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Turning Points

In life you rarely see turning points coming. There are no cautionary yellow signs with bold markers alerting you to what lies ahead. The signs are subtle and chances are you’ll be oblivious to them until you take the unmarked exit off the freeway of status quo, changing direction forever.

Taking the turn feels different for everyone. Some of us cruise through life at a moderate pace, easily decelerating to calibrate for the exit’s change in direction, then accelerating quickly on the path forward. Some of us live in the fast lane, barreling forward until we notice the exit, sliding over 4 lanes to make it, and then jacking on the brakes to avoid smashing into the guard rail.

The last two years have been the longest off ramp of my life. A relationship, five moves, three hairstyles, a new job, two bad habits, and four pant sizes later, I’m finally starting to reach for the gas pedal again. Sure, I’m a bit scratched up from the guard rail, but the engine still runs, the paint looks decent, and the merge hasn’t been as big of a bitch as the turn.

Merging

After spending a couple of months in Central Florida with my dad this summer, I relocated to Milwaukee in August. Why Milwaukee? It’s affordable, most of my family lives here, flights to the Coasts for work aren’t unbearably long, it’s on a lake, and the people are nice. An unexpected perk — the people watching. Just ask me about the time I saw a drunk volleyball girl eat it on the bike rack outside McDonalds.

Team 10up has doubled in size again this year. I’m on my way to our second annual meeting in Las Vegas and I can hardly wait to see this team for the first time in person. We’re no longer a mostly homogeneous group of engineers, but a diverse, multidisciplined team of strategists, creatives, systems engineers, monetization specialists, and storytellers. I have what many would (and do) consider a dream job.

I’ve been single for four months. Which seems unremarkable until you consider that my longest streak prior to this was two months, crammed in between a series of relationships that spanned seven years. Unsurprisingly, people, things, and places look entirely different when you view them through your own lens, unclouded by another’s perspective. For me, they’re clearer, prettier, freer.

Accelerating

The left lane is always tempting, but the pursuit of balance is more compelling and sustainable, so I’ve found a nice pocket in the middle lane to cruise in. Don’t get me wrong, I fully intend to use the fast lane for its intended purpose — sometimes you just gotta get shit done, but for now I’m happy just to be enjoying the drive again.

I’m at WordCamp Providence Today!

I will be speaking in the beginner’s track at WordCamp Providence today debuting my “Writing Tools for WordPress” talk. In addition to highlighting tools that can help any publisher bring life back to their blog or website, we’ll be getting a bit interactive with an in-session brainstorm and a little WordPress mobile application action to get the Providence crowd publishing on the spot.

If you attended my session, please post a link in the comments of this post sharing what you learned at WordCamp today and any goals you have for your site now that you have… no more excuses!

Rockin’ the new WordPress application…

Really loving easy access to posts, pages, and comments with the new Facebook-esque navigation in the new WordPress application. (I guess Facebook can’t be doing mobile totally wrong if we are seeing UI copycats, right?)

The constant prompting to link my .com account to the app is kind of strange though, particularly since I use the application to manage my self hosted WordPress site. I guess this integration has been around for awhile, but it’s much more noticeable now. Would have been nice to include a setup wizard to guide users through the process with this new major release.

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On Tuesday I started my 36 hour journey across New England with stops in Providence, NYC, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Boston (+1 brief pit stop in Detroit to catch a connecting flight). I helped demo an amazing VIP project with Helen in NYC and played nice with a new potential client in Philly. I played Wii Boxing and Angry Birds with Elisio. I successfully made each of my trains, flights, and cabs. All in all it was a successful tour.

Today I’m feeling more than a little exhausted and my brain is still trying to grasp the fact that it’s somehow Thursday already. Almost feels like spinning in circles. Maybe because I did.


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Look how time flies…

It’s been two months since my last post here, but I’ve been busy dropping content in other places across the web.

The first two weeks in March were consumed by planning, promoting and executing Providence Twestival with Jane Couto. It was Providence’s first Twestival and with the help of our attendees and sponsors we raised $400 for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. I’ve been really intrigued by the concept of social good for about a year now, closely following the Pepsi Refresh and Chase Community Giving campaigns. It was great to take a concept that has rejuvenated US communities, fed disaster victims across the word and raised our collective conscience and boil it down to a hyper-local level. In a few words… it was a great success!

I’ve also been working with Social Media Club Providence to plan our May event, Egypt’s Social Media Revolution with Dr. Richard Lobban. Dr. Lobban was on the ground in Egypt during the revolution and leveraged social media to document his experience there. Should be a fantastic event and I hope you can join us in person or by following the hashtag (#smcpvd). You can learn more about what the club has been up to on our Social Media Club blog (props to the Social Media Club team for the site redesign!).

And last, but certainly not least, I’ve been sharing some thoughts on social media on the (add)ventures blog. I’ve written about the importance of engaging CEO’s in brand social media strategies and how innovative brands are leveraging photo sharing applications like Instagram and Hipstamatic. Check out my posts there and read some thoughts from other talented (add)venturists on branding, marketing, design and video production.

In the coming weeks I will be taking some time to do some house cleaning here and post some new content for you to read, share and comment on.

What has kept you busy over the last two months?

You Might be a Social Media Guru if…

There is an inherent hazard to being involved in the social media world that few people publicly talk about. We snicker about it, exchange knowing glances, agonize when our clients have been bamboozled by it, and blast out cryptic tweets when we come across it, but few of us put this pervasive evil on display to allow the world to enjoy a collective eye roll at its expense. What is it that I’m talking about, you ask? It’s the Social Media Guru, of course!

I think it might be time to build a public profile of these imposters who certainly don’t get it and would do everyone a favor by ceasing to share their particular brand of Koolaid. Without further ado… ten signs that you might be (or have encountered) a Social Media Guru:

  1. You might be a Social Media Guru if you begin every conversation with your Twitter follower count, Facebook friend count, or with the phrase “I’m huge on [insert social network of choice here].”
  2. You might be a Social Media Guru if you claim, and actually believe, that you can teach anyone how to “do Social Media” in a day for just $30.00.
  3. You might be a Social Media Guru if you use name dropping as a substitute for a quality portfolio of work.
  4. You might be a Social Media Guru if you use auto DMs and insist they actually work for you.
  5. You might be a Social Media Guru if you think the first step to blogger relations is throwing free crap at them. Because, hey, bloggers can be bought.
  6. You might be a Social Media Guru if at every networking event you attend the people you meet have suddenly run out of business cards.
  7. You might be a Social Media Guru if “automate” and “broadcast” are the two most frequently used words in your vocabulary.
  8. You might be a Social Media Guru if you secretly admire a Twitter-bot’s ability to accumulate so many followers so quickly.
  9. You might be a Social Media Guru if you self-identify as an influencer, even though you’ve never created a unique piece of content in your life.
  10. You might be a Social Media Guru if you think the mere presence of “Guru” in your title will convince people that you actually know what you’re talking about.
  11. Have you come across any other tell-tale traits of the Social Media Guru? Share them in the comments!

PS: Check out my friend Maria’s blog post for an inside perspective on the ways of the South Florida Social Media Gurus and the destruction they’re capable of.