Adventures in Social Media with Ashley

Solar Enegy, Public Health and Olympic Sport

Check out my new blogs on JustMeans All Things Reconsidered:

General Motors Solar Energy in Spain

The Environment’s Impact on Health

Smell the pollution? Nope. Smell the Peking.


Out of a job or not?
July 7, 2008, 8:27 pm
Filed under: social media | Tags: ,

I just posted a new entry on the JustMeans “All Things Reconsidered” blog collection. It’s called “FIRE! Interview from Fast Company with Charlene Li on Groundswell” and covers some of the author’s ideas on social media and business. In the interview she stresses the importance of employing a social media strategy that engages a company with people and NOT technology. I understand Charlene Li’s suggestion of discussion forums and interactive blogs as, ultimately, a new job market for web networkers, social media gurus and professional bloggers. Maybe I’m wrong, but in order to engage people in a constructive, corporate, yet personalized conversation, companies must build up their social media teams with smart people who can navigate the invisible.

So this brings me to my next, Fast Company reference. I recently read the article “Six Jobs that Won’t Exist in 2016” that suggested my highly anticipated career in blogging may be soon be obsolete. So, grappling with Charlene Li’s message to develop a well-researched and personalized corporate social media approach, where is my job as a blogger going? Get your story straight Fast Company, the caliber of my parents’ rest home depends on this.

Be Eco-Friendly: For anyone, including your dog
July 3, 2008, 6:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Before I start my Fourth of July festivities, I thought I would leave a list of links that will help just about anyone be a little bit greener…

For The Businessperson

For The Stay-At-Home Mom

For The Child

For The Fashionista

For The Dog-Lover

For The College Student

For The Alcoholic

For The Drug Addict

For The Food Addict

For The Sex Addict (see boys, see girls)

I definitely fit into a few of these categories (however, I’m not saying which…), so I’m going to try to be a little bit greener this weekend and I hope you do too. Happy 4th!

July 3, 2008, 5:38 pm
Filed under: social media, YouTube | Tags: ,

Even though all of my posts have been related to food (Starbucks coffee, milk, Indian cuisine, Facebook Food Fling…) the title “Kiwi” is a bit of a misnomer. This is a famous YouTube video posted two years ago, but it is one of my favorites.  There is something really cool about how this little guy works so hard just to go SPLAT (make sure to listen to the audio).

Black Coffee (since we spilled all the milk)
July 2, 2008, 7:26 pm
Filed under: coffee, corporate social responsibility, social media | Tags: , ,

We know Starbucks has one of the best corporate social responsibility strategies around (supply chain sustainability? pretty smart…), but when should we put down the Venti Triple Shot Light Ice Mocha Mint Chip Frappuccino and take a look at their business practice as a whole?

Take a look at the smart things Zach has to say in The Cannibal Investors about Starbucks’ decision to close 600 stores.

Through my recent Twitter adventures, I also came across The Global Sociology Blog and some interesting opinions on the Starbucks Ethos water.

So what do I think? I switched to Dunkin’ Donuts months ago…

Cool jugs. Spilled milk.
June 30, 2008, 9:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wal-Mart, Costco, and soon Sam’s Club are changing their milk jugs so they are less harmful for the environment and more cost effective. Cool right? Think again. Complainers around the country say the new jugs are hard to pour, easy to spill and make milk drinkers “feel like novices.” If so many people are interested in “green” products, but don’t know how to integrate them into their lives, I say, get a little uncomfortable and practice your pouring.

Read the article here.

From Delhi Belly to New York Slice: Why I Work For JustMeans

It was the first day of medical anthropology class, a day after returning from summer, and my teacher asked the class to sit in a circle and individually announce our names, cities of origin, and a brief description of our summer activities. A girl raised her hand and said her name was Olivia, she was from Baltimore, and she spent the summer in Ghana working in a medical center that offered free reconstructive surgery for children with cleft palates. Impressive. The girl to Olivia’s left gave a similar introduction, but said that during the summer she lived in Bangladeshi slums and tested local residents for HIV. Wow. Full circle and twenty minutes later, it was my turn to sulkily say that I had spent the summer hanging out by the pool with my friends. My class’s reaction was only a little better than uproarious laughter.

So, in response to mild public humiliation and grasping my genuine interest in creating positive change, I caught the “save the world” bug. Last summer, I traveled 30 hours and crossed 12 times zones to Chennai, India to help commercial sex-workers and human-trafficking victims.

Before I tell you lessons and reflections from my experience, please picture this: a blonde American 19-year-old girl (alone) standing face-to face with a demented cow (later identified as an Asiatic buffalo, see picture below), knee deep in water saturated with fecal matter (explanation: Indian monsoon season, no public bathrooms, grossly inadequate drainage systems). While I didn’t have to endure polluted floods for my entire summer stay, I think that portrait conveys some of the basic obstacles I encountered while trying to, as I had set out to do, “save the world.”

More challenges to keep in mind: Tamil is the language most spoken in Chennai and the surrounding state of Tamil Nadu. It is a member of Dravidian language family and frequently contains the sound “ungue” (my best attempt at spelling) which, I have concluded, cannot be produced by an American tongue. While English is fluently spoken by many academics, professionals and the middle class, communicating with and helping prostitutes and trafficking victims became more difficult when they only spoke Tamil and I only knew how to say “red” (see-ka-poo). Beyond the language barrier, another hitch in my plan was something informally known as “Delhi Belly” (…the namesake of this blog). When you are curled in the ball next to the toilet (correction: porcelain hole in the ground), chomping antispasmodics and licking the bottle of Pepto-Bismol, you aren’t doing much for gender equality, sexual rights or reproductive health. And you are certainly not saving the world.

The point of these stories is not to discourage international service or Indian tourism (it’s a beautiful and magical country, I promise), but to illustrate why it is important to learn and understand where and how you can create efficient, effective and lasting change in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I would never trade my experiences and encounters abroad, but applying my skill set to ideas beyond a medical center in Ghana, Bangladeshi slums or an Indian flood can create bigger and better impact.

This brings me to my desk in the new JustMeans midtown office (goodbye Harlem) and why I am here. In my work at JustMeans, I use social media tools to bring attention to the JustMeans platform and engage more individuals, companies and organizations in social and environmental responsibility. By promoting JustMeans, I know I am making a greater impact than last summer, because beyond avoiding time wasted wading through sewage, I’m working with important initiatives of multimillion dollar companies and the global reach of the internet. Through my work at JustMeans, I can apply my knowledge of business, politics and economics and my skills in writing and the English language (not Tamil) to efficiently affect change. So, join JustMeans ( and learn how you can use your job, social media, corporate initiatives, and networking to change (save?) the world.

(Side note: For more information on the Indian experience, see JustMeans CEO Martin Smith’s “Fair trade is failing” for accurate coverage of well-loved Indian transportation.)