Wednesday, October 1, 2014

OVERCOMER series

This month, I decided to do something different.  I'm inviting a few friends over to hang out for the whole month.  I mean, "virtually" we all know each other right? 

When I think of October, I think of 2 things: pumpkins and pink.  Over the last couple years as Robin Roberts "made her mess, her message", we all looked on as Mandisa's song, OVERCOMER became synomous with the breast cancer fight.

But being an OVERCOMER, and Mandisa's song, are way more than just fighting breast cancer.  Each day, we all get up.  We work through morning routines, traffic, water-cooler talk, feeding screaming kids, combing matted hair, deadlines, spreadsheets, lies in our minds, grocery shopping, balancing personal life and work demands, a busy schedule, insecurities, wrinkles, age spots, demanding friends, and the list goes on.  We all have our own set of life circumstances that we have found ourselves chained to and burdened with.

But, we are all OVERCOMERS; something has been in our path and we have moved beyond.  We have said no to the lies, to the past, to the hurts, to the loss, to regret and have embraced the power and clarity that comes from living on the other side.  Of realizing adversity makes us stronger, that valleys make mountain views more magnificent, that when boxing gloves might mold to our hands are peeled away we are left with the joys of a paraffin treatment.  Much like a well worn coffee table, the scars and bruises tell a story of a life well lived.

This month, I've invited my guest to all answer the same questions. 

  • 1 word of the thing you've "overcome"
  • What was you're "turning point"
  • 5 word life mantra
  • Quote you live by
Pretty simple right?  You try it.  Until we get to Friday and meet our first friend, I ask you the same 4 questions. 


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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

dear facebook


Dear John (or whatever guy is reading this at Facebook),
In the regular world of business, skewing numbers to deploy your own sales scheme would be seen as inappropriate, without integrity and depending on the severity – illegal.
But, you know we all depend on you.  We depend on you to know what mischief our kids are involved in, we depend on you to reconnect with high school friends and old college flames, and we depend on you to help grow our business, readership and viability. And, you know it. 
So, being the savvy example that the rest of us are trying to follow, you are playing games with us.  Some might call it a marketing scam.  Some might call it experimenting.  Some might think it is smart.  Some might even be envious of your creative ways to use your platform to leverage your power.
Hey, we get it.  Everyone is trying to make a dollar.  It’s why we use each other.
I went to a conference a couple weeks ago and part of the opening activity was an icebreaker of questions.  One of the questions on the list was “what do you wish you understood better”.  My answer, “what the heck is going on with Facebook algorithms, because they are jacked up”.
Over the last month, I’ve watched and I’ve observed.  And, you’ve helped me develop a life principle that I have posted on my board and when I quote it, I do give my experience with you the credit for origination.  “You can’t un-reach someone you’ve already reached”.  Interpretation – if someone has viewed a post, they can’t not have viewed it.  If I have a post showing 20 views and it has 42 likes and 2 shares, more than 20 people have viewed it.  I wasn’t the one good at math at my house, but I know that 42+2+followership>20!  I also know that if last Thursday over 1200 people viewed a #TBT photo, then on Monday morning there can’t be a nice round 600 that have viewed it.  That number should increase, not decrease.
I also know you’ve started really “talking” to me about how to boost my posts.  You mentioned on several occasions last week that nearly every post I had was performing better than any post I had made.  Not true.  And before you shifted your numbers this weekend I could have given you better numbers to back that up.  Just this morning, you contacted me by email to let me know that you were willing to have one of your Facebook Project Managers call me and talk to me about promoting my organization.
What happened to the authentic, organic followership you were founded on?  Oh, I know how you were founded.  I was in college administration when you went mainstream.  I was a recent college grad, not one of those 50+ administrators that were skeptical of you.  I don’t have baby pictures on FB of myself, I have real life pictures in my first albums of me at 22, 23, 24. 
You are a fantastic tool.  We respect your ability to leverage other social media platforms. We use you (and some abuse you).  We want to partner with you to make ourselves greater.  But, scheming us, skewing our numbers and making us want you by manipulation is not ok.  In a personal relationship, we call that emotional abuse.  Many have made their profession on that type of thing.  If you were the guy I text most, my girlfriends would tell me to break up with you and delete your number.  If you were a consultant I had hired to help me perfect my business life, I would fire you.  If you were my parent, brother, crazy uncle and we were about to gather for Thanksgiving, I would avoid as much conversation with you as possible because I do not have room for manipulation in my life.
Just think about it.  You have been a gift to so many.  You have helped us build our personal brand, spread our business’ sphere of influence and given many a high school or college reunion fodder for conversation. 
Can our relationship just go back to the way it used to be when you gave me what I needed and reciprocated what I gave you?  When you are most authentic, I want to engage with you more.  When you are manipulative and dishonest, I want to retreat and go in a different direction.
When you’re ready, we can talk.


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Friday, September 19, 2014

rhonna sparkles

So, I've fallen in love.  And, its so much better than I expected it to be.

One of my take-aways from the #AWBU conference was the Rhonna app

Yes, Rhonna Designs, the digital scrapbooking company, has an amazing app.  Like its the one I want to play on every minute of every day!

For quite some time, I've been trying to find a way to make those cute little square pictures that everyone is using on their blogs.  It makes having a pinnable image for your post so much easier.  One thing I really wanted to figure out in a room full of all my amazing talent, super gorgeous and ever nerdy blogger chicks was to have someone show me their secret.  Well, we spent more time eating pizza and talking about the cute boy in the lobby of the hotel than me actually learning any of the tricks I wanted to at #AWBU. (so, yes if you know how, I still want a tutorial...I'll even buy the coffee!)

But, this new app, has been the gap and frankly has given me a way better tool than anything I could derive from my computer. 

You can do amazing things with your pictures.  Like things you would even want to order and print, put on canvases.  Yes, even graphic design type work....I know!

So, I give you Rhonna.  Yes, its one of those apps that costs.  And, yes it has even better enhancements that cost a little bit more.  But, really...I've never gained so much from $1.99. 

Like I love it so much I almost want to go back and start scrapbooking again!  Digitally of course!

Do it, go look it up...and make sure you follow me on twitter and instagram so you can see all my amazing creations!

(oh and I discovered tonight that they have a set of tutorial videos...Creative Outpour you are my hero of the week!  The green t-shirt and leopard skirt were a perfect way to start a conversation that led to this amazingness...I owe you.)


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'm struggling

My inbox and Facebook notifications have me overwhelmed. The little red bubble beside my Twitter icon has me reeling. The sticky note on my desk leaves me bumfuzzled and we are not even going to talk about the pile of things on the couch in my living room.

My mom has always given me a hard time about living in a fish bowl; growing to the size of my world. That usually refers to the amount of junk I seem to accumulate. But recently I'm beginning to thing it refers better to my calendar. 

I've confessed often that I don't do "still" very well, but now that I'm home during the week I'm finding myself filling every night. There are so many things I want to do and so many people I want to connect with but I'm overwhelming myself. 

And we can't even begin to talk about web and social media. Since it's where I live all day I just want to shut it down when I get home. But bc I try to keep it business as much as I can during the day, I just feel behind. This past weekend at the bloggers conf I was reminded how far behind I am. And you know what?  I think it's ok. 

I've spent much of this week telling myself that. There is only so much I can do.

I came away from #AWBU with so many ideas.  But, my ideas became a to do list that right now feels insurmountable.  For whatever reason, I cant seem to get over the "back to school hurdle".  I know I don't have kids, but it seems the world revolves around the academic calendar.  Church classes start up, volunteer cycles begin, community programs establish themselves and we are left remembering one more reason why we love the lazy days of summer.

So, I guess maybe this is my confessional.  My out loud spoken word so I don't feel like I'm letting you down with the fact that I just left a conference that should have pumped me up to crank out words like nobody's business.  But, instead I'm left with one more item on my list.  One more post to hit "publish".  One more measure of insecurity and inadequacy on my self-appointed measuring tool in my head.

Whatever it is, I'm confessing.  Fall is my favorite time of year.  I want to be present as much as possible.  I want to create some memories with the new friends I'm developing and frankly...its easier right now to keep up with my instagram (@bigpittstop) account!

So, here's to a few written words.  Some confessed guilt.  And, finally something I can mark off my to-do list!

(true confession: I actually started this post on my phone waiting for a meeting.  I closed it and added to it while I was sitting, bored, in a different meeting.  And now, a week later, I've come back to it because its bothering me that's its been left open ended.  Maybe I should really put a few therapy sessions on my Christmas list!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

things that make you say "hmmm"

So, my new job has me sometimes running across some very interesting facts.  Yes, I get to "play" on Pinterest from time to time and find myself elbow deep in Facebook posts for a couple hours a day, but often I come across several gems.

I've started listing many of them in my "sparkles for the week" recap...that is when I actually put them up.  But, yesterday I found one that I just had to share!

25 Insane Social Media Facts - no they are not the weird kind.  They are the kind that pull you in and make you say "huh"!

Just a couple that struck my fancy:
  • 93% of marketers are using social media. However, only 9% of marketing companies have full-time bloggers. - a frustrating point for all those chicks gathered this past weekend at #AWBU
  • The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket. That’s a growth of 79% since 2012. For Facebook and Google Plus, the 45 to 54 year age bracket at 46% and 56% respectively are the fastest growing demographics. - but don't tell me dad, I still tell he he doesn't need a Twitter account...but I would like to brainstorm a handle for him.
  • Despite privacy concerns, only 25% of Facebook users utilize privacy settings.
  • 5 million photos are uploaded daily on Instagram
It is such an interesting world we live in!


I also found this interesting this morning as I perused Twitter in the early hours of my day - Go Mark Cuban! The Big Mistake You Dont Know You're Making on Social Media

So much to think about every day.

(photo cred: Digital Insights)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Back in My Day - reblog

With the busyness of the weekend at the Arkansas Women Bloggers Conference, I missed connecting you to my post with the Arkansas Women Bloggers.  And, when I say "my" post, I was just the curator!

Some pretty amazing ladies (little ladies and mentors) threw in their thoughts.  When I originally stepped up to contribute this month, I had a beautifully written piece to my 16 yr old self.  Then I wanted to write to my 21 year old self and then my 25 yr old self and then my 30 yr old self and I quickly realize that the lessons I've learned stemmed from some amazing women speaking some strong bits of truth in my life.

So instead, I decided to do a little experiement.  I reached out to a lady in each decade age bracket, 4-74, and asked them to answer the same questions.  Each question represented different stages of their life.  It was so much fun to see all their answers and really look at how much we change over time.  And yet, how much we stay the same.

I'm so grateful to these ladies for lending me their stories. 

You must read this if for no other reason than the pictures!!!

So, you know... Back in My Day...