11 Things I’ve Learned in the Last 11 Months

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You can stop holding your breath now. I’m back.

It’s been a long 11 months. Working full time and trying to finish up my Master’s degree has taught me a lot–about the world, about myself, about life. In honor of my return to the blogging world (well, as myself), here is a list of 11 things I’ve learned while I’ve been away:

  1. Time is precious. I will never have enough of it, and I should value my time and the time of others. 
  2. People suck. Okay, most people suck, but when you find people who don’t…keep them close.
  3. Fruit’s not the worst thing ever. If you know me, you know I don’t eat fruit. Even as a child, I found it to be absolutely revolting. Over the last few months, though, I’ve given it a chance. As it turns out, it’s not all bad.
  4. Congress is absolutely incompetent. Enough said.
  5. Kim Kardashian’s life is a mess.
  6. Mo money really is mo problems!
  7. Living alone can be absolutely boring, but entirely peaceful.
  8. There is such a thing as too many baked goods.
  9. Endorphins can be addicting, but not as addicting as coffee.
  10. I’m now at an age where you congratulate your friends when they get pregnant, and it’s weird.
  11. Always take care of numero uno.

Oh…and all the words to this song:

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Good Tweet, Bad Tweet

A couple weeks ago, my parents and grandparents stumbled their way from Los Angeles to the District. Somewhere in between getting lost on the wrong side of the Key Bridge and chowing down at some of DC’s finest, I got stuck on a topic that I never talk about–social media.

Techies aren’t just born, they are bred.

I filled the 8 days I shared with my family with talk of tweets and pins, teaching them how to check-in on Facebook and explaining Twitter and Pinterest. The result? I was tagged into every restaurant we went to 3 times, and my grandpa (@MillenniumMayor) has been spam tweeting Karl Rove, Glenn Beck, Martha Maccallum, and Sarah Palin.

It’s not surprising when social media noobs like my family ask how to do Twitter the right way. I hesitate to say that there is a right or wrong way to tweet, but there are definitely better, more effective ways. Have I lost you?

Don’t fret–I have a perfect DC meets LA way to explain!


Bad Tweet

Earlier today, the US Embassy in Brussels tweeted:

The tweet references the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) which had an event on the topic of women and counterterrorism (#WomenAndCT) yesterday afternoon. It’s a well-done tweet, with the exception of using the wrong handle for CSIS. On the other hand, CSIS does a terrible job with their response:

I have a ton of respect for (and would love to work for) the Center for Strategic and International Studies, but this tweet is simply bad form. CSIS has forwarded a modified tweet from the US Embassy in Brussels that looks like it was written by Justin Bieber after he raided his parent’s liquor cabinet. Why did they shorten keywords like instrument and expert and remove the space between 4 and peace, but leave important and according complete? This tweet could have read:

MT‏ @usembbrussels #Women are important weapon against terror & instrument 4 peace say experts @CSIS http://bit.ly/HXg9jG #terrorism #Verveer

Is this better? What do you think?

Good Tweet

If you are scoffing at seeing my own face listed under the title of good tweet, fear not. My vanity has not yet taken over.
Earlier this week, I had an exchange on Twitter which I think demonstrates best practices for political and advocacy Twitter usage. As an extra bonus, it also includes one of my favorite topics, Kim Kardashian!

Kim Kardashian took headlines by storm this week when she said on her reality show that she might consider running for Mayor of Glendale someday. The city of Glendale, sometimes referred to as “Little Armenia” by locals, is very close to where I grew up–in the same congressional district, in fact. Congressman Adam Schiff represents the district, and so I thought I’d poke a little fun at him and the situation.

I never expected a response, and yet within 24 hours:

What can politicians take away from this tweet? The response (1) demonstrated that he was actually listening and engaging rather than just broadcasting, (2) took the opportunity to share one of his positions that his constituents feel strongly about (Armenian Genocide), and (3) it felt personal and real, not stiff or like a form letter. These are the kind of interactions that politicians should be aiming for to maximize the impact of their online discussions.

But the conversation didn’t end there. No, Kim Kardashian didn’t chime in. @CharaGG, however, did:

The link posted goes to an indiegogo website that asks people to donate to her documentary project that deals with Armenian genocide. My guess is that she either follows Rep. Schiff due to his strong support of Armenian Genocide recognition, or she searched for Armenian genocide on Twitter and inserted herself into relevant conversations. In doing so, she tapped into a conversation that was already occurring online with people who care about a topic. This is good social networking. This is digital engagement.

Until next time.

A toast, “To Mayor Kardashian, may the stress of politics not make her want to pull her own extensions out.”

“The people drawn to Twitter are people on the cutting edge, the real nerds who are resentful of the fact that the general population have found and taken over Facebook”

~Steve Dotto, host of Dotto Tech

Static

I’ve spent the last two days staring at my computer screen. Mostly doing nothing, sometimes refreshing my Facebook homepage. I sit there cursing my friends for not being more interesting as I realize that somewhere out there on the other end of cyberspace they are probably doing the same thing.

It’s a little like that car commercial:

I actually find this commercial to be extremely insightful. What do you think about it?

Ok, now back to staring at the screen and hoping that my Research Memo & Communication Plan Proposal will write themselves..

And now, a toast, “To people whose idea of a social life exists outside of the confines of their computer screen.”

“Little girls think it’s necessary to put all their business on MySpace and Facebook, and I think it’s a shame…I’m all about mystery.”
~Stevie Nicks