Wednesday, September 16, 2015

No Rules, Just Write

Articles keep surfacing on various newsfeeds and in my Feedly regarding “what not to do on social media”. They always contain a misguided variation of don't abuse the hashtag, don't tweet too often, don't go days without posting, etc. and with the exception of, don't be abusive or hateful, I disagree. When a podcast spent an entire segment bashing the way people use social media, I decided to address the topic that routinely provokes an eye-roll. Social media is about expression, and self-expression should not be dictated by likes, followers, and if your hashtag use is on point. Let bygones be bygones and go on your merry little way. 

Top Reasons Social Media Should Not Have Rules

1.     It’s creative expression.
Is this person on social media an international brand? Probably not. (But even EY is a notorious hashtag buffoon.) They are probably trying to release some creative energy into the internet abyss and you are prohibiting their authenticity. If it’s annoying, unfollow. This may come as a shock, but some people don’t care if they have thousands of followers.

2. The ego knows no bounds.
If you have an app that tells you who unfollowed you this week, day, month, and then check it to decide who you, in turn, need to unfollow, get a hold of the ego. Unfollow for unfollow is just as annoying as #followforfollow or whatever it is that upsets you. Don't rain on someones parade. 

3. Hashtags are hilarious.
There are things you want to say that become exponentially more hilarious in hashtag form. It’s extraordinarily bizarre, just like the new snapchat update. #zombiecomeback #jkpleasego

4. Hashtags are helpful.
This calls for a personal story. My dog is so wonderful that Princess Kate decided to name her firstborn after him, and so it makes sense he would have his own hashtag #georgethegreat. Now, whenever I just want to see his cute face, I search the hashtag on Instagram. It’s a modern-day social scrapbook. Professionally, I was able to market a conference on social media with a designated hashtag (#REX2013), which led the event to trend on Twitter, creating organic buzz, local awareness, and bragging rights.

5. Positivity is contagious.
If negative posts irk you, as they do me, then, just be positive. Negative responses to negative attitudes only breed more negativity. Let a person do what they want and be who they are, that’s what social media is all about. Unfollow and follow, tweet and re-tweet, like and share with abandon! 

6.     Inspiration is not guided by the masses.
If you post something first thing in the morning and then, on your way to work, you notice the most ironic situation. Post it! That's your moment. I've gone days without much social media activity, only to find myself in a whirlwind of social-media worth opportunities. As Mark Twain said, "You will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the things you did do." Post away, and create a narrative that is yours alone.

Disclaimer: Social media is a marketing force among brands, old and new, and they do have a bit more responsibility. However, I would argue that authenticity is appreciated when they step outside the marketing plan to show some #realtalk. (Although, I’d suggest a different hashtag, unless you’re the year 2010, in which case, can I get a do over?)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Show Up For What #FirstDayOfSchool

It’s the #FirstDayofSchool and I can’t help but relish in the possibility that immediately ensues with showing up on that first day. Showing up with your best foot forward, showing up with the excitement and anticipation that comes with a new chapter, or a new challenge is at the very core of living.

I still remember the packets for small liberal arts colleges and distinguished state universities that began arriving in droves during my junior year of high school. It was my first experience with junk mail, and my 16-year old, independent self was enamored with the glossy aspirations. A dream world was being sent to me with a folder of fun facts, potential degree plans, and only an application was in the way of making this a reality.

After meeting with the college counselor at my high school, she toned down my ambitious plans, citing my top choice university as a “reach” at best. And with that, I applied to safety schools.
My friends began receiving acceptance letters during senior year, and I slowly began to worry. Our grades and test scores were nearly identical, but for some reason the big, dream-laded envelope of acceptance never came.

It was like preparing for a marathon and then standing on the sidelines, while your friends ran past you, disappearing over the horizon.

Each and every one of my classmates went to college, and most people went to prestigious universities or competitive liberal arts colleges. There was a poster prominently placed in the hall of what institutions my class was headed for after graduation. I penciled in Austin Community College at the top of the alphabetical list with prideful irony.

I may not be going to Harvard, but I will be showing up somewhere.

In an effort to make lemonade with these souring college lemons, I stepped on to the campus of Austin Community College with no expectations and a tinge of defeat as I surveyed my college campus. While there wasn’t a plethora of student organizations, back-to-school parties, or a recreation center, there was a spirit of opportunity and it humbled me to realize the value of education I had always taken for granted.

People were spending their entire paycheck to further their education, starting over at 65, or finally writing that screenplay, and the sense of community permeated the outdated building. People were showing up to make the most of their life, not harboring resentment because a hurdle was thrown on to the track at the last minute.

Classes at ACC were straightforward, the parking was horrendous, but the people were incredible.  Over the semester, I became familiar with following the price of gold from a war veteran, how to handle depression from a deeply depressed Psychology professor, and that if you just show up, everything will be OK.

After my first semester in community college, I seamlessly transferred to a state university, and after a few more transfers I graduated from my original first choice University, a “reach” at best. Show up and amazing things happen, because any day can be the First Day of something great.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Links of Late

 It’s been over a year since I published in the ol’ blogosphere. There’s too much to recap, but I would like to divulge a few things I love today. These little joys may be worth your time. 

Signing up for a food delivery service when there’s a Whole Foods, HEB, and Central Market within a 5 mile radius of my home is a bit of a diva move, but I threw caution to the wind and have not missed the parking lot traffic jams.  The excitement of food delivery is rather enjoyable and this subscription service catapults me out of my comfort zone with recipes that require ingredients like lemongrass and tarragon. So, I can spend my time trying out new recipes, rather than wandering the same aisles and rewarding myself with $5 chocolate. The recipes are healthy and fairly straightforward (i.e. I don’t need to purchase a food processor, yet), but not sure how long I’ll keep this up.

Honorable mention: A Caesar Salad that did not require anchovy paste! It was incredibly delicious, simple, and sure to become a regular staple in the dinner rotation.  

Every morning this is the first email I open. It tells me what's what and provides early morning entertainment. I'm a fan and can't wait until my birthday mention next year, April 13! It's the little things, again and again.

My morning routine has quickly turned from breakfast tacos and black coffee to Siggi’s Yogurt and a variety of green tea with local honey. I guess this is growing up, but it’s so delicious.

Honorable mention: Pumpkin and Spice is now available! {In eager anticipation of pumpkin season!}

Currently, they make the world go around. When you have to travel through Houston traffic on a daily basis, the distraction helps. I’m an escapist.

Honorable mentions:
  • Mystery Show {It’s a quirky, This American Life-esque broadcast that treats life’s everyday mysteries to a Sherlock Holmes style investigation.}

  • The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey {This is a light-hearted podcast with great book recommendations and Austin happenings, while providing positive life insight. There is also a new episode every Thursday.}

  • Straight-Up with Stassi {This is a fo-real guilty pleasure that I just can’t quit. Listen with a pop-culture-loving grain of salt (and some prior Bravo knowledge).}