Below is a blog of mine featured on SocialYell’s blog.

The truths about greenwashing are everywhere.  If you are just starting out on this journey of living a more sustainable lifestyle, along with the increasingly “green” product line on your local Walmart’s shelves, you’ll most likely notice a growing awareness that claims of greenness may not be 100% truthful.  So, OK, you check out SocialYell’s rankings, read news bits off your twitter stream and feel pretty confident on what to believe.

What you may not realize is that there is a greenwashing taking place in our food that, to the average consumer, may be even more difficult to decipher and understand.  Fauxganic (faux organic) food is becoming more prevalent and more difficult to really understand.

Organic means organic, right?  Well, kind of.  Like any industry, and yes Organic food is an industry of almost $23 billion a year (yes, that’s with a B), the bigger it is the more blurred the lines are.  Your organic strawberries may not be treated with pesticides, but truly sustainable farming practices are not being practiced at the farm they came from.  (For an in depth exploration of these topics, a must read is Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma.)

Here’s an illustration on the more far reaching effects of sustainability in food: I was on vacation in Florida a few weeks back and went to buy some organic oranges.  I’m in Flordia, a citrus mecca of sorts, right?  When I turn the bag over, I’m shocked to find that these oranges are actually from California!  So, does the lack of pesticides compensate for the journey these little fruits took to the store?  It’s something to think about.

The origins of organics, I argue, take into account much more than just adhering to a non-pesticide rule.  It’s the whole picture, the whole approach to how we produce from start to finish.  Earth to plate.

Be educated!  Take a few minutes to flip over the package, read the fine print, and peruse the interwebs to see where your food really comes from.  It’s an eye opening experience.

Meghan Nesta is a sustainability and social media nut residing in the Philadelphia, PA metro area.

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This week as the G-8 summit takes place in L’Aquila, Italy I have been watching.  Watching what our world leaders are willing to do to address climate change.  Watching and waiting… only to be, unsurprisingly, a bit disappointed with what seems to be the outcome.

I’ve really been chewing on the issue of climate change.  Isn’t it really and issue of us, in industrialized wealthy nations, living beyond our energy means?  In the United States our culture of living beyond our financial means has been years in the making and a bit more obvious because we have something tangible – all our stuff.

I took a quiz (it assumes you live in Australia but still very powerful) that assess how many planets we would need if everyone lived the same lifestyle as I did.  It was sobering.

I think the most convicting part of the reality of climate change is the notion that I’m racking up a balance on my “climate credit card” only to be gaining comfort at the expense of the poorest, least advantaged people in the world.

It’s time to put aside politics, accusations of fabrication of fact, and join together to do something meaningful.  Something with social equity in mind.  Our time on this planet is brief and should be beneficial and not detrimental to the future.

Like a light bulb above my head, marketing on twitter clicked.  Beyond the relationship building (which is uber important), a real and measurable and pretty cheap form of advertising is brewing.  Getting users to do the advertising for you.

Over the last month Squarespace and Moonfruit have been running promotions to win Apple gear.  It’s pretty interesting what twitter users will do to win something valuable.  At the risk of alienating and losing followers people are filling up their twitter stream with pleas for winning these prizes.  All the while keeping these companies at the tip of everyone’s digital tongue.

I really hope they will do some analytics and share it will the twitterverse.  Though the growth in their client list may not be explosive, their names are becoming a part of the digital vernacular like an iPod.  It’s advertising at it’s best – word of mouth.  Guaranteed, in someway, is a glimpse at the future of major advertising.

I have been caught in an eco-pity party several time lately.  A pity party thrown, of course, by myself.  Wallowing in what seems to be an eco-friendly void.  Here in Metro Philadelphia, PA it seems as though everyone on the West Coast, UK, or insert-far-off-place-here has abundant opportunity to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.  Where I am merely Sisyphus pushing an every growing carbon ball up a hill, only for it to roll down for me to start over again.

Well, turns out it’s not so bad here in Pennsylvania, and it might actually qualify as good!  Philadelphia is taking steps to be a prominent green city and has started implementing several tangible small steps.  And the casa de la Nesta is moving toward minimal dependence on the grid.  We are pursuing solar energy!  With Federal Tax incentives and an incredible state rebate program, there’s some easier green living in Pennsylvania.

To say I’m excited would be an understatement.  Over the next several months I’m hoping to highlight the journey (hopefully with an emphasis on a joyful road) of getting our system up and running and touting it’s benefits far and wide.  I’ve been amazed at how little information there seems to be out in the blogophere about more homes going down that road.

So, here I am.  My little urban house in the Northeast.  Doing my part to be more self-sufficient and hopefully helping others realize the benefits.

Stay tuned!

The news of (Twitter’s) death has be greatly exaggerated. – Mark Twain (with creative licence)

The early adopters and social media gurus have spoken.  Twitter isn’t dying, it’s dead and it’s time to move on to find the next social media juggernaut.   Now that mainstream media is reporting about it and the entire digital universe isn’t using it, its power is gone.

I agree Twitter isn’t the one and only (SPOILER ALERT: I love twitter and think its usefulness has barely been realized) for effective social media marketing.  For an effective digital presence a brand needs to be active and relevant on several platforms.  Let’s face it, as a user there is no way you could be active on EVERY platform and still, well, sleep.  You concentrate your energy on a few platforms. 

A portion of a brand’s fan-base will be hanging out and finding community in different pockets of the digital sphere.  Just like a brand wouldn’t put all of its advertising dollars in banner ads, it shouldn’t be focused on just one platform.  To have the greatest impact a brand has to reside on many platforms to make the most impact.

A clear, concise message is key.  It will carry from one platform to another easily. 

The notion of twitter being dead as the only social media marketing tool that anyone cares about is true.  It is merely one of many tools that will evolve and help create they way we communicate with each other and brands.

Living in a pretty urban area  I love to see how sustainability and eco-friendly practices are developed by creative minds.  For example, what is becoming (dare I say) common, photovoltaic (solar) systems installed on rooftops.  This week I came across two stories of creative ways to bring sustainability to the city.

 The answer is blowing in the wind

A recent article on Treehugger  New York City Building Water Towers Could be Turned into Wind Turbine highlighted the ability to perhaps use old water towers to support a series of wind turbines.

The roof, the roof, is full of food!

Another article that I came across today is a group that getting ready to put at Hydroponic farm on a roof top that will generate 30 tons of food annually! 

What may seems like small, pie-in-the-sky ideas will quickly become the pieces of the puzzle that make our world a little greener and a whole lot healthier.  I’m excited to see how creative minds will bring us more ways to slow the forces of climate change.

So, when the lights do go down in the city (years from now when we aren’t so dependant on fossil fuels to keep us going) they will come right back up again only brighter and cleaner than before.

* And you are welcome for getting Journey stuck in your head.

It’s getting pretty noisy out there in the twitterverse.  The twitter platform seems to have hit its stride for marketers – give something away and make your would-be winners tweet about it.  Every body is doing it.

I like to keep the number of people I follow small – those that I view as thought leaders in the social media or sustainability realms.  I don’t want to miss anything.  Now there seems to be a analog-TV-signal-white-fuzz over my twhirl app.  So many people are trying to win something and that, frankly, doesn’t benefit me.

Have I entered a few contest by tweeting a certain hashtag?  Yes.  But now I’m realizing that I’m tarnishing my personal brand, quickly.  I want those who take the time to pay attention to my tweets to get something meaningful.  Not be inundated with a lot of noise. 

Is that free iPhone loosing  followers?  Maybe.  But that’s for you to decide.  For me consistency of image is the key.  I’ve already forged connections through my personal brand that never would have happened if I allowed @mjnesta to be a stream of consciousness.  Those connections will have far greater returns than a shiny new iPhone. 

A little self control has already gone a long way.  I can’t loose focus now…

I just read a really insightful post on the implications of social media in the PR world and it got me thinking about the larger migration of the way we communicate with each other and “the man” (brands, corporations, and even the government).  In case you missed it, even the White House is tweeting and posting videos!

“OK, great,” you say.  “I’m on twitter, can’t get enough of Hulu and have my visage all over Flickr.  I get it.”  You understand the functionality of the tools and the platforms.  That’s only a small part of the equation.  The proof is in how you use it, how you craft and communicate your message.  The substance of the evolution to social media is the nessecity for authenticity. 

Authenticity

Perhaps there was a time where you could hide behind a well crafted image.  You had time for meetings and pontification for the perfect response to whatever came up.  The evolution of communication has narrowed that window.  You have no choice to be authentic and available, almost immediately.  From the nightmare of a stupid employee to the ability to raise money and awareness for charity, the most successful users are relevant and quick to show up at the dance.

The evolution is 1 part platform and 10 parts message.  To grow and thrive in this new frontier, which will soon be the only frontier, you have to be there.  Really there.  For authentic conversation.

I feel like I have just sold out.  I used my personal brand to try and win an iPhone.  In a moment of weakness and the glimmer of the hipness I would garner with an iPhone in my hand I buckled. 

I would love to know how many followers this agency gained through this promotion.  I have to believe it ripped like a digital tsunami through twitter and several other platforms.  Want more followers?  Give away an iPhone.  You’ll have a guaranteed captive audience, for at least as long as your promotion runs.

So what about us?  Everyday Joe and Sue who just want more exposure, more of an audience to present our awesome message?  And by the way, who don’t have a giveaway budget (and no, giving away that couch of yours that’s followed you around since junior year of college doesn’t count as an attractive offer).  You do have some options.

Interact

Don’t just shout.  Just pushing out information you think is interesting and relevant is shouting.  Engage.  Start and actual dialog with the people who follow you.   A personal interaction will allow for you to know whose following you, why, what they want to hear, and who of their friends might want to hear want you have to say too.

Use the tools

Use hashtags, industry jargon, and retweet what you find interesting.  There are people out there that are looking for you, give them a reason to find you.  I’ve seen so many tweets that would spread a personal brand like wildfire if only a few extra tools were employed.

Use your own metrics

Think metrics are only for the big brands?  Think again.  Use a url shortener that allows you to track the number of clicks.  Take an inventory of how many followers you have over time.  Take note of when you gain more followers at a particular time and what kind of followers you are attracting.  Are they like minded to the message you are communicating or is it just a bunch of spammers.

Treating your personal brand like a big brand will keep you focused and garner you the followers that you long for.

I fancy myself a bit of  purist.  When it comes to food, I don’t like a lot of condiments.  I will stick to one beverage during the course of an evening.  When I find a website on a particular topic that I like I stay there.

What’s interesting is I don’t have a taste du jour in social media.  I’m everywhere*.  LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter… but in each arena there’s a different aspect of me.  I believe each area presents a different aspect of who I am. 

It begs the question – if you want to be fully engaged in the digital community are you compelled to maintain a full digital persona and be involved in each of these arenas (and perhaps many others)? 

Here’s one better – as a marketer, should you be focused on one platform?  I argue no.  Your message should be simple and consistent and have the ability to be clearly and effectively communicated no matter the social platform.  That will produce effective marketing that immediately has the ability to become viral.  Let your top brand fans do the leg work for you and spread a powerful message about you.

*OK, for true social media junkies, this list is hardly everywhere.  But stick with me.

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