Instagram Inspiration

As a social media specialist, part of my job is monitoring all social media sites for people talking about us. Most of the time, I end up having to inform people that we actually donate the money people give us, and not pocket it. It is draining dealing with how rude people can be, but one discovered tweet makes ciphering through all the bullshit absolutely worth it. A girl tweeted a link to Instagram, which she labeled as a picture she bought to support us. Obviously, this intrigued me, as I didn't know of a picture promotion we were having, so I clicked. And what I found was the most inspirational piece of social media content that I've ever seen.

A five year old boy is hand drawing pictures of all his favorite animals to sell to friends and family in order to buy chickens for a family in need. He's five and already has a bigger heart than anyone I've ever met. Naturally, I wanted to write about it, because who can honestly hear about what he is doing and not want to find a simple way to give back, just like him.

I reached out to the mother, who was incredibly proud -- as she should be. I could not wait to write about this young boy, yet when I sat down to write, all I could think of was writing about how moved I was from what he was doing.

Clearly there is something wrong with me that I couldn't get past my own feelings to write about him. I was just so enamored with this kid's story that it was essentially blinding me from being able to write about him without writing about me feeling so strongly about it. As if, I believed that people would not understand how amazing he is, unless I said how incredible I thought he was explicitly in the story.

And that's when my writer's block broke. This five year old's passion for drawing and helping people reignited my passion's flame for writing. I knew I had to write a great piece in order to capture his story. I needed to figure my shit out in honor of this kid.

The post is still in progress, but after staring at the screen for what was close to an hour, I was finally able to break ground on writing a piece that captures how wonderful the five year old is without including myself in the article. I'm very excited to be back in the writing mode. I've made it over a huge hump, all thanks to a little kid drawing some really meaningful pictures.

Sorry for the Spam

Last night, I was pretty excited to try out this new website I had found that marketing itself as a place for people to communicate with others that share their interests on Twitter. In my head, that meant it was a forum for tweet chats, so I signed myself up and then went ahead with selecting industries and topics I was interested in. The next step seemed a little blurry, as I didn't fully understand where exactly the tweet chats were going to occur, but I allowed access to my Twitter account regardless, because that would make sense for them to have so I could tweet to all of the accounts of similar interests, right?

Wrong. So, so, so wrong. And if it hadn't been for my favorite internet troll of a friend, I would never have known what a pile of wrong I had stepped in. Here is what my twitter feed looked like to me yesterday:

Normal tweets from my feed

And here (apparently) is what my new forum posted on my behalf:

Tweets I did not know were being sent

Great. I accidentally signed myself up for a spam followers generator. And you know what's even more saddening: it promoted that I got 882 new followers, and I didn't even get any new followers, nor do I even have 800 followers.

If this all isn't embarrassing enough, what's worse is that I can't even delete them because I CAN'T EVEN SEE THEM. My only course of action, now, has been to delete them out of my access list. So the lesson here is clearly don't give out Twitter access to just anyone, even if they make it sound like a nice place to go and discuss your feelings, because they may be tweeting out creepy spam to all your friends.

Mean Tweets

So one of the best things I've seen lately is Jimmy Kimmel's "Mean Tweets" segment. He has quite a few versions of them, but my favorite is the music version (probably solely because of Lil' Wayne's tweet and his reaction). Anyways, the main premise is celebrities reading mean tweets that people have sent out about them/ to them. It's hilarious how incredibly rude some people are, but also goes to show how detached people are from what they say on social media. Hell, I'm even guilty of it to some extent. And now, in some twist of fate, part of my job is going through what people are saying about my company on social media and try to mediate when I can. One of our primary tactics for fundraising is through commercials, which, to put it gently, really aims to evoke massive amounts of pathos from viewers in order to get them to donate. The spokesperson is a fatherly looking, older gentleman and takes a grunt of the cyber-bullying that our organization faces. I really hope he doesn't have a twitter, because people are not very nice about the poor guy, when all he is trying to do is raise some money for our cause.

From being called a "fat dick" to an "ugly santa claus in the off season," he gets absolutely ridiculed on a regularly basis. I am still fairly new and have not personally met him, but I would assume- as he actually contributes to the cause which he is advocating- that he is not actually a dick. And he actually isn't even THAT fat. I mean does he have  few extra pounds? Sure, but I would not so much to even categorize him as fat. And regardless of if he is, I am not sure why that takes away from his humanitarian effort.

What I wish more than anything is for people to press the pause and think about why they are so passionately rude to people online.  What has any celebrity done to you, or our spokesperson for that matter? What gives you the right to ridicule someone just because there is an open forum for it? Maybe before pressing the send button, consider that the person that you are saying that about might actually read it, and it may even hurt their feelings.

The Top 3 Revelations of the Week

A few years ago, a professor said that everyday you should write down three good things that happened to you. Of course I tried it and only completed two days worth before I forgot about it. So now I've set my sights a little lower, and came up with three pretty cool things that happened to me this week that I didn't even know could happen. 1. Cyber coffee: It's no secret I am a disaster until I get a cup of coffee in the morning, so naturally when I got an email saying that someone sent me $10 to Starbucks, it was the highlight of my morning. Then my day got even better when my ex-professor tweeted me a free cup of coffee. Who even knew you could do that? I didn't until now, but what I do know is that combines my two favorite things: social media and caffeine.

2. I have loved Fall Out Boy since the beginning of time, but have never gotten to see them live until this week! I am always nervous to see bands live in case they suck and then I won't like them anymore, but I wasn't too concerned about that happening in this case, as all my friends said they were good live, but they totally exceeded my expectation. There's something about being surrounded by a huge mass of humanity that all adore the same thing as you that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The feeling I got from seeing the band I loved most in high school is something I can't even explain, or even thought I would feel as strongly about. There's nothing in the world that feels as good as music.


3. I discovered Pinterest analytics, which I didn't know existed until this week, and was able to prove its worth to some new guy that flat out told me social media held no value. By being able to demonstrate the high click through rate to the website not only made me feel like I am actually useful, but also silenced the smug new guy. Boom.

What would you add to your list of 3?

That Day I Spent Trying to Engage Famous People

Sometimes I get bored and read articles pertaining to my profession. I found this one awhile back that said that one way to get more followers and a higher Klout score is to engage with people that have more Klout than you. Duly noted. I never really acted on this advice until recently. I thought a less direct way to engage with people that will get my name known would be to use a hashtag that would make me famous. Obviously, I'm taking about the #InsertBandNameTODAY hashtag from the Today Show. (For those of you not familiar, every morning while the band plays, they show tweets that use the hashtag of the name of the band with TODAY at the end of it). After a week of trying to get my tweets on tv with no success, I gave up on that technique.

Then I moved to tweeting about products I liked, such as telling Panera I was craving a sandwich, or that Keurig coffee in the office was a real bonus. That got boring quick, as I'd essential get nothing more than a thanks.

So then I decided to aim a bit higher. I spent a day tweeting bands, celebrities, politicians, basically everyone about what I liked about them. I tweeted to one of the Congressmen that said they'd volunteer to not get paid during the shutdown. I tweeted to Ed Sheeran about one of his songs. I got nothing back from anyone. Then I got sad, CNN was on, and Jake Tapper came on with a bad looking hair do. So I tweeted about it.


Tweet to Jake Tapper

I felt like a dick. The poor guy is covering the government shutdown and instead of me saying, "great coverage, way to ask the tough questions," or something, he gets to look at his Twitter and see me dissing his hair.

Then I tried to mediate it and say that his hair doesn't look that bad. I threw in a smiley face for good measure, only then have instant regret for thoughts it seemed creepy that I just did that. Whoops.

I think I'll stick to not tweeting at famous people from now on in fear I might actually get a response.

Sometimes, there CAN be such a thing as too much enthusiasm

So now that I'm running my own independent beauty consulting business, I decided that I needed to back it up with social media. This was a natural inclination, as social media is my daytime profession. Plus, I had it worked out in my head that the more I sold online, the less legwork I would need to do in real life. So along came my alter ego, Sara at Mary Kay. She has this fancy little fan Facebook page and a Twitter handle to match. I went through and invited my friends to like the page and gave about a 10 second thought as to what to schedule onto it. Then I turned my sights onto my new Twitter persona.

I really saw Twitter as my outlet to new fans for many reasons, such as Twitter's longer history of hash tags, trending topics, and a general attitude that its not creepy to follow strangers. So I went Twitter-crazy. @SaraAtMaryKay went through and followed almost anyone talking about makeup, Mary Kay, skincare, or even just in the geographic vicinity of Richmond. Then she started retweeting like it was going out of style. Just to top it all off, she started mentioning lots of people that she whimsically decided would be interested.

Then Twitter blocked @SaraAtMaryKay.

Down went my non de plum. Thankfully, it only lasted for about an hour, and @SaraAtMaryKay was back in the game.

One may assume that after being blocked for being considered spammy, you would breathe and reign in the crazy Twitter horses. Nay. @SaraAtMaryKay continued to trek on. I had that account go through my real account and follow everyone that I thought would want to follow my makeup persona. I did a bit more retweeting, and just like that I was suspended (which means that you have to sit through several days of Twitter jail while they decide if you are allowed back on the site).

I was livid. How was I going to launch this great new endeavor if Twitter keeps taking me offline? So what if I condensed an entire day of reasonable Twitter engagement into an hour? So what if I spent my lunch hour blowing up the feeds of my followers?

Then it hit me.

Twitter is about people. No one wants to see me throwing myself at them. It was basically Twitter trying to tell me I was being desperate and needed to get my shit together. Basically I was being that drunk girl at a bar that just won't shut up so that everyone else can enjoy a bit of discourse. She just keeps blurting things out and hoping someone latches on to at least something she said, when in reality they're just rolling their eyes.

Sometimes, there can be too much enthusiasm. It's great that I wanted everyone to know I was selling markup, but I needed to direct all that emotion into digestible packages. I wouldn't want people doing that to me, so why was I doing it? Better yet, I work in social media, so how was I so deluded into thinking that this was okay?

My best answer is simply  one word: enthusiasm. It's hard to gauge how much is too when you're excessively excited about something. Not everyone will want to hear about your passions 24/7. That doesn't mean they don't want to hear it, just that they want it in moderation. Keep your readers in mind and just consider: how pissed would you be if someone blew up your feed with all the content you are producing?