January 8-14, 2010 | Baltimore Business Journal |                                            ...
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Baltimore Business Journal "A New Kind of Social Call"


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Baltimore Business Journal "A New Kind of Social Call"

  1. 1. FIGHT GOES ON Judge mulling Bill Jews’ severance pay. PAGE 6 ON THE WEB: GET BREAKING BUSINESS NEWS @ BALTIMOREBUSINESSJOURNAL.COM Vol. 27 No. 36 © 32 Pages January 8-14, 2010 $2.50 Dixon to resign Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon will step down Feb. 4 after pleading guilty to one count of embezzlement. A plea agreement resolves a pending perjury indictment and allows her to keep her pension. City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake will become interim mayor. How will this change affect the business community? Read the BBJ’s coverage online at balti- morebusiness- CHRISTOPHER MYERS | CONTRIBUTOR Historic tax Jason Calvert receives his $403 unemployment benefit each week on a Visa debit card. credit plan A delicate balance gains support More jobless benefits may translate to higher taxes HEATHER HARLAN WARNACK | STAFF SCOTT DANCE | STAFF of the pack among all states for its generosity in un- employment benefits. And it ranks relatively low for Gov. Martin O’Malley will push legislation in the up- its taxes on businesses, federal labor statistics show. coming General Assembly session extending the state’s The average person who files for unemployment But proposed reforms could change that mix. tax credit program — used to recycle obsolete build- in Maryland gets $311 per week from the state. Just The General Assembly is expected to tackle unem- ings like the Can Company in Canton — for three more north of the Mason-Dixon line, however, you can ex- ployment insurance reform as soon as it convenes years and fueling it with a total of $50 million. pect about $38 more. Jan. 13. Various proposals coming from business- The anticipated bill is a relief to a loose group of 11 At the same time, employers pay taxes at a rate half es, General Assembly members and Gov. Martin preservation organizations that have seen the Maryland of those levied in Massachusetts and double the rate O’Malley could each shift the burden to employers Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit program Virginia charges. dwindle from almost $75 million By most measures, Maryland ranks in the middle Please see UNEMPLOYED, Page 12 in expenses in 2001 to roughly $5 million this fiscal year. INSIDE Laria leads O’Malley fundraising efforts But advocates know the battle • Find out how much isn’t won yet. O’Malley and pres- projects in Baltimore ervationists must lobby lawmak- City and select coun- ers to revive the commercial and ties in the region have SCOTT DANCE | STAFF tries that stand to benefit from policies O’Malley and residential program, slated to received from the lobbyists are pushing to the General Assembly, whose sunset June 30, when the state state’s historic tax 2010 session begins Jan. 13. faces a roughly $2 billion deficit credit program, When Gov. Martin O’Malley wraps up a flurry of State law mandates that the cur- next fiscal year. Among the hard- PAGE 13. campaign fundraising in the coming days, he’ll have rent season of political fundraising est to convince will be Del. Shei- some big names in the business community to thank wraps up when the session starts. la E. Hixson, D-Montgomer y for much of the millions of dollars he’ll likely report. Until then, many businesspeople County, chairwoman of the House of Delegates Ways And that’s not just from direct donations. will be pulling their weight to and Means Committee, who has been a vocal opponent A finance committee of more than 100 members, draw donations to the governor, in previous years. led by Baltimore real estate lawyer Jon Laria, has a Democrat and former Baltimore Hixson could not be reached for comment. been wooing contributions since this summer. And many of its members are also leaders of local indus- Laria Please see O’MALLEY, Page 12 Please see HISTORIC, Page 13 Business Leads. . . . . . . .26 YOUR STIMULUS SOCIAL SENIORS Networking & Events . . .25 RESOURCE Lists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Baby boomers try • Projects and awards. Out & About. . . . . . . . . . .25 to grasp Twitter, Smart Strategies . . . . . .22 PAGE 12 Facebook. Viewpoint. . . . . . . . . . . . .31 • Find more stimulus information at www. PAGE 15 baltimorebusiness-
  2. 2. Focus on Boomer Business JANUARY 8-14, 2010 | BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL | 15 CHROSTOPHER MYERS | CONRIBUTOR Freelance writer Carol Sorgen devotes time each day to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. ‘It puts me on the same wavelength as my clients,’ she says. W A new kind of hen it comes to using In November 2009, the unemployment technology to market her- rate for adults over 55 years of age rose self, 61-year-old Pikesville to 7.1 percent, up from 7 percent in Octo- resident Carol Sorgen has ber. It’s the highest monthly unemploy- worked to stay ahead of the curve — ment rate this age group has seen since social call though she doesn’t necessarily consider October 1992, according to a report by herself a techie. the AARP. The average length of unem- But back in 2002, she was the first ployment for active job seekers jobs 55 among her self-employed friends to and older stretched from 33 weeks to 36 launch a Web site. Earlier this year, she weeks during the same period. ventured into the online social world, Despite boomers’ hesitation to plug gaining a Twitter, Facebook and Linke- dIn presence. She spends about an hour Boomers seek comfort with online networking into social networks to improve their employment outlook, industry experts each business day updating and moni- say it’s never too late to log on. But they E L I Z A B E T H H E U B E C K | C O N T R I B U T O R toring the sites, sometimes posting to must first overcome barriers to using so- Facebook relevant articles she’s written, cial networking for career purposes. or sending a tweet — @BaltimoreWriter expected in today’s ever-evolving busi- strongly suggest that boomers — de- — to let her 184 followers know she’s ness world. fined as being born in the postwar years, Coddled within corporations searching for a source for an assign- “It puts me on the same wavelength as or between 1946 and 1960 — are, by and For many boomers, the obstacles are ment. my clients,” she said. large, less than comfortable utilizing the more mental than anything based in Sorgen’s not spending time network- And that, experts say, is a pretty rare Internet to drum up business, find a new technology. Such is the case with Mer- ing online for social purposes, and she approach among baby boomers. Because job, or explore a different career path. edith Bower, a Baltimore public relations is not entirely sure if her efforts have di- when it comes to using online social net- But given how hard the recession has consultant in her late forties who writes rectly resulted in new work. But Sorgen working tools, Sorgen stands out as an hit this age group, some say boomers about Baltimore’s privates schools for considers the platforms integral to main- early adopter among her baby boomer can’t afford to ignore the Web-based so- taining a certain level of professionalism peers. Anecdotal and statistical evidence cial networking tools at their disposal. Please see SOCIAL, Page 19 NEXT WEEK’S FOCUS Page Page Real Estate & Development Reporter Daniel J. Sernovitz compiles a report card on projects Retirement planner Bonnie Stein 16 18 sure to be closely watched over the next 12 months and assess- Are boomers es their progress in financing, construction and occupancy. friending on Facebook?
  3. 3. January 8-14, 2010 | Baltimore Business Journal | boomer business | 19 social: Sharing personal info one market facts Web 2.0 is cutting across demographic groups — millenials, Gen Y, Gen X and boomers. hurdle to joining online networks S ocial networks are growing the growing and the most popular with all most rapidly among adults over age groups. age 35, according to a 2009 For- Now more than half of adults over From Page 15 set clearly. rester Research study. Last year 35 are members of a social network, “I came from a competitive, corporate the 35-plus set boosted its participation while one in five also blogs. It’s true,, a Web site where local environment. You shared information by more than 50 percent. social media is no longer just a habit of experts write about a variety of issues. with your colleagues, but you tended to Among the various forms of Web 2.0 20-somethings. Though Bower has a Facebook page, keep things close to the vest,” he said. media online — including RSS feeds, she generally doesn’t use it to promote blogs, social networks and online vid- Carolyn M. ProCtor | her work — even though bridging generational gaps eos — social networks were the fastest- Source: Forrester Research Inc. ( pays her more each time someone clicks The attitude appears to cut along a on her published articles. generational divide. “I know it’s up to me to push it more. “There’s a real hesitation by boomers Look Who’s Tweeting I guess I’m not very good at using social to share personal information online, Increase in the use of social networks by the 35 to 54 age group. networking,” Bower said. whereas people in my generation have As boomers go, Bower is not alone. A grown up doing so,” said twenty-some- 60% recent survey of boomers’ online social thing Ryan Goff, the social media direc- 2008 networking habits tor at marketing agency MGH Inc. 50% ‘t ’ hEy vE bEEn bears this out. Al- Some experts say that once indoctri- 2009 though 96 percent nated, users of online social network- CoddlEd within of the 1,800 respon- ing tools often find it a very welcoming 40% thE CorPoratE dents said they use space. e-mail to keep in “There are a ton of people who really 30% . struCturE touch with family want to help — there’s this spirit of gen- t 50- hE - yEar and friends, only 22 percent report- erosity that runs through the [online] community,” said Hollis Thomases, pres- 20% old wants an ed visiting social ident and CEO of online marketing and networking sites advertising agency 10% instruCtion such as MySpace For those who enter the online social Manual .’ and LinkedIn. networking world with a career boost or 0% Of those who switch in mind, Thomases urges users to Have joined a social network Regularly use social networks Carlos Hernandez haven’t, more than be as specific about their needs as pos- Social Media for the a quarter said they sible, noting their location and the type Uncomfortable see no benefit to of employment they’re seeking. Boomer 2.0 social network- Others suggest that tentative boom- Percentage of the age group 35 to 54 who are using Web 2.0 media. ing, according to the study’s creators, ers may be more willing to give social 60% ThirdAge Inc., an online destination for networking a go if it’s accessible and fa- 2008 boomers, and JWTBOOM, an integrated miliar. E-mail, according to the ThirdAge 50% marketing agency dedicated to reaching Inc. survey of 1,800 boomers, qualifies 2009 boomers. as such: 96 percent of respondents re- Carlos Hernandez thinks he knows ported using e-mail regularly. 40% why. That’s why the founder of Posterous. Hernandez, a San Francisco Internet com — a 28-year-old with his parents in 30% trainer who created the workshop So- mind — sought out an e-mail platform cial Media for the Uncomfortable, aimed that would allow users to create their largely at boomers, sees firsthand a lack own blogs. Via conventional e-mail, Pos- 20% of comfort with social media tools among allows users to type text, at- his trainees — even those he describes tach videos, sound and photos and then 10% as seasoned, educated, multiple-degreed send content directly to their blog. professionals. In line with keeping it simple, experts “They’ve been coddled within the cor- also recommend that boomer users new 0% Social networkers Bloggers Subscribers to feeds porate structure. The 50-year-old wants to social networking tools target those an instruction manual,” Hernandez said. that cut through the clutter. With this Teaching boomers how to get around goal, online networking tool LinkedIn social networking sites is one thing; presents a good starting point. teaching them the mentality behind it “It’s targeted to business populations. is another. Hernandez sees a long-en- It takes a lot of the personal stuff out,” grained corporate mindset as detrimen- said Scott Testa, a social networking tal to his boomer clients. Hernandez, guru and business professor at Cabrini who spent 28 years of his professional College in Pennsylvania. life in the electrical equipment manufac- turing industry, understands this mind- ElizabEth hEubECk is a contributor in Baltimore. Survey: Retirement expectations Life is Simply Better Here are not always matching reality It is all right here, very convenient and with professional, personal trainers who will develop your own program. Roland Park Place offers the When it comes to retirement, Ameri- “The recession should have been a ca’s 50-somethings seem to be in a state opportunities for staying fit and healthy and vibrant. wake-up call, and it wasn’t,” said Lynne of denial. Ford, head of Wells Fargo Retail Retire- That’s according to the fifth annual ment. Retirement Fitness Survey from Wells About 23 percent of pre-retirees are Fargo & Co. Although the economic saving more for retirement than they downturn has forced people in their 50s were a year ago. Most are saving the to consider working an average of three same amount, and 20 percent are now years longer than they had hoped, their saving less. Those surveyed also have current rate of savings is unlikely to fund been overly optimistic about their in- A Nationally Accredited Not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community the retirement lifestyles they expect. vestment returns, expecting the value of 830 West 40th Street • Baltimore, MD 21211 The firm found that people were plan- their investments to grow by an average ning for retirement to last 21 years, even though they will probably live another 25 of 8.7 percent each year. 410-243-5700 TDD: 1-800-735-2258 to 30 years. kElsEy volkMann | St. Louis Business Journal Visit us at for a virtual tour!