Just my two cents

Musings on social media and the world as I see it


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Forget FOMO. I’ve got FOBF – fear of being forgotten

ambulance at night.This July, I took a two-week vacation from work. It was the first time I can remember that I took a hiatus that long from work. I promised myself and the Mr. that I was going to unplug. So with the exception of a few personal Facebook status updates and deleting unnecessary emails from my inboxes, I was mostly MIA from all things social & tech.

The day I returned, I wrote a post for my blog and I thought I would start doing more frequent posts, since I was feeling so rested and ready to get back to things. Then at 10:00 that night my mom called to tell me she had just called the rescue for my dad. My parents are in their mid-80s, and so that phone call in the middle of the night is something I always dread.

That night was spent in the emergency department, and my dad was finally admitted at 5:15 a.m. I drove my mom home as the sun was rising. I had to start working in just a couple hours, and I was just heading home. As I was driving, I thought to myself that I couldn’t remember the last time I was coming home at sun rise. Leaving for the gym at that time is much more my speed now that I’m a 40-something and not a 20-something.

Of course, with that night in the ED, the vacation and the relaxation that came with it quickly became a distant memory. For the next two weeks I would pick my mom up and drive her to the hospital, where I worked on my laptop from my dad’s hospital room.

During that time, I did everything I had to for work, but I feel like I was barely a presence on Twitter or Facebook or Google+ (which wasn’t often for me on a good week!). As for my blog, well, it hasn’t seen a post since this all started, until this one. While I’m thrilled to report that my dad is now home and on the second part of his recovery, I’m feeling completely forgotten in social media.

There were a few wonderful people (and they know who they are) who often asked how dad was doing and expressed genuine care and concern. I’m especially grateful for those amazing people both in Twitter and in the real world. It’s astounding how quickly you find out who your real friends are when you’re in a crisis. (And there’s a lesson in here for brands too… the same is true of those loyal followers you’ve built through your social media efforts. They will come to your aid in a crisis!)

It’s taken me all these paragraphs to get to my point: I get nervous about not being more visible, not being a regular contributor or a regular blogger. I feel badly about not keeping in touch with people on Twitter or reading their blogs with any set frequency. And I feel like I’ve let people down by not sharing the great info they’re putting out there. I’m not suffering from FOMO, I’m suffering from what I’m coining the “Fear Of Being Forgotten,” or FOBF.

But in the long run, is it just our own minds that tells us we should feel badly about taking this hiatus from the social world? Does anyone really care if we’re not visible or not blogging or commenting for a while? More importantly, does anyone really notice? I’m sure the people who we are in touch with regularly would notice, but in the big scheme of things, does it really matter?

Personally, I’m hoping it doesn’t matter, because this FOBF can really weigh on you! Have you ever felt this way?


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Darn you RSS feed!

RSSI love reading. Whether it’s books, web sites, blogs, magazines, I love to read. And working in PR and social media, reading is necessary to keep up with news of the day, what is trending or the hot topics du jour.

Over the last few years, I’ve built quite a list of blogs I like to read. It’s so easy when you come across something you like and you just hit that little RSS button and add it to your reader. My list is a mix of social and tech sites and personal blogs from really great, really smart people who wax eloquently and often about a variety of topics, including social media.

I love the mix of topics, from Bonnie Sashin talking about her beloved grandson Jack or what it’s like to row on the Charles River in the morning on Bonnie’s On It, to Jayme Soulati’s brilliant thoughts on marketing in today’s world on Soulati-tude (even the name is fab!), to the straight talking, no holds barred honesty of Gini Dietrich on the amazing Spin Sucks blog, absolutely one of my long-standing faves. Then of course there’s the brilliant Shelly Kramer who has given me more tips and tricks that use on a daily basis, along with wonderful commentary on so many topics on her V3 Kansas City Integrated Marketing blog.  I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t include Margie Clayman and her wide mix of topics (which is what I absolutely adore about this blog, not to mention her lovely writing style) on Margie’s Moments of Tiyoweh. And then there’s the amazing Geoff Livingston who recently started writing longer, more thoughtful, beautifully written posts that are thoroughly enjoyable and an escape from the norm, which I just love.

Of course these are just a handful of my favorite bloggers, and I could go on and on (and on!) with many more from my reader, which is Feedly since Google announced it wouldn’t offer Reader anymore. Sigh. Don’t get me started on that. But I digress. My point is, I could spend my entire day and most nights trying to keep up with my reader, reading the thoughts that come from these brilliant minds that are then crafted so beautifully into a wonderful little package we know as a blog.

The problem is how do you keep up? My days are filled from morning to night just managing my job responsibilities, and rarely getting to that list of “I should do that when I get a chance” tasks (I bet you’re nodding your head right now in complete understanding!). I hadn’t been on my reader in a while and today I had 724 new posts to peruse. Yes, 724. So I can either scroll through and delete most and maybe have some time to read the ones that really jump out at me, or I can mark them all as read and start over tomorrow.

But being my father’s daughter and never wanting to throw anything away, I find it impossible to do the latter, so I will start the slow process of going through my list and saving many for later reading, some of which I’ll get to and some I won’t, and I’ll be obsessed with the fact that I missed a vital piece of hot info, or an opinion by one of my fave bloggers that was just not to be missed. You know the feeling, right?

So for now, I’m going to end this post and head over to my reader. But I’m wondering what your favorite blogs are, and how you manage to keep up with your reading. I’m sure I’m not alone in this dilemma!


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Another day, another tragedy?

Photo from Wikipedia.

Photo from Wikipedia.

Is it just me, or does it seem like lately we’ve been hit with one tragedy after another? Today, we awoke to the total devastation in the town of Moore, Oklahoma, after a nearly 2-mile wide tornado swept through, leaving it in total ruin.

Because I had to be at an early morning panel discussion on the use of social media, my normal routine was way off. I did not see the morning news, or tune into Twitter or Facebook first thing this morning. When I finally did get to social, I find myself asking if people are becoming immune to these tragedies.

From my streams and newsfeeds, it seems that so many people were basically sticking to their own agendas. I even looked through the tweet stream of hospitals across the country and was shocked and slightly appalled to see that many were just carrying on with business as usual.

Is it just me? Am I being overly sensitive? Am I wrong to think that we need to be a little more respectful in the social sphere and acknowledge what is going on? Is it inappropriate to step away from our self-serving agendas for even a day? I know I’ve posted about this before, right after the Boston bombings. But for some reason, it seems like less attention is being given to the countless number of victims of Mother Nature’s latest wrath in Oklahoma than tragedies in the past, and I’m not sure why.

Even my hometown paper, the Providence Journal, apparently didn’t think Oklahoma was Page One news. Seriously? This has been called one of the worst tornadoes of all time. Families lost children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles… not to mention those who were wounded, and all of their possessions gone. Of course possessions can be replaced, but people can’t.

I am saluting the amazing folks at @NormalRegional who in the midst of their own tragedy are tweeting and posting important updates to their Facebook page to help people find their loved ones, to direct moms-to-be as to where they can deliver their child, and other important information, from a hospital that was leveled, by the way.

And yet the rest of us go on tweeting about Lasik surgery (really?) and “want to make your hot body hotter?” (I kid you not.)

Maybe it is just me, but I choose to be respectful of what people are going through and put aside the company’s social media marketing efforts FOR ONE DAY in favor of supporting our fellow man. If that seems silly to you, then maybe I’m in the wrong business. (And I must add in here that I’m so grateful to have a director who is of a like mind and believes that we need to show a little respect during times of tragedy. Phew.)

But in this writer’s opinion, showing sympathy for your fellow man and trying to understand their plight during a difficult time will speak more loudly for your brand than any other tweet or Facebook post you might want to put out there. Do you agree or am I alone in this thinking?


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Feeling inept and guilty. How to find that happy medium.

???????????????????????This weekend I had a lot of plans. In addition to my normal weekend social media postings for work. I was hoping to get to a nursery to select two flowering bushes. I was also hoping to get caught up on my RSS feed which has been sorely overlooked lately. Identifying a few blog ideas and  getting some thoughts down would have been nice too. Finally, I wanted to figure out how to get iTunes home sharing to work so I could get the awesome workout playlist my hubby, Mr. J., made for me onto my iPhone.

And guess what I did. NONE of them! I got my social postings done and did get to the gym on both days, but I got NOTHING done that was on my to-do list. And as a result, I’m starting the week feeling inept and guilty. Inept because I’m feeling very behind on everything, and unable to catch up and make headway and guilty for not having focused my attention on the things I needed to.

Instead I relaxed, read some of the new book I started, and even dozed off for a few brief, wonderful minutes on Saturday afternoon! On Sunday morning, I visited a friend with my dogs for a doggie playdate. Then later I enjoyed a quiet afternoon lunch and cocktail while watching the Red Sox game with Mr. J at one of our fave local places.

Weekends are meant to be enjoyed, right? But when we do, how many of us are left feeling this way because of all the demands we feel from our professional lives, and the need to keep up in social networks. Is it worth relaxing if we start our Monday feeling guilty, inept, and completely unorganized?

And I wonder, what is the solution… to stay up to date and on top of things and never take time to enjoy life and relax? There has to be a happy medium, right?

How do YOU find the happy medium in your life? Do you set time aside, do you follow rigid schedules, do you never relax? Share your secrets to managing it all! There’s plenty of people who could use some tips.


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Let passion and emotion drive your blog writing

passion dictionaryThis was supposed to have been my “year of blogging.” That was my new year’s resolution. I wanted to write a minimum of two posts each week AND participate more in the blogosphere as well by reading more, commenting, etc. Well it’s now almost half way through the year (seriously??) and I have to say I wouldn’t give myself very high marks. While I’ve done more blogging than in the past, and I’ve tried to be a better reader, despite my good intentions I haven’t fulfilled my resolution.

What I’ve learned though, is that my muse for blogging is a strong emotion. Let me explain what I mean. When the Boston Bombings happened, I was inspired to write four different posts within a very short period of time. That’s a definite record for me. Why? Because I was passionate about it. I had so many emotions about the whole thing, and it’s clear that it was passion that was driving me to want to write about it. It was a combination of several factors, I think: a need to come to terms with what happened, a chance to explore my own feelings on the horror of it all, a way to connect with others, and a chance to reflect on how things have changed so greatly over time because of social media.

I truly believe that if you don’t have strong feelings about your subject, it’s probably not going to be a very good piece anyway, right? (Kind of like this one, but sometimes we just have to rant.) Ask me for 500 words about how I feel sitting on a beach on a beautiful summer day? No problem. Want to read about what dogs can do for your life? I can give you thousands in a few minutes! Why? Because I love those things. Because those things instill an emotion in me and have some sort of impact my life. If you’re NOT connected to something, your readers will be able to tell. I don’t think you can fake passion, well, at least in writing!

So that brings me to a question about blogging — should we be blogging because we have set goals and deadlines for ourselves? Should we really be putting up a post because we said we would post daily, bi-weekly, etc. I know that more regular blogging will help your readers stay interested, but if your heart isn’t in it, then isn’t it better to wait until you have a topic that really moves you to write? I would like to suggest that you forget the schedule and expectations that you’ve set for yourself and wait until you are inspired. You will end up writing a better piece and your readers will sense your passion and appreciate your post all the more.

And now I want to hear from other bloggers. How do you blog? Do you push yourself to search for subjects to fill a schedule or do you write when something hits you? Do you set time aside to do your blogging? What’s your method? Please share it! I’m sure it will help me, and many others who struggle with this topic.

Thanks bloggers!