Facebook Business Pages Update

Today Facebook announced an update to their popular product Facebook Pages. Updates include a cover photo, larger story sizes, better tools to manage a Page and more. The new features help business and organizations better share their story and connect with people.

New Facebook Page features include:

Cover Photo
Businesses and organizations can now add a cover photo to the top of their Page.

Friend Activity
When someone first visits a Page, they may see friends’ recent posts spotlighted as friend activity. People will also see how many of their friends are connected to a Page.

Larger Stories, Milestones, and Page Timeline
The new Page design allows Page owners to tell stories through bigger photos and milestones that can include a date and other content.

Pinned Posts
Organizations can pin a post to keep a story at the top of a Page for up to seven days.

Admin Panel
The Admin panel is a new way for Page administrators to track their performance and to respond to private messages from people.

Activity Log
Page administrators have access to a log of their Page activity, including tools to easily highlight, hide or delete posts and change the date of a post.

Facebook Page Design

Alabama Tourism Launches 100 Alabama Road Trips

Alabama Tourism today launched a three year campaign, “100 Alabama Road Trips” with the release of the first 10 trips. The campaign focuses on driving itineraries that travelers can experience over two or three days. The initial itineraries are now live on the tourism website and each is numbered, www.Alabama.travel. Other trips will continue to be added throughout the first year of the campaign.

The first 10 trips include the BCS Championship tour, Eagle watching on Lake Guntersville, a romantic getaway to Mobile, Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights history, spring break at the beach, a walking tour of downtown Birmingham, Huntsville’s Space & Rocket Center, Montgomery’s history tour, bird watching on the coast and the To Kill A Mockingbird tour in Monroeville. A few upcoming trips will include a Girlfriends Getaway on the Eastern Shore, family fun in Sylacauga, golfing in Alabama, music in the Shoals and Gulf Coast adventures.

Road Trip Alabama

 

“Road Trips” is also the theme for the 2012 Vacation Guide. Pages six and seven of the guide provides a sneak peek at the campaign. The cover of the publication is of a 1953 baby blue Cadillac, much like the one Hank Williams owned, parked on a pier at Lake Guntersville. The car will be used as a symbol and logo for the road trips campaign. The Cadillac is in tourism’s television commercials that are currently airing on television  stations across the U.S. The car will also be used around the state at events and festivals throughout the three year campaign.

“We wanted to make it easier for travelers to plan their trip so we came up with 100 itineraries. There’s something for everyone,” said tourism director Lee Sentell. “If you’re planning a trip to the beach, we have an itinerary for that, or a trip to experience the small towns of Alabama, we’ve got that too.”

The 164-page vacation guide provides travelers with information on hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, tourism associations, state parks, golf courses, attractions, trails and museums.

Each region of the state is highlighted and provides articles on the attractions, places to stay and events in the areas. Articles include “100 Great Alabama Road Trips” on pages 6-7, shopping for treasures in Alabama on page 13, Civil Rights history on pages 14-15, Alabama’s chefs, farms and restaurants on pages 16-25, and golf begins on page 26. Articles on each of the four regions of the state along with things to do begin with the north region on page 37. Each regional article includes a map of the area with the road trip blue Cadillac icon.

Travelers can pick up copies of the vacation guide at each of the eight Alabama Welcome Centers, by calling 1.800.ALABAMA or by requesting online at www.alabama.travel. Compass Marketing of Gulf Shores publishes the vacation guide.

UPlanMe Launches Smart Calendar Website Making Event Discovery Simple

UPlanMe, Inc. announces launch of UPlanMe , a “smart-calendar” site that provides consumers of all ages with personalized event suggestions, specials and incentives, based on their interests, directly to their UPlanMe calendar. The site, launching in conjunction with New York Social Media Week, was created as a one-stop solution for consumers to stay informed about events in sports, music, nightlife, dining, shopping, television, and more.

Sean Barkulis, Co-Founder and CEO of UPlanMe, said, “We are excited to launch this smart-calendar platform to help consumers discover fun and exciting relevant events. Currently, there is no single, all-inclusive place where people can go to be informed of upcoming events, specials and incentives tailored specifically to their interests. Existing methods require consumers to seek-out and find relevant events whereas UPlanMe brings those personalized events directly to users’ UPlanMe calendar.”

UPlanMe also provides national brands and local businesses with a free and simple way to communicate their specials and events directly to their consumers. Co-Founder and President Brian Kantor said, “We have already seen significant traction from a host of national brands and local businesses across a range of categories looking to provide their customers with access to their schedules, specials, exclusive previews, and ticket pre-sales.” Brands such as SummerStage, Thompson Hotels’ “Gild Hall,” Los Angeles’ Arcade Boutique and Chicago’s Vintage 338 are actively managing their brand calendars with upcoming events.

UPlanMe partners with Medea Vodka, Radeberger, and SummerStage for their official New York City launch party, on February 15th at Pranna, during New York Social Media Week.

About UPlanMe, Inc.
UPlanMe is a “smart-calendar” platform that provides users with personalized event suggestions, specials and incentives based on their interests in sports, music, dining, nightlife, shopping, entertainment and more, direct to their UPlanMe calendar. As users “unlock” or opt-into their favorite brands, their UPlanMe calendar populates with each brands’ scheduled events. There is no cost for users or brands and businesses to sign-up and begin filling their UPlanMe calendars with events.

Alabama Tourism Celebrates The Year of Food in 2012

If you own a business or restaurant in Alabama you may want to contact the Alabama Department of Tourism to see how you can participate in their Year of Food 2012 Celebration Events.  Your local CVB, Chamber of Commerce, and the Alabama Department of Tourism are great partners for you to associate with.

Year of Food Website 2012. foods

The Alabama Tourism Department will kick off its 2012 campaign, The Year of Alabama Food, on January 27, during the FoodBlogSouth event in Birmingham. The event is a conference for food writers, bloggers and photographers. The website, www.yearofalabamfood.com, launched Monday.

The tourism campaign will focus on award-winning chefs, farm-to-table, fresh gulf seafood and popular foods grown or made in Alabama. Some of the local food includes Belle Chevre Cheese from Elkmont, Conecuh sausage, Slocomb tomatoes and Dothan peanuts. This is the second food campaign by the tourism department, the first was in 2005 and received the award for best state tourism marketing campaign by the National Council of State Tourism Directors.

As part of the year of food, the tourism department will hold a statewide “Restaurant Week” August 17-26 during which locally owned and operated restaurants will be able to showcase their dishes by offering meals at a discount.

Tourism will also promote nearly 400 food festivals across the state and will create a new BBQ Trail, in addition to an updated “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” brochure.

“Food is popular with everyone and it has been one of our most successful campaigns. It was time to bring it back, but this time we want to highlight local food and our great chefs,” said tourism director Lee Sentell. “We have several new things planned for 2012 that we feel will showcase the best in food that Alabama has to offer.”

Food Festivals in the Alabama Calendar of Events

Visitors wishing to discover the local flavor of Sweet Home Alabama are invited to enjoy any of the more than 375 annual food festivals and events hosted by cities and towns across the state. Moon pies and mayhem set the stage for Mobile’s Mardi Gras celebration in February. Moulton celebrates the state’s agricultural heritage during the Chicken and Egg Festival in April. A smorgasbord of Southern goodness awaits visitors during the Slocomb Tomato Festival in June and the Russellville Watermelon Festival in August.

In September, Pinson hosts the Butterbean Festival and Tuskegee pays homage to scientist George Washington Carver during the Carver Sweet Potato Festival in October. The Break’N Bread/ Birmingham Food & Wine Festival is at Pepper Place Railroad Park in October. The National Shrimp Festival is held each October on the white sand beaches of Gulf Shores, and a barbecue competition highlights the Christmas on the River celebration in Demopolis in December. A complete list of 2012 food festivals and other events can be found online by visiting www.alabama.travel.  They will also be featured in the printed 2012 Alabama Calendar of Events available at the state’s eight welcome centers.

Celebrate Alabama Chefs and Award-Winning Restaurants

Travelers can discover the best in fine dining and country cooking restaurants in the South when they visit Chef Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar and Grill and Chris and Idie Hastings’ Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Martin’s Restaurant in Montgomery, Arricia Italian Trattoria & Bar in Auburn, and True in Mobile, which is owned and operated by renowned Chef Wesley True. Learn how Lucy Buffett, owner of Lulu’s in Gulf Shores, and other restaurateurs around the state are bringing the farm to the table to enhance your dining experience.

The popular “100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die” brochure is being updated to include fresh menu selections and great local culinary destinations not previously featured. “We are excited about spotlighting lesser-known restaurants while continuing to showcase Southern classics, such as The Bright Star in Bessemer, named an American Classic by the James Beard Award Foundation,” said Sentell.

Tourism will also create a new BBQ Trail brochure that will list restaurants, joints and local chains. Some of the featured BBQ will include Big Bob Gibson’s n Decatur, SAW’s in Homewood, Full Moon, Jim N Nick’s and icons like Dreamland in Tuscaloosa and Golden Rule in Birmingham.


Visit Local Farmers Markets and Wineries

In addition to enjoying exciting food festivals and discovering great places to dine, Alabamians and visitors alike are encouraged to get off the interstates and major thoroughfares for a visit to local farms, farmers markets, and wineries. Visit any one of 135 state farmers markets and roadside stands. Sample the goat cheese crafted by Belle Chevre in Elkmont. Enjoy jellies and jams, produced by the folks in Alabama’s Black Belt and sold through places like Black Belt Treasures in Camden.

Discover the Alabama Wine Trail, featuring more than a dozen farm wineries, and explore culinary destinations such as Butlers Mill Restaurant in Graham and Rikard Mill near Monroeville, where you can watch cane syrup being made the old-fashioned way. To learn more about Alabama culinary destinations, visit www.alabama.travel to request free copies of the Alabama Vacation Guide and “100 dishes to eat in Alabama before you die” brochure.

The logo for the 2012 food-themed campaign, a tasty green tomato on a spoon, will be featured in print and television ads throughout the year and a dedicated website, www.yearofalabamafood.com, will launch in mid-January to showcase the local flavor that is uniquely Alabama.

For more information about the Year of Alabama Food visit www.yearofalabamafood.com.

 

Flu Etiquette 101

Flu Facts and Etiquette

During flu season, when fever, aches, and chills hit, it is easy to forget one’s manners. A recent survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of those who had influenza in the past three years admit to being “That Guy,” who despite experiencing flu symptoms, continues to go about his/her daily activities.

As part of its “Are You That Guy?” influenza education campaign, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is partnering with the Emily Post Institute to remind Americans to do the responsible thing during flu season and practice behavior that will help limit the spread of influenza, a highly contagious virus. The campaign also reminds Americans to see a doctor quickly if flu strikes. The campaign offers flu etiquette tips for managing common situations where the flu virus might be shared from one person to another, such as shaking hands during a business meeting, over a family dinner, or when faced with a fellow airplane traveler who is showing signs of flu.

“Most of us try our best to be considerate and do the right thing,” said Anna Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of the 18th edition of the Emily Post’s Etiquette book. “While people recognize that the flu virus spreads easily, they admit to tossing proper etiquette aside when they have the flu.”

The survey found that while a majority (81%) agree that a person with the flu should cancel social obligations when she or he is sick, two-thirds (64%) of those who had the flu in the past three years admit to being “That Guy,” who despite experiencing flu symptoms, continued to go about his/her daily activities.

“Every year, millions of Americans get the flu. We are all personally responsible for controlling its spread,” says Susan J. Rehm, M.D., NFID medical director. “The CDC recommends flu vaccine as the first and most important step in preventing influenza, as well as good hygiene and seeing a doctor for possible treatment with prescription flu medicines if symptoms arise. It’s important to know the symptoms of the flu so individuals can visit a doctor quickly to get properly treated before they risk spreading it to others.”

Only one-third (36%) of people surveyed would call their doctor if they thought they had the flu. Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. Influenza occurs most often in the late fall, winter, and early spring. Flu is a serious infection which is associated, on average, with more than 200,000 hospitalizations, thousands of deaths every year in the U.S. and substantial medical costs.

“No one wants to be ‘That Guy’ who spreads the flu to family, friends, or colleagues,” said Post. “Knowing how to politely cancel an event you’re hosting or how to avoid shaking your client’s hand because you’re sick can be difficult and potentially awkward.  By following appropriate flu etiquette, we can all play a role in preventing the spread of the flu virus.”

The survey found nearly four out of 10 Americans (37%) are uncomfortable telling “That Guy” that he/she is sick and should stay away from others. The Emily Post Institute recommends the following flu etiquette tips to handle common situations with social grace:

  • In the workplace: If you have flu symptoms at work, let your boss know right away that you need to get to the doctor. Just let him or her know, “I don’t feel well—I need to see a doctor. I think I might have the flu.” Better to have others pitch in while you’re gone than risk others on your team becoming sick.
  • In social situations: Normally it would be rude to cancel on a dinner party or big event at the last minute, but if you’re sick, call with your regrets and instead, go see your doctor.
  • Air travel: It’s tough to point out someone’s behavior mid-flight with hours left to go. However, flu is highly contagious. If there’s no other seat available, consider saying, “I can see you’re not feeling well—would you mind covering your mouth when you cough? Thanks.” Most people when prompted are eager to show good manners and do the right thing.

The Are You That Guy? influenza education campaign and survey are supported by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.

You can also track flu outbreaks in their region and receive alerts about flu in their communities by visiting www.FluFACTS.com and using the Flu Tracker or by downloading a free Fight the Flu iPhone app www.FluFACTS.com/iphone-app.jsp.

Survey Background
The survey was conducted through ORC International’s Online CARAVAN survey between October 10 and 12, 2011. The findings are based on a national sample of 1,044 consumers, 18 years of age or older. Responses were weighted by five variables including age, sex, geographic region, race and education to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population 18 years of age or older.

About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID)
NFID is a non-profit, tax-exempt (501c3) organization founded in 1973 and dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the causes, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases. Visit www.nfid.org for additional information.