for incoming calls. So if you’re a journalist and hope to utilize this feature, you’ll need to have that person call you. One more thing you should know: If you don’t live in the United States, as of the time of this writing, you can’t use Google Voice. You must have a U.S. phone number, which, until recently, didn’t include Alaska and Hawaii. But now all 50 states can use the service.

    I am a huge fan of the page . . . I have been thinking about trying Google Voice. Josh Briggs does a nice job of explaining how it all works.

    Old Spice Ad on YouTube

    I love to use this guy as an example for my Marketing classes I teach . . .

    Free Education

    If you are thinking of changing careers but don’t think you have enough training or education  . . .  in my book How to Reinvent Your Career, you will be able to find some suggestions about how to learn things for free.
    One of my favorite new ways to learn things is through iTunes’ program called iTunes U (the U stands for university). Some very well respected universities participate in iTunes U, and offer many free video downloads that you can access to learn about almost anything. Even if you aren’t considering changing jobs, I highly recommend checking out their free lectures.

    You can also learn a lot on iTunes through their podcasts, which are also free. A podcast is a recorded audio program that you download onto your computer, iPod or MP3 device. There are excellent podcasts on just about any topic you can imagine.

    For a list of some great free educational sites, check out the following:

    1.    iTunes U: – iTunes have their university courses as well as regular podcasts available. Be sure to check out all of the free things iTunes has to offer.

    2.    ‘Stuff you should know’ podcast  (the hosts Josh and Chuck are great!):

    3.     MIT Open Courseware:

    4.     Computer training:

    5.      How to use APA for writing papers:

    6.      Source for a lot of educational videos that help you to be on the cutting edge:

    7.      Grammar guide:

    8.      Online tutorials: Tutorial

    9.      Source for many educational training videos:

    10.    Career training resource:

    Create Your Own Job

    What is great about YouTube is you can find creative videos. There is a short advertisement message at the end of most of them . . . however, videos like this one have an important message for people who are thinking about changing jobs, recreating themselves, and starting over in their career.

    Changing Jobs – Be Sure You Have the Right Skills

    It’s important to look at how things have changed since you last made a career move, and decide whether you’ve kept up with the changes around you. Are you lacking some important skills? I recommend assessing your skills inventory and deciding whether you need to get some training in some of the following areas:
    1. Computer use
    2. Networking
    3. Interview performance
    4. Job Hunting
    5. Communication
    6. Analytical research
    7. Adaptability
    8. Diversity awareness
    9. Leadership
    10. Planning/goal setting
    11. Problem solving
    12. Teamwork
    13. Multi-tasking
    14. People skills
    15. Self-reliance

     Remember that these are all important skills that employers are going to be looking for in prospective employees. Remember to highlight your abilities in each of these areas when writing your résumé.

    Bankruptcy Filing Changes That Could Affect You

    by Diane Hamilton, Ph.D

    It isn’t much of a surprise that when the economy suffers a downturn, the number of people filing bankruptcy increases. bankruptcy laws that may make it harder to file than it used to be. As changes are implemented, it is important to know what your options are if you are considering filing. 

    Changes to the Laws in 2005
    In 2005, the new bankruptcy laws made changes to filing Chapter 7 (liquidation) and Chapter 13 (repayment). These changes made it harder for higher income filers to file for Chapter 7. The filer’s income now had to be measured vs. the median income for others in the filer’s state in order to qualify. Those who hoped to file for bankruptcy also had to pass the “means test”, which examined disposable income. This is the income that is left after paying required debt. Credit counseling also became a requirement. Those considering bankruptcy would need to attend counseling sessions with an approved agency from the United States Trustee’s office.Chapter 7 is about liquidating rather than repayment.  It used to be that filers could choose whether they wanted Chapter 7 or 13. Now, if their income is high, they may not have a choice and will have to file Chapter 13. In order to file Chapter 7, a filer would have to prove (through the above-mentioned means) that he or she falls below a certain low sum of money. For Chapter 7, assets are sold and the proceeds go to the filer’s creditors. (To learn more, read What Are The Differences Between Chapter 7 And Chapter 11 Bankruptcies?)

    Chapter 13 is about repayment. All income goes into paying off debt. If available income is greater than that of the median in the filer’s home state, the filer’s allowable expenses will be determined by the IRS. This amount must come out of the filer’s income during the six-month period before filing.

    Once a person has filed for bankruptcy, only debt that was applied for will be forgiven. Remember that bankruptcy does not eliminate student loans or taxes due. And a bankruptcy is not an easy way to get rid of debt – it will stay on a credit report for 10 years and make borrowing very difficult (if not impossible) during this period.

    Many question if they will be able to buy a home after a bankruptcy. They will be eligible for a mortgage two years after the bankruptcy has been discharged. They will probably find that once they are able to establish credit again, the rate they will be paying may be higher than they would have paid had they not filed for bankruptcy.  This is because they are now a higher risk to the lender. (To avoid the perils of bankruptcy, see 9 Ways To Go Bankrupt.)

    Obama and the Bankruptcy Act of 2009
    The Bankruptcy Act of 2009 was designed to make changes to the original Act of 2005. Because it became more difficult to file under the 2005 act, this new act was designed to make it easier. In August of 2009, John Rao (attorney for the National Consumer Law Center) testified before the United States Senate, questioning the role of the bankruptcy courts. Rao noted that there have been efforts to help borrowers with loan modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) announced in the spring of 2009 by the Obama administration. However, not all who have requested loan modification have been successful in obtaining it. That is where loosening bankruptcy restrictions could help.

    A new term you may be hearing throughout all of this is “cram down.” Part of filing Chapter 13 is that you can lower the amount you owe, or “cram down” debt. The bill proposed by Obama was referred to as the “cram down” bill. This bill was designed to help reduce interest rates and mortgage balances. It could have increased the number of Chapter 13 filings. However, the senate shot down this legislation. It needed 60 votes to have it pass and only received 45.

    There may be many questions someone still has after filing bankruptcy. If you owned a home before filing Chapter 7, your home may be exempt, which means you will get to keep it. If you filed Chapter 13, you also get to keep your assets because you have paid off your debt. Although the bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years, you can still begin to re-establish credit in the meantime.

    Often, people are concerned about who will find out about their bankruptcy. Your employer and your landlord will not be notified. You can technically file for bankruptcy every eight years under Chapter 7. Under Chapter 13, you can file as many times as is necessary as long as you have paid at least 70% of your unsecured debt under your last Chapter 13 filing. (For more, check out Bankruptcy Protection For Your Accounts.)

    As noted previously, taxes are not wiped out from filing bankruptcy. However, under Chapter 13, you will not have to pay interest or penalties. Under Chapter 7 some taxes may be discharged. A good bankruptcy attorney could help you distinguish between those that may qualify and those that do not.

    The following are some of the common myths involved in bankruptcy:

    • You will lose everything you own.
      Each state has different laws, but certain assets are protected such as your home, car (depending on value), retirement money and certain clothing and personal items.
    • You will never get credit again.
      Although getting a home or a car may be difficult for a while, there will be lenders who will offer you credit (usually at a higher rate than before your bankruptcy).
    • You will get rid of back taxes.
      Usually you cannot get rid of taxes. However, you might want to check out something called tax bankruptcy if you have taxes that are more than three years overdue.
    • You can use bankruptcy as an excuse to max out your credit cards.
      It is considered fraud to do this before you file.

    The Bottom Line
    Even though it has become harder to file bankruptcy since the 2005 act, when the economy is down more people continue to file. Bills such as the “cram down” bill have been shot down by the Senate. However, creditors are actually being hurt by the 2005 act, due to record default rates. (For more, see What You Need To Know About Bankruptcy.)

    Interview Questions: Job Interview Questions and Answers is an excellent resource for good answers to some of the hardest job interview questions . . . I recommend checking out their site for great interview answers like these . . .

    • Name of company, position title and description, dates of employment. – Best Answers
    • What were your expectations for the job and to what extent were they met? – Best Answers
    • What were your starting and final levels of compensation? – Best Answers
    • What were your responsibilities? – Best Answers
    • What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them? – Best Answers
    • What did you like or dislike about your previous job? – Best Answers
    • Which was most / least rewarding? – Best Answers
    • What was the biggest accomplishment / failure in this position? – Best Answers
    • Questions about your supervisors and co-workers. – Best Answers
    • What was it like working for your supervisor? – Best Answers
    • What do you expect from a supervisor? – Best Answers
    • Who was your best boss and who was the worst? – Best Answers
    • Why are you leaving your job? – Best Answers
    • What have you been doing since your last job? – Best Answers
    • Why were you fired? – Best Answers

    Job Interview Questions About You

    • What is your greatest weakness? – Best Answers
    • What is your greatest strength? – Best Answers
    • Describe a typical work week. – Best Answers
    • Do you take work home with you? – Best Answers
    • How many hours do you normally work? – Best Answers
    • How would you describe the pace at which you work? – Best Answers
    • How do you handle stress and pressure? – Best Answers
    • What motivates you? – Best Answers
    • What are your salary expectations? – Best Answers
    • What do you find are the most difficult decisions to make? – Best Answers
    • Tell me about yourself. – Best Answers
    • What has been the greatest disappointment in your life? – Best Answers
    • What are you passionate about? – Best Answers
    • What are your pet peeves? – Best Answers
    • What do people most often criticize about you? – Best Answers
    • When was the last time you were angry? What happened? – Best Answers
    • If you could relive the last 10 years of your life, what would you do differently? – Best Answers
    • If the people who know you were asked why you should be hired, what would they say? Best Answers
    • Do you prefer to work independently or on a team? – Best Answers
    • Give some examples of teamwork. – Best Answers
    • What type of work environment do you prefer? – Best Answers
    • How do you evaluate success? – Best Answers
    • If you know your boss is 100% wrong about something how would you handle it? – Best Answers
    • Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it. – Best Answers
    • Describe a time when your workload was heavy and how you handled it. – Best Answers
    • More job interview questions about your abilities. – Best Answers
    • More job interview questions about you. – Best Answers

    Job Interview Questions About the New Job and the Company

    20 Signs You Are Ready for a Job or Career Change

    Many people stay in jobs that dislike or are not a good fit for them for fear of change.  You may be experiencing some warning signs that are trying to tell you that you may need to rethink your career choices. For more information about this and other career-related topics, check out my book How to Reinvent Your Career, click here.

    For now  … Ask yourself if any of these sound familiar . . . if they do, you may be ready for a change:

    1.               You dread Mondays

    2.               You’re tired of your routine

    3.               Everything is a countdown until your vacation

    4.               You need a pep talk to go to work

    5.               Other people ask you why you keep doing  the job you have if you hate it

    6.               You feel you’re missing out on family time

    7.               You’ve been passed over more than once for a promotion

    8.               You’re not the same person you were when you took the job, due to a major life change

    9.               Your industry is suffering

    10.             Your health is suffering from stress

    11.             You’re not making the money you need to survive

    12.             Your job lacks security

    13.             You’ve always wanted to work for yourself

    14.             The future of your job position or industry is not positive

    15.             You lack passion for what you’re doing

    16.             There’s an opportunity that didn’t exist in the past that interests you

    17.             Your current job is boring

    18.             You have a new manager and they’re not what you’d hoped they would be

    19.             Your benefits have been cut

    20.             You feel unappreciated

    Work at Home – Advice from Dani Babb

    Dr. Danielle Babb (The Babb Group) has some great information she shares about working online. She was on my doctoral committee and was wonderful. I read all of her books. Here is an interview where she gives some advice for working at home (good for stay at home moms) in the online environment.

    Compare Your Rental Rate

    Paying too much for rent?
    Charging too little?

    Rentometer is the easy way to compare your rent with other local properties.

    Everyone wants to save money in this tough economy.   I think this site has an interesting tool that lets you know how much rental rates are in certain areas. If you are looking to rent a place or looking to have your own place rented, you should check it out.

    Do You Need Help Finding a Job or Reinventing Your Career?

    In my book How To Reinvent Your Career, I list some great sources for information.  Here are just a few of them:  
    Area Where I Need Help Solutions
    I need help with computer skills.
    I need help with grammar and spelling.
    I want to take understand personality assessment that gives a basic idea of personality type., Myers–Briggs(free site, but not as accurate as the actual Myers–Briggs test)Read my daughter’s (Toni Rothpletz) and my book The Young Adult’s Guide to Understanding Personality. and have a personality quiz








    I need help getting connected to people to start networking.

    I need help finding jobs, learning to write résumés, and general career advice. the book What Color is Your Parachute, by Richard Bolles

    Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics

    Talk to your school counselor

    I need help paying for education.

    Read my book The Online Student’s User Manual, which is also helpful for all online student questions other than financial.

    I need help with diet and exercise information.
    I need help with optimism and happiness. Read The Art of Happiness,by the Dalai LamaRead The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
    I am getting older and need career advice for my age group.
    I need help to avoid work-at-home scams. Read my
    I need some other suggested reading to help me reinvent myself. Read Career Renegade, byJonathan FieldsRead Reinventing Yourself, bySteve Chandler
    I need help with information about expected salaries. salary toolNew York Times Salary

    I need help keeping track of my job search progress.
    I need help researching companies for interviews.
    I need help finding out about good places to work.



    Need a Loan? Find Out What The Loan Officer is Thinking

    Lending From A Loan Officer’s Perspective

    by Diane Hamilton, Ph.D

    It is awfully nice of lenders to be offering free loans. At least, that’s what it sounds like they’re doing. Think of all of the radio and television ads you have heard where the lender claims to be offering loans with no out-of-pocket costs. Have you ever wondered how they can do this? If they are not charging you, the money has to come from somewhere. It helps to clear things up when you understand how a loan officer makes their money. 

    Pay Now or Pay Later
    Loan officers get paid in a way that they call “on the front” and/or “on the back.” If a loan officer makes money on the front, that means they are charging for things that you can see. This money is either out-of-pocket or is incorporated into the loan when you sign the papers. These are things like processing fees and other miscellaneous charges that are charged for processing your loan. If a loan officer makes money on the back, that means money is being received from the bank as a sort of commission for filing the loan. This is the money you do not see. (To learn more about loan expenses, read our related article How To Read Loan And Credit Card Agreements.)

    When lenders claim to be giving you a “no out-of-pocket” or “no-fee” loan, they are still making money, but they are charging it on “the back.” Although the bank is paying the loan officer this money now, it is really coming from you the borrower in the form of a higher interest rate. Lenders that are not charging fees on the front can be charging a higher rate to make up for lost fees. In fact, the bank could be making a lot more money this way as they are getting a higher rate of interest for possibly 30 years or more. (Learn how interest rates affect change in the housing market, and how you can keep up, in How Will Your Mortgage Rate?)Comparing Loans
    How do you compare loans to be sure which deal is the best for you? You need to understand something called the annual percentage rate (APR). When you apply for a loan, the loan officer must give you a good faith estimate. On that estimate, you can find the APR. The APR shows the entire cost of the loan to you on a yearly basis. It factors in what the fees cost as well as the interest rate. By comparing good faith estimates and their APRs, you can get a better idea of what they are charging you.

    So is that loan really free? As they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch. You might not be paying money out-of-pocket right now, but either you pay now or your pay later. Many times it is a better deal to pay the fees now to get a lower rate instead of paying a higher rate over 30 years.

    What the Loan Officer is Thinking
    Remember, loan officers are sales people; they get paid by selling you something. In this case, they are selling you the loan. If they are telling you it is a good time to refinance, you need to figure out how much that loan is going to cost you. To do this, you must consider how many out-of-pocket fees you will be paying, if the loan interest rate is less and if you’ll be in the loan long enough to recoup these expenses. If you are getting a lower interest rate and not paying fees, it could be a better deal than what you have now. In that case, the no-fee loan could be a good idea. (Read The True Economics Of Refinancing A Mortgage to learn more about this concept.)

    Be careful of the loan officer who wants to keep selling you adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) after ARM after ARM for the same property. ARMs are a good loan choice for certain people, especially those who know they won’t be in their home or loan for very long. If you are planning to stay in your home a long time, an ARM may not be a very good choice. Loan officers receive money for every loan they make. Therefore, it behooves them to make as many loans as possible. One way to do this is to get people into ARMs that need to be refinanced often. (To learn more about the dangers of adjustable rate mortgages, read This ARM Has Teeth.)

    Broker or Bank?
    Not everyone agrees on this. Having worked for both, I can tell you that there are good and bad brokers, and bankers. The advantage of using a broker is that they can shop around at the different banks for the lowest rates. The advantage of using a bank directly is that they don’t have to pay the broker. If the broker can find a lower rate, charge the broker fee, and still offer the lowest total rate, then that may be your best choice. You will have to do your homework and compare good faith estimates to be sure. Remember, the loan officer decides how much money they want to make to some extent; they may have some negotiating room. Don’t always expect that brokers are giving you the best rate that they can. They may not be telling you the lowest rate they can offer because by offering the rate they quoted, they may be getting more commission on the back. (Read Score A Cheap Mortgage to learn more about getting the best rate.)

    Do Your Homework
    Though many loans given by loan officers/banks during the subprime meltdown of 2007/08 ended in foreclosure, you don’t need to be that concerned, not if you do your homework. One of the biggest problems came with letting the lending requirements get too lax. Banks were granting loans to people that they used to deny. Something called the stated loan became more common. People were able to “state” how much money they made instead of having to prove it. Many people stated more than they actually made. Also, underwriters were under pressure to approve loans that may not have made sense because they were in competition with other banks that were approving these loans. Remember, it is all sales in the end.

    How do you protect yourself? Do your homework. Shop around. Do not accept the first good faith estimate. Get several estimates. Compare the APR on each one. Go to both brokers and bankers to see what they offer. Be wary of the loan officer that doesn’t ask you how long you will be living in your home. If they don’t ask you questions, they don’t know which loan fits you the best. If you are planning to only be in your home a short time, you might consider an ARM. If you are going to be there for a long time, consider a 30-year loan. Even better, if the day comes and you can afford it, pay extra each month on your 30-year loan and pay it off in 15 years!

    by Diane Hamilton, Ph.D

    That Special Book in My Life

    I like non-fiction so that is not the kind of thing many people read over and over. Although I am reading one right now I like a lot that I keep referring to for tidbids . . . Career Renegade by Jonathan Fields.

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    Employee Benefits: How To Know What To Choose

    We’ve all been there. It’s the first day of your new job, and someone hands you a stack of forms to fill out. You need to make all kinds of important insurance and benefit choices right now, so how in the world do you know which choices to make? Here we look at some of the most common benefit options and provide you with the background information you need to make immediate decisions regarding your employment benefits – and make changes to them down the road. 

    The Big Choice
    The IRS allows you to contribute up to a set maximum, which changes from year to year, to your 401(k). Many experts agree that it is best to take out as much as you can afford right away instead of going back and trying to do it later once you are used to having the money. Try to sign up for the highest percentage contribution option you are allowed. You’ll be glad you did later.Usually, you will have to decide which funds you want the money to be put into. Remember, you can go back and change this later if you decide on a different strategy. If you really do not understand mutual funds and the choices offered, check to see if there is a fund based on your life stage or age.

    One example of this is target-date funds (also known as life-cycle funds). These are mutual funds that adjust risk as you age and require little on your part in terms of adjustments. If you are younger, you can handle more risk because over time the market will balance out in your favor. (To learn more, read Life-Cycle Funds: Can It Get Any Simpler?)

    You will probably have the choice of money market funds, as well stock and bond mutual funds. If you don’t have a life stage mutual fund choice, remember a younger person would probably do well to be in a more stock-based fund as compared to a money market or bond mutual fund, which would be better for those nearing retirement. (Mutual funds can be a great vehicle for investing beginners. To learn more, read our Mutual Funds Tutorial.)

    The Taxes
    Many companies handle taking taxes out of your paycheck for you. They know how much to take out based on your filling out an IRS W-4 form. On this form, you will need to fill in your name, address, Social Security number and how many allowances you want to claim. You are considered one allowance. If you are married, then you can add another allowance; if you have kids they count as allowances, etc. The more allowances you put down, the less your employer will take out of your check. (To learn more about this process, see Payroll Deductions Pay Off.)

    Health Insurance Choices
    You may have to choose between a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and a Preferred Provider Option (PPO) for medical insurance. An HMO allows you to go to doctors that are contracted with a specific insurance company. If you have a specific doctor you really like to use, ask to see the list of doctors on that plan, or go to the HMO website to find a list of its providers. (For more insight, see How To Choose A Healthcare Plan.)

    HMOs can cost less, but you may have to be flexible about which doctor you see. A PPO is not quite as strictly organized as an HMO. The doctors still have relationships with the insurance company, but you can see a doctor that may not be on the PPO’s list and still get partially-covered services. You may have to accept more out-of-pocket expenses to do so, but there are fewer restrictions.

    When deciding on whether to accept a dental plan, think about your past history with required dental work. If you very rarely have dental issues, it may be more expensive to have the insurance than to just pay for your dental work out of pocket. The same is true with a vision plan. Look at what the services cover and figure out how much you think you would use them.

    Life and Disability Insurance
    Life insurance is meant to reimburse the beneficiary for lost wages and income. If you are single and not supporting anyone else, you may not require life insurance. If you have a family to support, you need to think about how much they would need to survive in the event of your death. Disability insurance, on the other hand, may be more important for you personally regardless of marital status. If you were to become disabled, you would receive a payout in place of income.

    Pretax Medical and Childcare
    By paying medical care or childcare through pretax dollars, you can reduce how much money can be withheld in terms of income taxes and Social Security. If you know that you are going to use a certain amount of money each year toward medical care or childcare, this can be a great way to lessen your tax bill. (Read 10 Most Overlooked Tax Deductions for more on this, and other ways to save money on your tax bill.)

    Benefits and More Benefits
    You may be wondering how your company benefits compare to those that other companies offer. Benefits can vary widely from company to company. The most common ones are listed above. You might also have elder care benefits, employee discounts, wellness benefits, counseling programs, pension plans, flexible time benefits or many others. If you are offered a benefit that you do not understand, companies usually have websites set up to explain what they offer. Be sure to check how soon your benefits become effective. Something like medical insurance or 401(k) benefits may not start immediately.

    Remember that if you quit your job, you will need to look into continuing health coverage. A consolidated omnibus budget reconciliation act (COBRA) health plan allows you to continue health insurance after leaving your job. It is important that you file right away for coverage as there is a time limit requirement. Also, COBRA is a temporary solution that generally only covers you up to 18 months after you leave. (To learn more about post employment insurance, read Find Secure And Affordable Post-Work Health Insurance.)

    Making Changes
    Remember that many companies allow you to change your choices periodically. Often, your 401(k) may be changed on a fairly regular basis, but the medical and life insurance choices may be set up so that you can only change them once or year. It is important to check with your benefits administrator if you think you need to make some changes. Remember that making inappropriate choices can be a costly mistake, especially with your 401(k). Also, it is important to revisit your benefit choices on occasion as your life circumstances change.

    The Bottom Line
    Many people make mistakes and choose inappropriate choices when filling out their benefits forms. Fortunately, you can still go back and make changes down the road. Younger employees may not require nearly as many insurance choices as an older employee. Younger employees also have a great opportunity to have a substantial retirement nest egg. The employee in his or her mid-20s who puts away between $3,000-$4,000 a year could have more than $1 million upon retirement. The key to doing the right thing is to start young, take out as much as you can before you notice it is missing and keep an eye on your choices to be sure you are adjusting them as your conditions change.

    by Diane Hamilton, Ph.D

    I have a lot of people contacting me about starting new jobs due to losing their previous job. If you have not had to pick your employee benefits in a while, this article I wrote for Investopedia may be helpful.

    Social Networking: What To Do And Not To Do

    Great graphic from David Steel of The Steel Method:
    Do's and Don'ts of Social Media for Business
    Via: The Steel Method

    Hi Diane. I am stopping by to say hello….

    Hi Diane. I am stopping by to say hello. I like your site and the fact that you are sharing so much useful information.

    How RSS Works

    This is a great video to share with your friends and family that want a simple explanation of how RSS works. By the way, to add my RSS feed to your reader, click on the RSS orange link to the right. Thanks!

    Paying For College With College Scholarships and Student Loans | Online University Colleges

    Wed, Jul 14, 2010

    Paying For College With College Scholarships and Student Loans

    It is getting harder to pay for a college education these days, but it is by no means impossible. Getting college scholarships is still the best way to go, and there are plenty of them still around – even though money may be getting tighter. Here are some tips about how to get money to pay for your college education with college scholarships and student loans.


    The best way to go to college is to go free. College scholarships can enable a student to go to college without cost – if there are enough of them. In order to get as many as is needed to go without cost, you will need to apply to as many scholarships as possible. Of course, you want to only apply for those college scholarships that you have a good possibility of actually winning.

    Finding the right college scholarships to apply to will require some work – and possibly some imagination, too. There are college scholarships for just about everything you can think of these days – and possibly some that are almost out of reach of the imagination, too. You can find them for academics, sports, hobbies, uniqueness – like a special last name or for left-handers, etc., your locale, and some that are just plain weird – like the duct tape prom college scholarship.

    In order for you to learn about what college scholarships are available, you will need to do some homework. This includes researching them online, in the library, letting scholarship groups help you (be careful of these – some are scams), talking to your school counselors, and more. You can also look at the Web sites of the colleges that you are interested in, and they will show you what college scholarships are available there.


    Many companies also offer college scholarships, too. They do this because they want to have a qualified and trained pool of potential employees available when they need them. They usually look for exceptionally bright prospects that can bring much to the table if they should hire them.

    Getting a college scholarship or an internship with a great company can lead to a great job right out of college. Sometimes, you may even be able to find your needed college scholarship simply by looking at the various companies you would dream of working for after you get your college degree. Look at their Web sites for more information.


    Because college scholarships may not cover your entire school bill, you may also need some college financing. Direct loans are available from the government, which will also give you the lowest interest rate possible on education loans.

    Direct student loans, which includes the Stafford loans and the PLUS loans, accumulate no interest while you are in school (because the government pays for it while you are in college), or drop to less than half-time. You will not need to make any payments on the loan until you have been out of school for 6 months.

    Graduate students and families of college students have access to PLUS loans for education and they also have the same terms as the Stafford loans – but a little higher interest rate. All government loans can be consolidated after graduation for easy payments.


    If you want to get the most out of college scholarships and student loans, then you will need to get started early. In fact, you should get started earlier than was necessary in previous years. With less money going around and with some college scholarships going on a first-come, first-served basis – you have no time to lose.

    Finding the right college scholarships takes a considerable amount of time, and so does filling out scholarship applications and writing scholarship essays. In addition, in order to get a Direct loan, you will need to have filled out the FAFSA form, which is required for all government student loans.


    College scholarship applications require that they be filled out accurately and carefully. A little carelessness (or haste) in answering a question or two could needlessly cost you a college scholarship. This could mean that you may need to take much longer to pay off a college loan – when you didn’t have to.

    Writing a quality college scholarship essay that will win a scholarship requires that you understand what the group offering it is looking for. Make yourself look like the person that they would like to represent and promote their company, college, etc., and you could walk away with the free college education you want. Be honest, though, in what you write – and you’ll be glad you did.

    Stay on top of everything related to student financial aid on FinancialAidFinder. The free website, from Mark B. Allen, includes a weekly summary of college scholarships and blog posts explaining how to complete scholarship applications, utilize student loans, apply for grants, and much more.

    I like the above article, but I’d like to add some more information that is from my book The Online Student’s User Manual:

    Just because you want to go back to school doesn’t necessarily mean you have the money sitting around to pay for it. Many students are looking for ways to finance their education, and options include student loans, company reimbursement, grants and scholar-ships. There are some job areas where they need people so badly that there may be opportunities where the government forgives your loan. Some of the areas where there are currently shortages include nursing, teaching, law and the military. For more information on loan forgiveness, check out the following web site: For public service loan forgiveness programs,
    check out:

    Some fields allow volunteering your time to count toward loan relief. For example, check out the Ameri-Corps at, the Peace Corps at and Volunteers in Ser-
    vice to American (VISTA) at:

    Student loan areas to check out include the Stafford loan program. “Stafford loans are federal student loans made available to college and university students to supplement personal and family resources, scholarships, grants, and work-study. Nearly all students are eligible to receive Stafford loans regardless of credit. Stafford loans may be subsidized by the U.S. Gov-ernment or unsubsidized depending on the student’s need.” (, 2010).

    Another program is the Pell Grant. “The Federal Pell Grant program is a federal aid program that pro-vides financial assistance to students otherwise unable to afford an undergraduate education. Your school can either credit the Pell Grant funds to your school account, pay you directly (usually by check), or combine these methods. The school must tell you in writing how and when you’ll be paid, and how much your award will be. Schools must pay you at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter). Schools that do not use formally defined, traditional terms must pay you at least twice per academic year” (, 2010).

    There are other ways to help pay for your online education on your own. According to (2010) you should speak to your financial advisor about the possibility of using:

    1. Personal savings
    2. Credit cards
    3. Funds borrowed from your 401k or Retirement Plan
    4. Funds borrowed against a life insurance policy
    5. A line of credit or HELOC (home equity line of credit)
    6. A family loan or gift
    7. Loans from the traditional lending agencies such as Sallie Mae at or Tuition Man-agement Systems at or FACTS Management Company at

    The most important first step is to talk to your school’s financial advisors to find out what options are available to you. For more information about completing the ap-plication for federal student financial aid, be sure to check out If you are not fa-miliar with FASFA, “Today, Federal Student Aid performs a range of critical functions that include, among others:

    • Educating students and families on the process of obtaining aid;
    • Processing millions of student financial aid applications each year;
    • Disbursing billions of dollars in aid funds to students through schools;
    • Enforcing financial aid rules and regulations;
    • Servicing millions of student loan accounts, and securing repayment from borrowers who have defaulted on their loans; and
    • Operating information technology systems and tools that manage billions in student aid dollars” (, 2010).

    Do not get discouraged, because there are many loans and finance programs out there. “During the 2006–07 academic year, more than $130 billion in financial aid was distributed to undergraduate and graduate students in the form of grants from all sources and federal loans, work-study, and tax credits and deductions. In addition, these students borrowed more than $18 billion from state and private sources to help finance their education” (, 2010). I recommend that you download the most recent Trends in Student Aid report from <a href=”…>

    Overheard at My Own Funeral

    What do we do now? I don’t know . . . she usually takes care of everything.

    Powered by Plinky

    I’m having fun playing around with xtra…

    I’m having fun playing around with xtranormal . . . How did I miss this?

    My Favorite Quote of All Time

    My father wrote this quote in one of his books:

    “We extract from life just what we give it … so with each mistake replace the divot.”

    – Ross Hamilton (For Humans Only, 1951)


    7 Benefits of Online Education | Geo Blog

    7 Benefits of Online Education

    1. Accessibility

    Traditionally, if a student wanted a college education they had to relocate or commute to campus, reduce hours at work, or even postpone careers entirely. But not anymore. Online education offers the same quality education, the same courses, and the same degrees as traditional education but in a more convenient setting. With online education, you can get a college education on your schedule. All you need is a computer and an internet connection and you can go to college in the comfort of your own home.

    2. Flexibility

    In addition to being more accessible, online education is also more flexible than traditional education, especially for students who work. With online education, you can cater your courses, homework, and school correspondence around your work or family schedule. Study when you want and where you want. The flexibility of an online education allows you the ability to maintain your priorities and your income while still earning a college degree.

    3. Work-Ability

    Many people fear that starting or finishing their college education will interfere with their existing careers. Traditionally, going to college meant going to school full-time during the day, which made it difficult to work. Not so with online education. By going to school online, you can keep your current job and continue earning the money you need. Online programs allow you to take courses at your own pace, which in turn allows you the flexibility to work full-time or part-time while still maintaining a balance among work, school, and your social life.

    4. Applicability

    One of the oft-overlooked advantages of working while going to school is the potential applicability that studies may have on your job. In other words, it’s one thing to go to class and learn about something in theory, and it’s another to take that theory and put it into practice. Students who work can apply their newly acquired knowledge immediately to their jobs; they can also focus their studies on the kinds of real-world problems that professionals face daily in the workplace.

    5. Speed

    The accessibility and flexibility of online education makes it possible to shave months, even years off your graduation date. Motivated students can earn prestigious degrees online in half the time it would have taken in a traditional classroom setting.

    6. Variety

    One of the great myths regarding online education is that there aren’t enough degrees to choose from. Not true – at least, not anymore. Colleges and universities are now offering scores of degrees in a variety of different areas including business, criminal justice, education, engineering, health care, hospitality, law, liberal arts, science, and web design, to name but a few. Furthermore, within these areas you can obtain associate degrees, bachelors degrees, masters degrees, and other professional degrees in addition to a gamut of certificates and diplomas.

    7. Cost

    Finally, one of the most dramatic advantages of online education is the cost. Typically, the tuition of online programs is already less expensive than traditional programs. When you add in the potential savings associated with housing, transportation, books, and lost wages, the difference is enormous. Furthermore, if students continue to work while taking classes online, the need for student loans decreases, which greatly eases the financial strain of college after graduation.

    Whether you experience college in a brick-and-mortar classroom or a virtual one, your education will be one of the most important investments you will make in your life. So as you prepare for this important decision, make sure you consider all the options, including the unique possibilities offered by online education. Whatever you choose, you are certain to have a genuine “college experience”, including more than a few all-nighters cramming for that chemistry test.

    People often ask me what the differences are between online learning and the traditional classroom, I think this article gives a pretty good idea of the advantages of online education. I address a lot of this in my book The Online Student User’s Manual.

    Study: Many workers’ retirement savings will run out too soon –

    A third of middle-income workers will likely run out of money after 20 years of retirement, and significantly more lower-income workers will deplete their savings after 10 years, according to a study released Tuesday.

    The Employee Benefit Research Institute, a non-partisan research group based in Washington, said its retirement-readiness study found that living longer, saving too little and inadequate planning for health care costs will leave many retirees short of money to pay basic living expenses.

    The study finds that 64% of workers earning less than $30,000 a year will run out of money within 10 years of retiring. About a third of workers making $30,000 to $70,000 will run out of money after 20 years of retirement. One in 10 workers making more than $70,000 won’t have enough money.

    “Early” Baby Boomers, meaning people 56 to 62, have a 47% chance of not having enough money to pay basic retirement costs and uninsured medical expenses, the study concluded. “Late” Boomers ages 46 to 55, as well as Generation X workers 29 to 45, have about a 45% chance of running short.

    Many people will find they will have to work past the age of 65 if they don’t do something about it now. If you are looking for some helpful articles on personal finance, I am a contributing writer for Investopedia. They have some great resources. I recommend that you check out their site by clicking here to see some past articles.

    D. Ralph Millard . . . Plastic Surgeon

    I just noticed my cousin D. Ralph Millard is on Wikipedia. He was nominated as one of only 10 “Plastic Surgeons of the Millenium” . . . Amazing man . . . check him out:

    Reid Hoffman and Biz Stone talk “Twitter #in”

    via –  click here to play video

    Find out how you can use Twitter and Linkedin together from Reid Hoffman and Biz Stone . . .

    Great Advice . . . Enjoy the Moment

    I used to have a teacher when I was in junior high school that would hear us say things like, “I wish summer would be here . . . or I wish Christmas would hurry up . . .” and he would say, “stop wishing your life away” . . . I have had a lot of people say some memorable things to me, but this one stands out as some of the best advice I’ve received. . . Enjoy the moment.


    Howstuffworks “Stuff You Should Know Podcast”

    ­­Why can’t robots get married? Are exorcisms real? Listen in as­ Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant take a look at astonishing facts from across the globe in this podcast. They’re world travelers, too — take a look at the image gallery of their trip to Guatemala. Don’t forget to check out their Stuff You Should Know blog while you’re here.

    I am a huge fan of Josh and Chuck’s “Stuff You Should Know Podcast” . . . You can find them on Itunes or click on the links above to find out more about them. I often refer to many of their podcasts in my courses I teach. These guys are entertaining and educational at the same time. Check them out!

    How Unemployment Affects You (Even If You’re Working)

    The impact of unemployment has far-reaching consequences. Even those who don’t suffer layoffs in an office may find that their jobs (as well as their personal lives) have been negatively impacted. And for those who have lost their jobs, hopes for a timely retirement may be dramatically altered. 

    Employees Work Harder but Earn Less
    Labor Department statistics show that Americans are producing more goods than in previous years, but are being paid less for their work. When coworkers are laid off, those that remain must pick up the slack, meaning longer hours, harder work and less pay. Although corporations may show some profits during these times, it often comes from employee cuts or reduced wages for those who remain.Fear of job loss may leave employees feeling like they are at the mercy of their employers. For some companies, the hardest working employees may be the only ones around when the dust settles. While this may be a way to weed out the less productive workers, many of these productive workers may be facing burnout, as well. (To help avoid burnout, see our article Top 10 Ways To Avoid Burnout In Corporate Finance.)

    It can be difficult to find motivation when there are no incentives (bonuses and raises). However, the fear of not having income may force employees to step up to the plate and work harder than ever before.

    Impact on Retirement Savings
    Personal savings accounts can be one of the first things impacted by loss of a job. That’s why it is important for those who are fortunate enough to have a job in good times to take advantage of the automatic enrollment of their retirement plan. According to a survey from The Hartford in 2009, 32% of respondents were likely to postpone putting money into their retirement plan and 24% felt they were going to have to retire later. (Find out more about planning to achieve your retirement goals in Five Retirement Questions Everyone Must Answer.)

    What To Do if Laid Off
    When you find yourself laid off, it’s time to network. There are plenty of online networking sites that can help you get back on your feet. Just remember – any connection can lead to employment.

    One of the major issues people are facing when they get laid off is what to do about health insurance. Remember that there are plans like COBRA that can continue passed your employment.

    Who Does Not Get Hurt During Hard Times
    Not everyone gets hurt by a recession or downturn in the economy. Trends in employment statistics show that women may pass men in terms of numbers in the work force. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of November 2008, women held 49.1% of jobs. Although there are more women entering the work force, they are still working fewer hours than men, and make only 80 cents for each dollar that men earn, according to the government report.

    In times of recession, not all companies cut jobs – and some even thrive. Historically, dentists have done well in hard times, due to fact that people who have skipped taking care of their teeth find themselves having to play catch up. A survey by San Diego’s AMN healthcare in 2009 showed that during a recession, many nurses went back to work to fill the financial void from a family member’s lost wages. In the survey, 58% of those who responded said they were working more hours compared to the previous year.

    Filing for Unemployment Insurance
    How do you know if you qualify for unemployment insurance? The first place to start is your state’s Department of Labor website, in order to answer a few qualifying questions. There is usually a waiting time before benefits take effect, and even then, the total amount you receive will not equal the amount you’d make while working. So, plan accordingly.(Preparation for unemployment can help you land on your feet should the day come, check out our article Planning For Unemployment for more.)

    When unemployment is high, people who have jobs may be more stressed and overworked than ever. Those that have lost jobs may be feeling depressed and anxious. Though recessions end, and unemployment rates will fluctuate, it takes more than high hopes to land on your feet after a stint of unemployment. Plan ahead and use the money you have wisely, and you should be back in the office in no time.

    For related reading, take a look at Are Layoff Protection Plans A Good Deal Or A Gimmick?

    by Diane Hamilton, Ph.D

    Diane Hamilton’s formal education includes a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Arts and a Doctorate degree in Business Management. She has an Arizona real estate license as well as certifications in the areas of medical representative, Myers-Briggs and emotional intelligence. With more than 25 years of business and management-related experience, her background includes working in many industries, including computers, software, pharmaceuticals, corporate training, mortgage/lending and real estate. She currently teaches business-related subjects for six online universities and is in the process of writing a book on personal finance for young adults. She can be reached through

    My Favorite Mistake

    It’s interesting because I write about mistakes in my book about reinventing your career . . . some of the things that I looked at as mistakes at the time, have turned out for the best in the long term. I don’t have many regrets.


    Top Questions New Online Students Ask

    I need your help! I am developing some videos for YouTube where I will be answering some of my student’s questions.  I would like to hear from those who have questions that you would like answered about online college courses.  Many of my students have questions about participation, time requirements, how discussion questions work, how to stay on track, how online degrees compare to traditional degrees, etc.  Please email me by clicking here and  I will send you back a response and your questions may show up on YouTube!

    5 Top Social Networking Tips: How to Promote Yourself to the World

    Are you trying to become well-known, sell your book, become famous like those on American Idol or America’s Got Talent, or promote any other thing that you are working on right now?  The key to success is social networking.  With the sluggish economy, a lot of people are out of work and are looking for a job.  Many are starting their own home-based or internet-based businesses.  If you are trying to get recognized or noticed, there are some major things you need to be aware of.

    • Did you know that Lady Gaga has over 11 million Facebook fans? Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin, Twitter, WordPress, Posterous, YouTube and many more networking sites are one of the first things you must be familiar with if you want to get people to recognize your product, service or you.  If you’re not regularly posting on most of these major sites, you need to be.
    • Did you know that Youtube and video-marketing is the place to be right now?  People are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube.  You need to be sure you are not only making yourself visible on YouTube, but that you are focusing your videos and the names of your videos correctly. Be sure your videos are no more than around 3 minutes long.  Also be sure you name your video a name that people will be searching for in order to find you.  You want the name to reflect what your content is, but be sure you pick popular terms for the product you are promoting.  To check out terms that are popular on YouTube, go to: In your video, be sure you send them to your website for more information.  You can capture their email or other information with free offers there. 
    • Did you know that if you get an account on some social networking sites like Posterous, updating your Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and other sites with your postings is as easy as sending an email?  Having a website has never been easier.  I like free sites like WordPress, but I also use Posterous to post updates to all of my sites.
    • Are you overwhelmed with all of the social networking options out there and don’t know where to start?  It can be very time consuming and expensive to learn everything you need to know to become a successful social networker.  There are people out there that can train you or do it for you.  I have tried a few different systems.  I like Kate Buck’s site because you get good information at a reasonable price.  I am interested in hearing if anyone has tried Mike Koenigs’ Traffic Geyser system.  It sounds good but a little pricy for the masses.
    • Have you created your brand or image?  You need to decide what it is that you are offering.  My brand or image is that I am a Professor and Writer that offers help to people who want to Improve Their Lifetime Potential.  That is my tagline as well as what I do.  You need to come up with how you want to present yourself and be sure to consistently represent that image on all of your networking sites. 

    Top 10 Ways in Which Social Media Can Get You Fired!

    According to Proofpoint, an Internet security firm, of companies with 1,000 or more employees, 17 percent report having issues with employees’ use of social media. Furthermore, 8 percent of those companies report having actually dismissed someone for their behavior on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Some other interesting findings from the study:

    • 15 percent have disciplined an employee for violating multimedia sharing / posting policies
    • 13 percent of US companies investigated an exposure event involving mobile or Web-based short message services
    • 17 percent disciplined an employee for violating blog or message board policies

    So, how do you avoid getting fired when using social media? What are the things which will, most probably, get you fired? Here we go with another Thoughtpick fun-fact list with a point:

    I have been doing a lot of research on social networking lately. This article does a nice job of pointing out the things you should be concerned about in your present job. However, remember these rules apply if you are looking for a new job as well. Be careful what you put on your social media sites, it could keep you from getting a job.

    13 Illegal Interview Questions: Do you know what to do?

     Editor Notes: Most Job Seekers have no idea what an Illegal Interview question sounds like. Here is a list of 13 questions that a job interviewer should not be asking you. Remember the purpose of an interview is to get the job. So it is important that you understand how to answer even inappropriate interview questions.
    13 Sample Illegal and Legal Interview via

    In my book How to Reinvent Your Career I write about interview questions you should be prepared to answer. Remember that there are some things that should not be asked in an interview. I think this writer has an interesting take on this situation. . . however, be sure you know that no one can ask you directly about your:

    National origin
    Marital/family status

    For more advice about how to handle these questions, check out an additional article by Monster by clicking here.

    Millenials, Gen X and Baby Boomers: Who…

    Millenials, Gen X and Baby Boomers: Who’s Working at Your Company and What Do They Think About Ethics

    Released June 2010.  Sponsored by:
    Northrop Grumman

    American workers between the ages of 18 and 29 – the “Millennials” – have more in common with older co-workers when it comes to workplace ethics than often thought, but they also hold to some values that set them apart from their Baby Boomer counterparts.  Download Research Brief.

    My daughter, Toni Rothpletz, and I just completed our book It’s Not You It’s Your Personality. In that book, we discuss how the newer generations (we call NewGens) differ in their personality profiles. Check out this interesting research about how different generations feel about ethics.

    Amazon Kindle no threat to college textbooks, professors say

    Amazon Kindle no threat to college textbooks, professors say

    Students find e-reader cheaper but hard to use

    The Amazon Kindle has been a hit with book lovers but is not going over well with students in college classrooms, indicating e-book readers are not yet posing a threat to printed textbooks.

    Many of the schools where I teach utilize e-books now. It’s definitely a greener option. One of them uses Vital Source. I recently looked into the iPad application that lets you download some of the Vital Source information onto the iPad but not the entire text. It is not really useful yet . . .but I have high hopes for future versions. If you haven’t had a chance to read the above article from today’s Arizona Republic about students using Kindle for their textbooks, I recommend it.

    Top 5 Sources of Emotional Intelligence Information


    Emotional Intelligence or EI has received a lot of attention thanks to Dr. Daniel Goleman and others.  There are several definitions of EI, but one of the most basic definitions is:  The ability to understand your own emotions as well as those in others. I have a lot of my doctoral students working on dissertations involving emotional intelligence. 


    I know that there are a lot of books about EI, but I thought I’d share with you some of the ones that I find most helpful.  If you are interested in finding out more about EI, I suggest you check out the following:


    • General Resource of Understanding Emotional Intelligence:  Emotional Intelligence:  10th Anniversary Edition;  Why it Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman  . . . click here.
    • Great Resource to Compare 3 Models of Emotional Intelligence: Emotional Intelligence:  Key Readings on the Mayer and Salovey Model by Peter Salovey, Marc Brackett and John Mayer . . . Click here  – Excellent resource for those doing research on EI that want to compare the basics of Mayer & Salovey, Bar-On and Goleman’s work.  There is a great table on page 88.
    • Important Work by Reuven Bar-On: The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence:  Theory, Development, Assessment, and Application at Home, School and in the Workplace by Rueven Bar-ON and James Parker with a forward by Daniel Goleman. . . Click here.
    • Good Resource for Emotional Intelligence at Work: The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace by Cary Cherniss and Daniel Goleman . . . Click here.
    • Exercises to Increase Emotional Intelligence:  Emotional Intelligence in Action by Marcia Hughes, Bonita Patterson and James Bradford Terrell . . . Click here.  I received my EI certification training through Marcia Hughes’ group. 

    I know I said I would include the top 5  . . .  but for those of you interested in my dissertation:  Examination of the Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence and Sales Performance . . . Click here.


    Distance ed students forming college clubs online –

    Feeling isolated as an online student? Join the club.

    Or rather, join a club. At a handful of institutions, students working toward degrees online are meeting outside of class via the Web. These extracurricular organizations offer online students what many feel they are missing: the social and professional opportunities that historically have been part of the college experience.

    “When you’re on campus, you have opportunities to engage your faculty and your peers,” says Debra Ann Mynar, 39, an online psychology student at Pennsylvania State University‘s World Campus. “When you do distance education, you don’t have those similar opportunities unless you make them.”

    Some online college students may feel like they are all alone out there. This article by USA Today explains that there are some things that online learners can do to connect with other students. I set up chat rooms, in my individual classes that I teach, where students can interact. I see some students who feel at ease starting up a conversation . . . while others are more timid. I have noticed some of the schools are including more ways for students to become more visible to one another by allowing them to post profiles with pictures. Due to the popularity of social networking, there is no reason an online student should feel alone. I like sites I have seen from schools like the University of Colorado where students can blog about their experiences online. I hope more students who desire interaction take advantage of these sites or set up social networking connections on their own to become connected.

    ASU business school unveils online degree

    ASU business school unveils online degree

    Add business to the growing cadre of online bachelor’s programs offered by Arizona State University.

    Last week, the W.P. Carey School of Business announced it will launch its first online bachelor-of-arts program this fall.

    ASU and University of Phoenix both made the headlines in today’s Arizona Republic. I received degrees from both of these universities. It looks like Bill Gate’s prediction of online learning growth is going to come true. The growth of online education is undeniable. “Nearly 12 million post-secondary students in the United States take some or all of their classes online right now. But this will skyrocket to more than 22 million in the next five years. (, 2010). In my book, The Online Student’s User Manual, I give a lot of guidance to help the first-time online student feel comfortable in their online learning experience. I’m hearing that the book will be out next month. I’ll keep you updated.

    University of Phoenix aims to cut dropouts

    University of Phoenix aims to cut dropouts

    University of Phoenix plans to roll out a new student-orientation program across the country this fall.

    The move by the nation’s largest private university, aimed at improving graduation rates by weeding out students not ready for college and better preparing others, comes after several months of testing.

    The University of Phoenix is one of the universities where I teach. I like their new requirement of having students take a manditory preparation training program. I see a lot of students that are just not prepared fully for college-level courses. I know the UOP stock took a hit from this, due to anticipation of lower enrollment growth initially, but I think it will be a good thing for students and UOP in the long run.