Christchurch Rocks – Literally – in a 7.1 Earthquake

It’s been an intense couple of days here in Christchurch. If you’ve had access to major news agencies like CNN or BBC, you’ll already be aware that my beautiful city suffered an earthquake at 4.35am on Saturday morning, 4 September 2010.

The quake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale and was only 10km deep, making it the most destructive earthquake in New Zealand since the 7.8 quake that devastated Hawkes Bay back in 1938.

Unbelievably, there has been not a single loss of life. This has been put down to the timing of the earthquake, when very few people were in the city centre where most of the damage occurred.  Most of us were in our beds, sleeping peacefully, only to have our slumber completely shattered by our houses twisting and turning under our feet and objects falling onto us in our beds. It was, without a doubt, the single most terrifying event in my life.

So many people have escaped injury, even as their houses have crumbled around them. We were lucky in that our cement block house remained completely intact and structurally sound, despite cupboards flinging themselves open, books falling off shelves and cabinets toppling over. As we woke up to the devastation to friends’ houses and beautiful historic buildings of our city, we became so very aware of how lucky we were and how grateful to still be here to talk about it.

Aftershocks are still rocking the city every hour or so and each one brings down more parts of already damaged buildings. But as a whole, our city is SO VERY LUCKY. It could have been so much worse if the earthquake had occurred even a couple of hours later. I write this post mainly to let people know I am ok, my family is ok and our businesses continue to run. For Search Engine College, it’s business as usual, although students may experience delays in assignment grading as Internet access appears to still be sketchy. Blog posts here will resume shortly also.

A very big thank you to those of you who have emailed or tweeted me messages of concern. I’m so touched, particularly by those complete strangers who have been long term readers of my blog and just wanted to reach out and let me know they were thinking of me – I really appreciate it.

I have been tweeting about the quake since 20 minutes after it happened and I’m not alone. With no power, water or radio, Twitter was our lifeline to the outside world after the quake. To me, one of the most interesting aspects of the disaster was the use of social media. I’ve been collecting the first 3 tweets from people after the quake and they’ll be the subject of a future blog post. What were your first 3 tweets after the quake? If you want to contribute, please @reply me links to them at @kalena with #firstthreetweets as your hashtag.

[UPDATE : Read the First Tweets After the Christchurch Earthquake]

Meanwhile, below are some earthquake resources that you might find interesting:

Christchurch Earthquake Resources

Earthquake Photos:

Aftershock Maps:

GeoNet Earthquake info:

Latest Updates:

Personal Stories:

How You Can Help:

Thank you

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Endometriosis Advice and Support

If you’re a long term reader of this blog, you’ll know that I had a life-changing health scare a couple of years ago that the doctors thought was ovarian cancer, but turned out to be severe Endometriosis.

This debilitating condition is often misdiagnosed and this can result in years of unnecessary pain and stress that simply increases month after month until a correct diagnosis is made. My condition worsened after pregnancy and eventually led to major surgery, followed by months of recovery. If I’d been more aware of the early symptoms of Endometriosis, I would have saved myself years of agony and would probably have avoided major surgery altogether.

I’ve recently been informed about an online support group for sufferers of Endometriosis, where volunteers and sufferers write about their experiences with the condition and participate in group discussions to help others suffering from Endometriosis symptoms. There is also the Endometriosis Global Forum. I just wish I had known about these sites years ago.

There is no cure for Endometriosis. The disease can recur at any time and up to 15 percent of women who have had a hysterectomy can experience the disease again post surgery. I didn’t know that until I read these forums. Not even my surgeon told me.

If you or someone you care about is living with Endometriosis, or suspects they may have symptoms, please take a moment to point them to these sites. Your suggestion could literally change their life.

Thank you.

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Yes, I’m Alive

Yes, I’m alive, but judging by this blog, you’d hardly know it would you?

Sorry about that. Life has gotten in the way lately, as has setting up a brand new office and losing broadband for 3 days straight.

I do have a series of articles lined up to post here, as well as some post SMX Sydney Conference observations to make and a newsletter to publish.

Thanks for your patience and normal blog broadcasting will resume shortly.

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Off to Australia!

Just a heads up that there won’t be any blog posts until Thursday at the earliest.

Today I’m headed over to Australia where I’ll be giving a PPC Workshop tomorrow and taking part in the always entertaining SMX Sydney Conference later this week.

As well as giving a presentation on the joys of Twitter at SMX Bootcamp,  I’ll be live blogging as many sessions as I can and scoffing down pink drinks during all the networking events, as is the SMX tradition. Wanna join me? It’s not too late to Register!

I’m really looking forward to catching up with my #invisiblefriends and watching drunk geeks lurch on a boat as they pass under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

At the end of the week I’m taking myself off to Melbourne to hang with my sister at Crown Casino for 5 days and treat myself to some retail and spa therapy. Hooray!

If you’re coming along to SMX, make sure you say hi. I’ll be the one wearing the lanyard.

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Public Speaking: Achievement Unlocked

Today marks a milestone for me.

On behalf of the Canterbury Development Corporation, I presented a 3 hour SEO workshop to a group of small to medium business owners based in Christchurch. Nothing too unusual about that, I’ve run workshops before and have presented at conferences and seminars quite a few times over the years.

But what made today different was that it was the very first time I can remember NOT being nervous prior to the event.

Let me explain. I HATE public speaking. Ok, so most people hate it. But the idea of speaking in public makes me sweaty palms anxious and physically ill.  My legs wobble while I’m up on stage, I develop a deer-in-the-headlights stare and I tend to mumble or speak too fast in the hope that the whole ordeal will be over faster. Consequently, I’m not very good at it. Think Bridget Jones without the amusing vocabulary.

But I continue to accept speaking opportunities and MAKE myself go through it. Why? Because I don’t like things that scare me and I want to conquer the fear. I’ve had other people tell me that the more you speak in public, the better you get and the less it intimidates you, so I’ve followed their advice and keep saying YES to situations requiring me to address an audience.

Today, that persistence seems to have paid off. It’s true I was a little jittery yesterday as it dawned on me I would be speaking in front of an audience in a few hours, but that initial fear lasted about 20 minutes. I slept well last night and today, I woke up feeling great. A gym class in the morning got my adrenalin flowing and by the time 1pm rolled around I was feeling confident and, (for the very first time), actually excited about the idea of getting up in front of an audience. I kept waiting for the butterflies to announce themselves in my stomach but they never came!

I spoke more confidently than ever before, had fun with the attendees and enjoyed myself from start to finish. It helped that I had prepared really well, made my slides interesting and interactive, plus I had a very responsive audience. I’m sure all these things contributed, but after 10 years of public speaking terror,  today felt like a huge personal milestone and I’m very proud to have passed it.

Now, if I could just conquer my fear of clowns.

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