Tag Archives: social media

It’s all about getting that cash

19 Jun

I have been using various forms of social media now for well over a decade now. In the late 1990’s  I discovered discussion boards, I was contemplating making some life changes and was in need of a supportive community and at that time the net was small enough that I hooked up with a couple of online communities that met my needs. Over a decade later, I have met some amazing women many who have become real life friends.

When I packed up my life in 2002 and left Chicago and landed in Maine, it was those same online communities and friendships that sustained me until I reached the point of having some local support in Maine. I guess what I am saying is I have been online for quite a while. My first husband was and still is a computer geek, back in 1991 when we married he was going online using BBS (bulletin board system) I remember back then thinking what the hell is he doing, little did I know how much that early exposure to making connections online was going to impact my life.

In the past 5-6 years we have literally seen social media go mainstream, I remember just a few years ago before sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter became household names explaining my online activity to real life friends and being looked at like I was insane. After all who communicated on a computer with people they didn’t know? By the way this was in the early 2000’s…many of these same real life friends now use sites like Facebook and others as staples in their daily life.

I stumbled onto blogs probably about 4-5 years ago, many of the early blogs I read were true labors of love. Often folks sharing amazing tales of their life, awesome writing. Back than folks often just started blogs to have an audience, another way of making connections. Take bloggers like the very popular Pioneer Woman, she just wanted a way to stay connected to the folks in her life, she had no idea that one day she would be writing books and last I heard there is talk about a movie about the story of her life. I think many women particularly mothers gravitated to blogs as a way of making connections. In Maine we have Amanda Blake Soule of the blog Soule Mama. Her blog chronicles her life here in Maine with her 4 kids and their creative endeavors.  Her daily life and adventures became the basis for the 3 book deal she later landed but from what I have heard (Maine is small, while I don’t personally know Amanda, I have friends who do) she didn’t start blogging with the intent to land a book deal. She did something she liked with no expectations and well good shit happened.

 Initially when I started this blog, I had my eyes set on achieving some level of fame that would translate into a paycheck but over the two years I have been blogging, now it’s about my process. For me it’s about strengthening my skills as a writer but also having a voice, lastly as a woman of color its about connecting with others. This blog has allowed me to connect with folks in Maine as well as outside; I have met some fellow bloggers and readers that one day I would love to sit down with and share a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

I also think that when I let go of dreams of turning this blog into a cash cow, it allowed me to stay true to myself and my creative being. I also use social media such as Twitter to promote this blog but even Twitter allows me to connect with others especially some of the most creative and free thinking minds in Maine. Just yesterday I caught lunch with a young lady of color who recently moved to Maine. So yeah money might be nice, but making human connections is even better.

I say all this to say that as a long time user of social media in all its forms I see some disturbing trends developing. More and more I read blogs or see Twitter users turning themselves into a brand…the brand of me. Twitter for many is about promoting oneself, one’s business. Look there is nothing wrong with promotion if you have a legitimate product to promote but in many cases I see complete and utter bullshit being packaged in a slick glossy package and well its empty as hell.

The problem with this new trend of self promotion is that it takes away from authentic connections. How can we truly connect if at the end of the day you are more concerned about sealing a deal and getting paid? Look maybe that works with the youngsters but for an old head like myself its a huge turnoff. I think about some of my ex favorite blogs, ones that landed the book deal or through blogging landed a great job and then the original blog lost its spark.

There is a fashion blog I have followed for a while and when the blogger initially started off, it was great. You as the reader connected because you saw a regular person putting together articles of clothing that were accessible to the masses and rocking the hell out of that shit. Year down the road, this blogger blows up, to the point she quits her job, now she attends Fashion Week, has corporate sponsors up the wazoo and basically her blog reads like an advertisement, a glossy magazine.

Funny thing is this particular blogger is one of the biggest influence in my returning to my love of vintage clothes, she gave me some great ideas. Yet now I occasionally visit her blog and feel much the way I feel when I read a fashion magazine. That what she is hawking is inaccessible, furthermore as a follower of hers on Twitter, the constant promotion of herself as a brand is making me reevaluate whether or not I should even continue to follow her.

The thing is we have a zillion books and consultants who all for some cash will tell you how to market the brand of you, giving away so-called secrets that will make you into a social media superstar and of course earn you some cash. Look, and can I be frank most of what they are telling you is bullshit. You don’t need to have a brand called you because guess what? You are you! I admit as a graduate of a masters level organizational management program, I am well familiar with consultants and having even done a brief but successful stint as an organizational management consultant, I am here to tell you most of what these folks say is designed to earn them money and leave you wondering.

I admit occasionally they may give you a nugget of truth but I believe that much like real life relationships the only key you need is to be your authentic self in all that you do. Folks like The Pioneer Woman and Soule Mama achieved a high level of success in the social media world by simply being themselves, no gimmicks or special conferences needed. When we lose our authentic selves even in an electronic medium we risk becoming a mindless automaton who is programmed for one thing, getting that cash and really aren’t we more than that.

Just a random stream of babble

3 Sep

I am on vacation, of course being short of cash my vacation involves sitting in my house though I may spend a few days in western Maine chilling with friends..So now that I am on vacation and still have a few days of childcare before girl child leaves daycare (by the way she is officially mad about this) it means I have time to let my mind wander which brings me to the point of today’s post.

Like many others I enjoy using Facebook, one might say I like it too much, shit I check Facebook from my Blackberry since I like to stay connected (I am working on pulling the plug) anyway I have noticed a disturbing trend, folks get really mad on Facebook. I may have mentioned it before (see I am getting old, can’t even remember what I wrote!) someone posts a seemingly innocent comment or link to a news story, well as you know it shows up in your friends feed, and humans being what they are, they respond. Are you still with me? Well some folks get mad because their “friends” post replies that bug them or their friends post updates that annoy them or even trouble them. I have recently seen shared “friends” engage in serious arguments/debates on Facebook, one woman I know has taken to proselytizing to another “friend” who is a devout pagan. Um…what the fuck is wrong with you people?

Look, the only reason I like Facebook as much as I do is it makes it easier to stay in touch with folks, I can upload pictures instead of sending a ton of emails or getting on the phone. Granted I do like getting on the phone but its not always easy, shit, I am mad that one of my two best friends is a Facebook holdout, he refuses to join, says its not his thing. People complain when their parents join and crimp their style…I wish my Papa would join, that way he could get regular pics of the family since he is such a Luddite that he doesn’t even own a computer and only uses one at work.

Anyway back to my rant or maybe its not a rant but an observation of someone who is starting to recognize that they are getting older, but life is too short to get pissed that a “friend” has political views that are not the same as mine. Unless this friend is a member of Steven Anderson’s church in Tempe, AZ which in that case there would be such a gulf I really might find it hard to stay calm but even then I believe in respecting folks and their differences. I got a few real life buddies who lately have taken to sending me right wing propaganda via email, I don’t get mad I hit delete. Occasionally I make a status update on Facebook that lets those folks know I got their emails but that I don’t agree and I leave it at that…but to start actual arguments over what we say on something like facebook is ridiculous.

It reminds me of the video I have seen a few times about how to not let facebook ruin your relationships, its the video with the predominantly Black cast and a woman yelling you been poking her all day and the guy whining about how his lady love doesn’t post on his wall.

Technology should enhance our lives and the moment it stops doing that is a point at which we should reevaluate our relationship…as for me, I am going to enjoy this last blast of summer here in Maine. So catch ya in a few days.

The hookup?

8 Jun

Its early up here in my little corner of the world, in fact we haven’t even gotten the girl child off to preschool yet. So I am sitting here reading my paper online, sipping a cup of hot delicious coffee and listening to NPR. This is pretty much my routine everyday, consume caffeine and consume news….the world doesn’t feel right unless I do those two things early in the morning.

Anyway this morning, I heard a report on NPR about young folks and hooking up. In case you are like me and a tad old, and not familiar with this term it basically means young folks no longer date or even have a random one night stand. They just hook up, they get their sexual needs met…by the way the hookup may or may not involve intercourse unlike say a one night stand. Though it does have a sexual aspect to it.

See, it seems dating is just notdone. You have your crew of buddies that are your friends and then you have folks you might want to get the hook up with….hook-ups apprently are not meant to evolve into a relationship. In fact they had a young man speaking about how costly a date can be, that he doesn’t bother to take a young woman to the movies after all its at least $43 to $50. Wow! It seems the women don’t expect a date either…

Look, I hardly had a vibrant dating life as a teenager since I was a Black girl in the 1980’s in a predominantly white setting and that was before interracial dating became the norm, so that meant that I rarely had any dates. However as a young woman in my twenties between husbands (remember I married the first time straight out of high school) I did have a chance to date and the norm was for a man to take you out on a date. A date consisted of a meal, some entertainment maybe in the form of a movie, a a play or stopping to hear some live music. On this thing called a date, the man paid for the date….look I am a equal opportunity woman who considers herself a womanist but at the heart I am still old fashioned and expect men to pay. Heck even my best friend who is a man pays for our outings even though I don’t expect it but he too is a old fashioned cat. The only man I ever dated whom I opened up my pocketbook to, turned out to be a less than honorableman. So yeah, I am old fashioned. If I became single today and a man wanted to go out but expected me to pay, it would not happen and if it did he would not be comsidered relationship material. He would be a buddy, not man material.

Anyhoo, back to this story..the interviewer spoke with folks from various backgrounds, Black, White, college-educated, not educated…they all seemed to agree that the hook-up is here to stay. One young woman admitted she wished for more but that was not how things are done these days.

Ok….putting on my Mama hat. What the hell is wrong with people? Look sex between two consenting adults can be a wonderful thing but generally it gets better, the better you know each other. I have  tried a hook or two type deal when I was single and as my Granny used to say…that’s for the birds. Connection is a beautiful thing. Its a once in a lifetime deal when we meet someone and connect immediately buy even those explosive types of connections are still superficial. After all you don’t know the other person. If you just need a release, get a damn toy. If you are a man, use your right hand.

What’s even more scary to me aside from the hook-up is how folks use social media to make the connection. It seems we can meet via a shared friend say on Facebook, we exchange texts and other messages and eventually we make the connection. Now if this was turning into an actual relationship I would have no issue with it, I have several friends who have met their partners online…that’s cool. No I am talking we meet online only to have sex and not even evolve into a friendship…sorry, I am officially old because that just seems sad and wrong.

No, as a mother it scares me to think that this is the brave new world my kids are in since elder boy is already there and one day girl child will be there.

So humor me…what are your thoughts on the hook-up? Is it a good thing or bad? Am I just being an old stick in the mud?