Archive for the ‘A Little Bit About Me’ Category

It’s My Party and I’ll Blog If I Want To

April 16, 2011

Obviously, I let this blog go.  Did I burn out?  Like a moth to a flame. It sucked, because there were so many reasons why I enjoyed writing this.  But things just couldn’t keep going the way that they were.

Here were my mistakes.  Hopefully you’ll pick up a few tips that will help you out.

1.  I spent between 20-30 hours working on this blog a week.  Yeah, you read that right.  The actual writing I did was only one piece of the puzzle.  The promoting is the actual beast.  I participated in relevant chats.  I read blogs and commented with links to posts that I had written.  I just found any way that I could to connect with people and get what I was writing about in their hands.  It’s a lot of work.  Did the work pay off? Fo’ shizzle.  Was I happy about it?  Not really.  I work 40 hours a week at a desk job, and I have things that I like to do that don’t include the computer or social media.  Crazy, I know.  This time around, I’m going to concentrate on work-life balance.  It’s unfortunate, but I think I’ll just concentrate on writing awesomesauce material and if people read it via my channels, great.

2.  I went in with no plan.  I’m not sure if many of you know the real reason why I started this blog.  Well, I read a blog post on Foursquare that made me mad.  I wrote out a reply and realized it was more of a blog post than an actual comment.  So I got onto WordPress, took a few minutes setting up the blog and published.  I had no clue if I’d ever write on it again.  Didn’t really know what I’d write about if I did.  Just wanted to make sure some idiot got a piece of my mind.  Don’t ever do that.  You end up with an albatross hanging around your neck and you don’t want one of those.  Instead, sketch out what you want to do and make sure it’s feasible.  Only then should you publish.  I’m working backwards here and let me tell you, it sucks the big one.

3.  I listened to everyone, but myself.  Everybody has an opinion and in most cases, I’m smart enough to ignore most of those opinions.  However, I wasn’t here.  I heard bloggers should post every day, so I tried to post every day.  I heard bloggers do this, that and the other thing, so I did this, that and the other things.  The problem is that I’m me first and then maybe a blogger.  It’s stupid to ignore that.  What works for me is not going to work for you and vice versa.  This time around, if my inner voice says, “No way in hell,” I’m going to honor that and tell whoever is criticizing me that there’s a fantastic bridge that I would be happy to push them off of.  Remember, in every facet of social media, you don’t have to do anything other than what works FOR YOU.

So there will be no posting schedule.  I’ll only post when I have something to say.  Luckily, I have a lot to say right now, so you definitely can look for more soon.  In the meantime, any topics you’d like to see me cover?


The Public Education System, Depression & Bullying

October 21, 2010

My 16 year old niece quit high school.  My beautiful, talented and smart 16 year old niece quit high school.  Those words have been clunking around in my head these past couple of days.  Was it a surprise?  Not really.  I’ve seen it coming for awhile.  Did it make my cry?  Yes.  I don’t know what her future holds for her now, but I know whatever it is, it’s probably not good enough for her.

For those that aren’t familiar with the situation, here’s a little back story.  After failing 9th grade for the first time, my niece flat out refused to go back to school.  That is when the flood of revelations started coming out.  My niece was diagnosed with clinical depression and went through a series of medications to find out what worked for her.  The school, however, did not recognize this diagnosis as they should have.  Instead of working with my sister to re-introduce my niece in a positive way back into the school system, they took the hard line.  They were going to put my niece into a program that would require her to wear sweats to school and no makeup.  They gave her a probation officer.  They did everything but try to address the problem that was actually going on.  My niece was severely depressed and needed help getting through the day, but they refused to recognize that.

And then the bullying started.  As many of you can tell, my own struggles with depression has sometimes made social interaction hard and at times, impossible.  I don’t innately know what the normal social rules are and have had to teach myself many of them.  My niece is in the same boat.  If kids weren’t bullying her over the fact that she wasn’t in school, they were bullying her over things that she would say.  And I honestly understand when she says that she doesn’t realize that what she said was wrong.  She just doesn’t have that ability to realize that she’s being offensive.  There were Facebook pages put up against her.  Parents were even ganging up against her.  If she was feeling like the whole world was against her, it was with good reason.  The school’s reaction?  Very little.

I know some of you would say that my niece may have brought some of this on herself.  I think it’s impossible to say that about someone that has depression.  When she wasn’t going to school, it was because she physically couldn’t get out of bed.  When she was saying things that were out of line, it was because she honestly didn’t realize they were out of line.  So let’s do a little change-a-roo.  What if my niece’s diagnosis had been cancer?  What if she couldn’t have gone to school because of the cancer treatments?  What if kids were making fun of her because of the side effects of cancer?  I think it’s exactly the same thing.  And yes, the final outcome of depression can be just as deadly as any cancer.

So now a little girl that used to love school and used to be quite good at it is sitting at home trying to figure out what to do next in a world where education means everything.  A big thanks to the school system that failed my niece.

How to Sexually Harass a Girl on Twitter

October 19, 2010

Lately, I’ve gotten a few weird DMs that have just boggled my mind.  They leave me wondering if guys actually bother really reading my stream or are just not caring.  But the thing that really struck me was the fact that these guys had no clue that they were creeping me out.  So yeah, I decided to help some brothers out.  Yes, you totally have no chance with me (unless you are better looking, funnier and smarter than my boyfriend and I assure you that you are not), but that does not mean that I can’t help you creep on another girl in a completely uncreepy way.

Don’t call a girl hot

The word “hot” is a great word to describe the temperature.  If you call a girl hot, you’ve just screwed yourself, especially on Twitter.  There is just no way of using that word to describe a girl in a funny or clever way.  Drop it from your vocabulary now.

The best alternative is the word “cute”.  It’s non-threatening.  It describes the personality more than looks.  And anyways, remember that you have never really seen most of these girls, so you have no clue whether they are actually hot.  But from their stream, you can tell if they’re cute.

Don’t tell the girl that you’re better than her boyfriend

The chances of this being true are like next to nothing.  Plus, the girl probably actually likes her boyfriend despite what her stream says (Yes, I do like Mike).  Slamming someone that she genuinely likes will only screw you over and will only make you seem like a slimy insecure loser.

The alternative here is to just show off your cool self.  Don’t mention the boyfriend at all.  Just be you.  Getting into the friend zone with a girl that you have a crush on who is currently taken is not a bad thing.  And if she ends up getting out of that relationship, then you can push forward.  But just be a friend until then.

Don’t post pictures that you wouldn’t want your mother to see

This covers lots of things.  If a girl sees the constant partying, you’re not serious and therefore are not boyfriend material.  If you post pictures of a certain body part, well, no girl wants to see that.  It could be the best looking one of those thing-a-majiggers in the whole wide world, and still, no girl wants to see that.  Once again, I assure you that no girl wants to see that.

So yeah, um, stop, think, stop again, think about your mother and then tweet.

Don’t just talk to the girl

If your whole stream is just at-replies to this girl, wow.  Are we a little obsessed?  Do we not have friends?  Are we maybe stalking?  This is true even if you are putting in some regular tweets in there.  If all of your at-replies are just to one person, you’re not using Twitter right.  Does this mean that you switch all of those creepy at-replies to DMs?  Please God no.  Even creepier.

A few at-replies here and there are okay, but diversify.  Creep on multiple girls and throw in a guy every once in awhile to make it look like you’re not on Twitter just for the possible sex.

Do actually read what the girl is tweeting about

If you ask the girl something like how her Mr. Fluffypants is feeling after just having visited the vet, that shows that you genuinely care about something that is going on in her life.  It shows that you don’t want to just sex her up.  Do you really care about Mr. Fluffypants?  99% of guys could care less about Mr. Fluffypants, but the girl does.  That’s what matters.

And if the girl happens to ask back about how you did in last night’s softball game, well, that’s a good sign that she’s at least reading your stream too.  But I do need to qualify this because I’m a quasi-stalker out of pure boredom.  A girl asking you a question about what’s going on in your life in no way means that she has a crush on you.  Still proceed with caution.

Do be awesome

Be who you are and be your most awesome version of that.  This way, you don’t have to keep up with lies and you won’t tire yourself out from having to keep putting on an act.  No girl is interested in the act.  And remember, when you lie on the Internet, you are always found out and you will always look like a dick.

So what is the moral of the story: The rules for hitting on girls on Twitter are EXACTLY the same as in real life.  Abide by them and be respectful.  And most importantly, no one wants to see that Twitpic.

Any other words of advice for the guys?


September 1, 2010

There is really nothing I hate more than mediocrity.  I’ve spent most of my life pushing myself to be the best, to be interesting and to be something.  That’s why I’m kind of dismayed at what I’ve become.  I’m not special.  I’m not all that interesting.  And well, I don’t know what I am.

Do I hate my life?  Not really.  I have a pretty charmed life.  I have a boyfriend that I love.  No kids, but that has more to do with not really wanting any right now than anything else.  I have an awesome cat.  Great friends.  I get basically whatever I want.  This is a trait that was encouraged as a child and developed into a career for awhile.  If I don’t get it, there’s a good chance that I didn’t really want it.

So what’s the problem?  Nothing really.  I guess I just thought there was more.  I thought that I was going to find that thing that would define me, be it a career or something else.  The fact that I haven’t is kind of disheartening and a bit of a head scratcher.  Shouldn’t I have something figured out by now and shouldn’t I be uber-passionate about that one thing?  Probably.

Sigh.  Not even my existential crisis is all that interesting.

So that leaves me to the real question of life: Do I remain mediocre and on all accounts pretty happy?  Or do I start pushing through this mediocrity and give in to that philosopher in me that needs to figure things out?  And if I am pushing through, what am I pushing towards?  Do I struggle towards greatness for the sake of greatness?  That seems like the most boring option yet.  Maybe I don’t need a goal?  I’m too goal-oriented for that.  Maybe I’m just trying to move towards figuring things out.  But that isn’t much of anything either.  I mean, in the end, what am I trying to figure out?

Anybody else here?

(I’m probably on a string of writing some personal posts.  I apologize to my readers that are here strictly for tourism, association and social media stuff.)

Thank God for Breaks

July 20, 2010

Here’s just a few thoughts about what I learned from taking a weekend off from social media:

  1. Foursquare is kind of necessary to my life now:  I get lost a lot.  Most people use Google maps or some variation to find where they’re going.  Me?  I use Foursquare.  I don’t need a correct address and I can still get at least a general idea of how close I am.  This came in handy when I was given a bum address over the weekend, but I was still in the vicinity of where I needed to be.  Only wasted a moderate amount of time instead of driving in circles hoping that I was close.  This was the lone time that I cheated on the blackout.
  2. I didn’t feel as tempted as I thought I would: I was sick and in bed most of the weekend so I was nervous about how bad the temptation would get.  After I turned everything off though, it was nice.  I had some quality time with the boyfriend and the cat.  I actually watched tv instead of using it as background noise.  I wrote.  I read.  I was taking everything in and not trying to do ten things at once.  It felt good.
  3. I didn’t miss much: The important things were easily relayed to me.  The rest?  Not so important.  I don’t need to know everything and it’s probably healthier that I stop trying to.
  4. I still could talk to people: I don’t leave my networks just on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social media site.  I tend to get emails and phone numbers.  I was still very much in touch with people that I couldn’t pass a weekend without.
  5. The boyfriend is funnier when he’s not scared that I’m going to post it on Facebook: Our conversations over the weekend were hysterical.  They usually are, but they were taken to a whole new level of funny.  I don’t know for sure that this was intentional but I do know I laughed a lot more this past weekend than I normally do.
  6. I need to do this more often: This may become a monthly ritual.  Mental health breaks are good for you and I definitely need more of them.

So basically, I feel so much better than I did last week.  I like what I do on social media and this weekend really confirmed to me that I’m doing it right by my standards.  The fact that I had a deluge of questions Monday morning about how to do several things also confirmed this.  So now, enough of this… We’ll be getting back to the juicy stuff now.

SoMe Burnout

July 16, 2010

So on Sunday, I started working on getting this blog up and running again.  I was doing it out of more of an obligation to this project, because I felt like I couldn’t work on another project with a clean conscience until this one was up and running again.  So naturally, I was doing my usual must-do-500-things-at-once and had True Blood on at the same time.  As a joke, I announced to my Twitter followers that I might make a left turn in my post and start randomly talking about vampires.  That joke ended up starting a funny little conversation.

At first, some friends voiced their disappointment that the post did not in fact include vampires.  Then, one of them piped up with, “Do you know what would be cool?  A post on SoMe vampires.”  This was soon followed up with a definition (those that suck the fun out of our social media life) and a list of the types of people that fit that description.  The most comical type that was brought up was of course happy people.  And yes, people that are constantly happy on Twitter do make me want to stab a puppy.

The result of this conversation was that I realized that I’m not alone.  I’m burnt out and a lot of the people that I admire seem to feel the same.  I don’t know if any of us can point to something exact, but I do think it may have something to do with an influx of rude people.  Everyone I’m close to on Twitter LOVES to teach.  I think all of us have a healthy respect for the fact that if this is to go on, we need to pass on what we know.  Unfortunately, this has meant that we have left ourselves open to be taken advantage of and to be criticized for the positions we put ourselves in.  I don’t think this is the only issue, but I think it might be part of the problem.

Whatever it is, this means that we start cocooning ourselves into our happy little groups where no one will bother us.  Even though this makes us happy, it’s bad.  Very, very bad.  It means that we are not going outside of ourselves as much to seek inspiration and then we get less and less in touch with what is practical.  It also means that we are less likely to teach unless forced and so the cocoon gets tighter.

On this note, I am taking the weekend off from just about all channels.  That does not mean that I’m really taking time off from social media.  I am actually going to start writing for a creative writing blog that I hope to debut next week.  I am allowing that only because that is the only idea that really energizes me right now.  As for the rest, I hope taking a couple of days away will bring me back to you as excited as I used to be.

(This is probably a post that should not have been written.  I want to note that the vast majority of people I interact with on my various networks are inspiring and amazing people.  I especially love watching the newbies as they discover all of the things they can do on the particular channels.  I can’t wait to be refreshed enough to appreciate your awesomeness again!)

Angrily Travelling to New York

May 28, 2010

As you are reading this, I am currently locked in a car… with Mike… for six or so hours.  There is a very good possibility that I’m holding a sign up to the window that says, “Help me.”  Or that I’ve killed him.

Love is a wonderful thing and in our case, a special thing.  Although I will mention him briefly from time, it’s going to be rare that I actually talk about him in depth.  See, Mike has chosen not to participate in the social space and as his not-his-wife, I have chosen to honor that to the extent that I can reasonably do so, although it is ever so hard.

The problem with us is that we are both fiercely independent and stubborn.  Add to that the fact that we both are socially awkward and well… you have comedy gold.  To not be able to talk about this comedy…  You don’t know how hard that is.  His usual statement to me is, “This is not to go up on Facebook.”  My usual threat to him, “If you piss me off, I’m going to talk about you on Twitter.”  And now I have this blog where I could really get into the juicy stuff.  Yes, my friends, it is such a great temptation.

So here we are right now, trapped in a car for more time than we usually spend together over the course of the work week.  Music will be argued, driving styles will be commented on and we will tell each other to shut the hell up at least ten times an hour.  But this is love and it makes us pretty happy.

Why I’m Not That Into Having a Large Follower Base

May 26, 2010

A while ago, I all of a sudden had a jump in my follower count and realized there were some creepy people that I had never tweeted with replying to my tweets.  Although I knew that my cute wit usually does make the creepy guys come a-callin’, I figured something had happened and searched for the source of the issue.  Yup, I had written a funny tweet about my obsessive need to be mayor of MY Starbucks and @Starbucks retweeted it.

My first reaction was, “Crap,” but you know, with a slightly more foul tinge to it.  My first action: To write a tweet that has been repeated several times with a few variations on it.  It went sort of like this: “Hi new followers! Thanks for the follow. I am extremely boring and don’t tweet about Starbucks very often. You can unfollow now.”

Why do I write tweets like that?  Didn’t I just hit the proverbial mother of all retweets and should be beyond ecstatic with all of the new followers?  Eh, not really.  See these people were following me because Starbucks decided I had something interesting to say.  The problem with that is that I rarely have something interesting to say to people that would follow Starbucks.  I mostly talk about social media in tourism and associations, as well as my silly life.  Every once in awhile, my silly life will be applicable to these followers (I do show my obsessive nature about my mayorship at least once a week), but for the most part, not so much.

My social media life has been built on the premise of creating relationships and strengthening those relationships both online and off.  Well, these new follows weren’t based on any kind of relationship and were probably not going to grow into one.  (I know…  I just disappointed a whole slew of creepy guys, but if it makes you guys feel any better, I’m older than I look and I am way too much trouble for you.)  So they were kind of a waste of my time and in the end theirs.

That’s why I was a little pissed about the Starbucks retweet.  I had to go through tweets in my reply feed that made me uncomfortable and these guys were trying to forge a relationship that wasn’t going to happen because it wasn’t mutually beneficial.  Does this make me a bitch?  I don’t think so, but definitely feel free to tell me I am in the comments.  I think this just shows that I have a limited amount of time (as I am sure these guys do) and want to make sure that this time is spent on possibly fruitful pursuits (once again, as I am sure these guys do).  Therefore, I am more concerned in finding those quality followers and am very rarely concerned with my follower count.

So can someone explain to me why you want quantity?  Besides, of course, that’s what my boss wants.

No, Really… I’m Shy, I Promise

May 21, 2010

I was at happy hour recently talking to someone that I had met up with only once before.  I was chatting like a teenage girl on crack.  I caught myself and was surprised.  This was not normal.  I mentioned something to this new friend about how I am painfully shy and she replied, “Um, no you’re not.”  After my insistence that I really am quite shy, I realized it was a losing battle.

As much as I would love to say that it was the person (@prtini is fantastic after all), I think my love of social media has really brought out a brand new side of my personality.  I usually only talk around people that I have known for a long time and am extremely comfortable with.  The second that I feel uncomfortable, even around these long term friends, I shut up.  Get me around a room of experts on any topic and my brain goes blank.  You wouldn’t be able to get me to talk if you paid me.  This is just the way it always has been and I have always been comfortable with the fact that I will never be a good networker because of this.

Flash forward to now.  It is not unusual for you to see me in the center of a happy hour group and not awkwardly.  I’m gushing about how I figured out how to do something really cool, asking for details on how someone is doing something that I really admire and telling stories about Mike the Boyfriend.  I don’t even think twice about questioning people that I really respect in this field.  I also feel like if I were in a room of experts, I would not only be able to hold my own, but I would also start some arguments!

This has been a huge adjustment for me.  I have always claimed to hate people, but this new development has resulted in me seeking out more geeks.  I go out way more than I ever have and have become much more of a joiner to the point where Mike has asked me if I plan on being home any time soon.  (In answer to that Mike, no.  Being home would make me have to face everything I need to clean.)  It has all became a little disturbing, in more ways than one.

So in conclusion, where my geeks at?  Wanna grab a drink?

Off to Chicago…

May 14, 2010

By the time you read this, I might already be dead.  Okay, maybe not dead, but I will certainly be on my way to an adventure.  But I have to take you back before I can tell you about it.

Last August, I got a DM on Twitter from a work colleague saying that she was sending someone my way that was interested in a Twitter chat I was doing for work.  I exchanged some DMs with this person that recognized my obvious genius and then we ended up on the phone.  After a conversation that was basically about how awesome I was, I figured I never would talk to this person ever again.

And then there was that evening…  That evening when I watched an out of control discussion happening on Twitter.  I will not reveal details (mostly because I can’t remember them), but I found my people.  Soon after, I became initiated into the cult…  A cult that I frankly never want to leave.  We have leaned on each other through work projects and personal issues.  We have cheered each other on and talked each other off the ledge.  Okay, so we’ve egged each on when we’ve had some insane ideas too.  That’s what friends are for.

Our proudest achievement has been our little project called #tourismchat, but I’m not going to talk about that here.  If you want to learn more about that, Sarah Page wrote a wonderful post on #tourismchat that will answer most of your questions.  Needless to say, we have had a lot of fun, but have gotten a lot done too.

This trip got planned so that we could come together as a group and um, have fun.  Yeah, that’s what we’ll call what the plans were.  Family and work obligations unfortunately got in the way and it has now turned into me randomly driving to Chicago to spend a weekend with someone I have never met in real life.  Yes, that’s why I said I may be dead already, but even though we have not met in real life, I know I’m driving to meet my newly discovered sister.

@WhosYourAnnie, I can’t wait to finally meet you in real life!  Who could have guessed those random DMs and phone call last August would spark such awesomeness?  @pagetx, @mobethann and @oregonkat, we are so beyond sad you can’t join us.  Another #Geekcation that includes the whole cult cannot come fast enough for me!  So when is that going to be again?