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Life, In Digital

Digital Life IS Real Life

Last month I decided to take a break from social media. I bid my social world “adieu” on Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, Pinterest, Twitter, and Vine and turned my focus to offline interactions.

As I thought about giving up social media for a while, I also thought about what I would be able to do with all of this new “thought space”:

  • journal
  • practice my handwriting
  • read (books & Bible)
  • think
  • call people to catch up
  • complete tasks on my to-do list
  • pray

I wanted to get away from always needing to hold my cell phone. I wanted to know what time it was without looking at my phone…maybe I’d use my watch as more than just an accessory. I wanted to walk from my desk to the bathroom without having to take my phone with me. I wanted to sit and think instead of mindlessly scroll, post, like, share, scroll, post, like, share… I wanted to need to call people to catch up on life instead of leaning on a Facebook relationship. I wanted to write three sentences without my hand cramping up. I wanted to read my handwriting. I wanted to serve God and serve Him in private instead of seeking likes and comments for my good works. I wanted to clearly communicate my thoughts instead of only speaking one “post” at a time. I wanted to stop thinking in 140 characters. I wanted to be more focused and deliberate. I wanted to create instead of just comment on life.

I don’t belive that social media is bad. There is a lot of good that comes from being constantly connected to your friends and loved ones. There is a lot of good in the collective thoughts of a community. There is a lot of good in the quick and efficient communication. However, I do believe that social media has made me weaker in other areas. The greatest impact has been on my imagination. I used to sit and entertain myself with my thoughts, but I am evermore preoccupied with scrolling, posting, updating, etc. My social media apps on my iPhone are my go-to entertainment and it is rarely high-quality time spent.

After a week and a half without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Foursquare, or Pinterest...I'm back! Taking time away from social media has given me an opportunity to reevaluate the content I'm creating and the time I spend doing it. You'll be happy (I hope) to know that Pinterest made the cut. See ya around!

After a week and a half without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Foursquare, or Pinterest…I’m back! Taking time away from social media has given me an opportunity to reevaluate the content I’m creating and the time I spend doing it. You’ll be happy (I hope) to know that Pinterest made the cut. See ya around!

I have since re-joined the social world, but I am more aware of how I spend my time, who I “follow”, and what I say. The key, I’ve found, is to be deliberate in how you use social media and to re-learn how to communicate outside of a status update.


Have you ever taken a break from social media? What did you learn from it? What did you miss about your social accounts?


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Here are (just a few of) my presentation pet peeves. If you want me to pay attention and be impressed, don’t do these things.

Buzzword Bingo

Scripting your presentation
If you don’t know it without a script, why should I listen to what you have to say about it?

Using too much “marketing speak”
If I can win Buzzword Bingo, you lose.

Jumping in too fast without laying the groundwork
Make sure the audience is all on the same page. This includes defining any unfamiliar terms you may use.

SPAMing me when I register for your webinar
Yes, I’m interested in your webinar, but I’m not necessarily interested in everything you have to say.

Other presentation Pet Peeves:

  • Leaving the mouse pointer in the middle of the screen – seriously distracting
  • Standing in front of the screen
  • Using stock photography without paying for it (i.e. images with watermarks)

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Thinking about it, there are two things that motivate me: Inspiration and Frustration.

If I see a well-designed website or hear a fantastic story, I’m inspired to create something equally as beautiful. If I am treated with disrespect or suffer through a terrible user experience, I’m driven by frustration to never put anyone else through a similar situation.

What inspires you? Frustrates you? Are these the things that motivate you?

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I’ve found myself spending a lot of money recently. I haven’t been making a lot of large purchases. It’s been a little here and a little there. It’s the spontaneous trips to the grocery store and Target that are killing me.

So, I decided to try something new.

This week, I am not going to spend any money.

I’m hoping that a conscious decision will work better than my previous attempts at “just spending less”. So, how am I going to do this and still make it an attainable goal?

Friday night and Saturday morning I spent a few hours going through my pantry and refrigerator. I threw out everything that had expired and I reorganized everything that was still good. This process took a while, but it allowed me to go through every item and really get an idea of what I had. You know how you have those random items in the back of your pantry that get forgotten for weeks (or months)? Through this process, no can of soup went undiscovered.

Once I knew what food I had in the house, I gathered all of my recipes, poured myself a drink, turned on a movie (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir), and made myself comfortable. It was time to go through my recipes and decide what I was going to eat for the week. I chose these recipes based on three things:

  1. recipes calling for ingredients I already had
  2. recipes calling for common ingredients
  3. recipes that would satisfy me

I’ll share the recipes I picked later, but so far they’ve worked out! Once I knew what I was going to eat for the week, I went to the grocery store and bought 27 items….to last the whole week!

After grocery shopping, I filled up my car with gas. This is one area where I know I’ll have to spend some money during the week. I can only put so much gas in my car, so I’ll just have to spend a little money to refill my car at some point. There’s just no getting around that.

So, a little meal planning, grocery shopping on Saturday, and filling up on gas for my car and I’m off to a pretty good start. Stay tuned to see how this experiment turns out. I’ll be giving you updates as I go along.

Have you ever tried anything like this? Any suggestions for me?

Have you seen Miracle Whip’s campaign?

Miracle Whip - Love Us?

Miracle Whip - Hate Us?

Miracle Whip is asking people to openly and honestly tell them what they think of their product. This takes product reviews to a whole new level. Instead of recruiting positive reviews (“If you love us, let us know!”) and understanding that some negative reviews will come your way, too, Miracle Whip takes a bolder approach:

Love Us? Great!     Hate Us? Great!

They aren’t asking people to “like” them on Facebook or to be their “friend”. They are asking people to claim a strong emotion: either Love or Hate. Miracle Whip is bringing passion back into a brand that I, at least, would have considered a tired and old brand.

Miracle Whip is calling on their passionate consumers and their passionate consumers are coming through for them. At the time of this post, the score is 48,698 LOVEs and 2,811 HATEs.

Love Us? Hate Us?

Love Us? Why?

I hate Miracle Whip. My mom and Mamaw have always used it (pretty much all of my Alabama family uses it), but I prefer good ol’ mayonnaise. I’ve tried Miracle Whip and decided I don’t like it. Mayonnaise just tastes better. I don’t buy Miracle Whip and I’ve not reconsidered my stance on the Miracle Whip vs. Mayonnaise debate since I started buying my own groceries.

However, this campaign got me to try it again. I requested a sample and decided to give it another shot. Why not? It was free, after all.

I still don’t like it, but this campaign got me to try it again after I had decided not to use it. It got me thinking and talking about it. Now, one of you may read this post about Miracle Whip, try it, and like it. That’s how good campaigns work.

Do you Love them or Hate them? Tell them here and let me know in the comments below.
Don’t forget your free sample.
You can even see Pauly D let them down easy. Apparently Miracle Whip is NOT Pauly D approved.

Miracle Whip YouTube Page

Nigel Hollis, Harvard Business Review, is not impressed with this campaign. Claiming that it is little more than a remake of Marmite’s “Love It or Hate It” campaign.

Elaine Wong, however, has a more favorable view on the campaign in her review for Forbes.

I guess for the campaign, much like Miracle Whip, you either Love It or Hate It.

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This direct mail piece came to me from Bank of America, suggesting that I save my tax refund “for when [I] need it most.” They provided several tips on how to make saving easy for me and it sounded like a great idea!

Bank of America Direct Mail Piece

Problem: I got this YESTERDAY.

I still have some of my tax refund left, but most of it has already been spent on vet visits and blinds for my new house.

This just goes to show that a perfect idea, when delivered at the wrong time, is a waste.

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Last year I was on the planning committee for Social Media Atlanta with Bert DuMars and Stephanie Frost. It was a huge success with over 50 events and 3,000 attendees. This year, we wanted to do the same event, but rebrand it to include mobile, gaming, etc. This year, we present: Digital Atlanta

As an organizer for Digital Atlanta, I attended an event on conferences at SXSW called, Conference Startups: Grassroots Innovation Rocking the Event World. I was able to learn a lot from people who had put on events for longer than I have. More about that later…

Here was the most interesting takeaway: We took a poll of the room (about 60 people) and asked, “Which event format do you prefer?” The results were very surprising.

  • 80% core conversation
  • 10% good speaker
  • 10% interview
  • And ONE person said that they preferred a panel format

Do panels bore people? Are we burned out on that format? More importantly, if this is how attendees feel, why is every conference crammed full of panel discussions?

As we continued our conversation we found that, generally speaking, Beginners prefer presentations at conferences and Practitioners prefer conversations. Do you find this is true? How advanced are you in digital media? Which format do you prefer?

Thanks to Chris Schultz and Patrick Vlaskovits for presenting Conference Startups: Grassroots Innovation Rocking the Event World at SXSW.

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