Just my two cents

Musings on social media and the world as I see it


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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!


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Responding to a crisis that isn’t yours

Boston-marathon-Facebook-cover-photo-630x456There have been two recent tragedies that have played heavily in the news and of course in social media. The bombings in Boston and the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas were horrific events that demanded the attention of the nation and made news across the globe.

Whenever something occurs of that magnitude, in today’s world, many of us automatically turn to social media to obtain the latest breaking news, to share our own thoughts or to pass along information we think is relevant. That’s all well and good when it’s from a personal standpoint. From a brand standpoint, most of us have our own crisis management plans (or at least we should) that provide us with direction in times of emergency.

But when you are using social media as a marketing tool for your brand, what do you do when a crisis occurs and it’s not yours? Your crisis management plan is in place for YOUR brand, not a tragedy like Boston, Texas or last year’s shooting in Newtown, CT.

There has been a lot written lately about this subject. From the danger of unmonitored scheduled tweets from @GuyKawasaki to the tweets that were simply poor judgement and in really bad taste like Epicurious.

A very smart blogger I follow, Mark Schaefer (@Markwschaefer), had a wonderful post on his {grow} blog about this very subject. More recently, my friend Lisa Buben (@lisapatb) recently asked if we should tweet or not during extraordinary events on her Inspire to Thrive blog.

Personally, I think you have to first acknowledge the situation. I think you look self-absorbed, insensitive and uncaring when everyone is turning to that situation and you’re still tweeting about how important your new book is.  I remember when the shooting occurred in Newtown. I immediately stopped tweeting and we turned all our attention to this. We offered the resources we could, but mostly we offered our condolences and support.

Even when it’s not a crisis of your own, I truly believe you must recognize it. The whole point of social media is connecting with people and sharing our humanity. That means when a tragedy befalls someone else, especially when it’s as big as those situations, it’s time to step away from our own agendas and be part of this social community we have built.

Even the day after a crisis has occurred, I still don’t feel right about going back to regularly scheduled posting. I just feel like it makes a brand appear cold and uncaring, and even personally for that matter. I believe you have to wait at least 24 hours and then test taste the waters.

I have adopted that plan for the brands I manage. After a tragedy has occurred, I announce that we’re going to interrupt our regularly posting due to the situation. During that time, I will post releveant information that I feel is important to relay or share with our own community for their health or safety. I will also share resources that are relevant to the situation that might help others. Usually I wait 24 hours to even consider going back to normal posting. At that point, I acknowledge that 24 hours has past and slowly start moving back into regular content, but still including some relevant posts about the situation at hand.

That’s my plan, that’s how I approach it. It’s not because someone told me that is how I should do it, it’s just what feels right, what feels respectful, and what feels most comfortable and natural. Social media is about reaching out to people… and in a tragedy that’s even more important. Because when it comes to a tragedy, you or your brand aren’t all that important in the big scheme of things. It all comes down to getting some perspective I guess.

What do YOU do in a crisis that isn’t yours?