Archive for March, 2010
I’m a huge fan of our local newspaper here in Austin, The Austin American Statesman. However, I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually touched a newspaper. I’m skeeved out by newsprint. It comes off on your fingers and smudges and well, I’m a diva deep down, I suppose. Aside from that, I prefer to grab my news online, in smaller bites or through my Kindle (yes, I subscribe).
Oh, I could get it from any number of news outlets here in Central Texas, but I’ve stayed pretty true to the Statesman. Why? Simply because they care. It shows in their reporting, and it has for many years. BUT, there’s also a secret reason I adore my local paper. Twitter. No, I’m not kidding. Take a look at their Twitter stream and you’ll see why. There’s no RSS flood of news stories every hour (like some of the news stations – oy!), there’s no starched little headlines. There’s some guy there with his computer or phone or whatever and he’s talking WITH us. He’s telling us what’s going on – and this, my friends, is the part that most other news outlets don’t get – they are replying. If you type in @statesman blah blah blah into Twitter, you can bet they will reply to you. Even if it’s “Oh great, glad you liked that photo” or “yeah, yeah, we’ve had the weather wrong for 3 days now”. I like that they are human on there. The guy running it has a sense of humor. Shocking, I know.
I attended the Statesman’s social media awards over the weekend while I was out at SXSWi where they did tell us that they aren’t struggling like most of the other newspapers out there (and if you read anything about publishing, you know it’s pretty scary out there). I was a little surprised, but in some ways I wasn’t really all that surprised. They get it. They do it right. Not just online, but in the paper itself. I always feel the human element, the fact that they’re listening to their readers.
Anyway… I took away that we all need to do that. To listen to our customers, our readers, our clients, our partners, whomever it is out there that we are trying to reach. I will admit that I’m guilty of getting bogged down in numbers and reports that I sometimes forget that there’s a real human being behind all that mess. Not a bad take away for a simple little ceremony.
Okay, first, the random – I heard this morning from Twitter that Corey Haim died this morning, looks like it’s true, being reported by CBS as well as TMZ as of the time I’m writing this. So sad. The Coreys were my teenage crush. One of them was going go swoop down in my small town in South Carolina and take me to Hollywood to live with them where we’d live happily ever after. What? It could have happened! My thoughts are with his family, it appears to be an overdose. Sigh, they always are, aren’t they? So very sad.
Oh yeah, business blog… need to stop reliving my youth… heh.
I saw a post on Brad Farris’ blog this morning about the various budget crisis that are popping up again. I commented on my thoughts, but I really am sick of the waste that goes on. You’d think with that many supposed smart people running something, they could put together and stick to a workable budget. It’s ridiculous that they simply don’t.
Last night, a friend of mine (Hi, Dy!) and I were laughing because we got a letter in the mail this week. Do you want to know what that letter was for? That letter was from the Census Bureau to tell us that we were going to get another letter from them and to be on the look out for it. Yes, my friends, we got a letter telling us they were sending us a letter. I really wonder how many of those taxpayer dollars went to that. Could we, like, feed a starving kid or two instead? Really?
And then, there’s just the ridiculous. I saw an article this morning from The Austin American Statesman. Apparently some nosy neighbor down in South Austin decided to be a pain in the butt and reported a good number of their neighbors (like 50 of them) for random code violations. What are these heinous acts? Oh, they converted their garages to living spaces – TWENTY or more years ago. Oh, they added a professionally installed carport – TWENTY years ago. Seriously? And the people who issue the permits so the neighbors can try to stop being fined? Yeah, those people only work half days, apparently. Really, Austin, is this type of red tape necessary? There really should be some sort of statute of limitations or something. Completely ridiculous. Hopefully some local attorney with a big heart (yes, they do exist) or something will step in and help these people. It’s one thing if it’s a matter of filing for $123 permit that should’ve been done TWENTY years ago, but it’s another if you’re talking about widening a driveway or tearing down a usable carport!
My point? I don’t really have one. It was just one of those mornings that seemed to remind me that people really are crazy.
It’s interesting and a conversation I’ve had over and over with colleagues and friends. How much is too much information? I’m pretty open, I don’t lock or require authorization to read anything I do on social media. I talk about my kids, my reading habits, links to free Kindle books, review restaurants, complain about a client or two, rave about more than a few clients, retweet articles, I’ve probably even dropped the F-word a time or two.
I figure that at this stage in my life and career, I am who I am. I have a few people I follow that are all business all the time. Those are the ones that I tend to ignore, to be honest. It’s not all that interesting to know that yes, you are looking for clients. Get in line, honey.
So, today, if someone is following me on Twitter or Facebook, they know that my kid is sick (and has made me sick), I’m reading Under The Dome by Stephen King, my other kid had clarinet lessons last night, I have a new client I’m having a hard time getting to let go, and I just celebrated my birthday and 17 years of marriage to my husband.
Do I think you can over-share? You betcha. I’m sure if you look hard enough you’ll find things I’ve said that were inappropriate and maybe not very politically correct. But that’s also kind of how I am in real life. I can throw appropriateness out the door and be very unPC. I’m okay with that. I don’t drunkenly post or post about my late night exploits, but it’s okay to commiserate with a colleague about how her kid won’t sleep or with a client who absolutely loved the most recent movie they watched. I’m not going to hide who I am.
I mentioned above that all business is kinda boring. But I also think that your followers/friends/whatever should know what you do. Every now and then, I think it’s important to remind people “Oh yeah, hey, I’m a real estate agent” – or whatever – by saying you closed a sale or you did this or that. I follow people that forget to do that and I have absolutely no idea what they do unless I follow through to their profile information (which admittedly people don’t do all that often after the initial add). I aim to keep my stuff 80-90% personal. Seems high, but how interesting is bookkeeping – I mean really?
My point? I think it’s okay to be yourself and open about it. Others don’t, but I have yet to find a good defining reason as to why not. People cite crazies finding out where you live or where you are at. Well, frankly, that’s easy enough with public records or just dumb luck. There are so many things to be worried about – social media just isn’t one of them for me.
What is your thoughts on social media? Are we all too open? Too reserved? How do you handle your own privacy issues surrounding social media?