Sunday, January 15, 2012

Get Out of the Way!

I've got several (more than one) websites that I am currently trying to manage. I have been bombarded by messages and suggestions (more like commands) that I must TWEET.  Ugh....I've been ignoring it but now that I'm actually doing commerce on one: VelvetHatbox, I broke down and decided it would just have to happen.

I set up a Twitter account in 2010, back when this blog was still just a Baby Blog (hasn't she grown up lately?) and found out, I know just as little about tweeting as a did back then.

It asked me my full name and I'm already intimidated.  The last site that asked my full name was a trick! When I got inside the activity portion of the website, everybody was going by all these pretend names like "BAware" (took me five days to realize it was 'be aware') and "QTme"  (I was thinking all this time it was "quit me" but not that I've typed it I see its actually "Cutie Me" ...imagine me sticking my tongue out making a gagging sound)

I went ahead and typed in my name anyway and then it asked me my 'username' so I put my name in again. "Sorry that name is already taken" "Of course its taken! That's my name!"  I gave in and added a - or a _ to my name, which would disappoint my parents because they did not name us with dashes and underscores.

This certainly was not the only disturbance I had with Twitter or that I have with other "social networking sites" (I even hate that phrase). Here's a breakdown of a couple of things I have problems with:

False Sense of Superiority 
When a machine tells me that I can't use the first name that I want to, that the name I've been given is "not available" I feel a sense of  "aw, rats!  I thought I was being so creative! How could someone else already thought of  myusername as their username?:"  

When  I finally came up with something ridiculously confusing, to keep others from stealing my password, that I will NEVER be able to remember, I thought, "HA! How do you like them apples? I'm the only one in the universe with THAT username" 

I'd share it but I'm afraid my computer will explode since it warned me like 18 times: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SHARE YOUR PASSWORD WITH ANYONE!   Ahem, Who would I tell, and who cares, and I can't remember it anyway because it was a jumbled mass of letters, numbers, with a couple of # _ = and - thrown in!"

So here I am with this new superiority complex, believing that I have finally arranged the above mentioned symbols, letters and numbers into a pattern that no one has ever come up with before! MuWahahaha! (evil scientist laugh) 

Greeeeat...... You're better than everyone else......riiiiight....

False Sense of Loyalty 1
I finally got signed in and got my very own original username. Then it asked me to choose five people to follow. I didn't recognize any names on the list at all except for three: Beyonce', Michelle Obama, and Snoop Dog.  

The first question was how was this list compiled? Did they assume from my brilliant username that this must be the list of people I may want to follow somewhere?  My next question was HUH?

I don't pretend to be the brightest knife in the drawer or the sharpest tool in wood shop, but I do know a couple of things about following folks and that is "Are they worth following?"   So I'm thinking that I like Beyonce' all right, but I don't really know if she's leadership material. Snoop Dog? I don't think so.   Of course Michelle Obama is worthy of being followed but I really don't think I care so much about when or where she's shopping (using my money, no less) and apparently if I want to know what she's up to, I have only to turn on the tv to Sesame Street, iCarley, and others. (REALLY, MICHELLE? REALLY?! I can't imaging Jackie Kennedy on iCarley...I'm Just saying)

I've heard people say that they "follow" all these different celebrities and politicians and talk about them like they are BFF's (oh my lord!)

"Oh! Adele said she finished a cigarette!"  "Marc Antony and JLo are getting back together! "  "Newt Gingrich is giving up the race already!"

Duh, duh, and  duh.

You're not their "friends" just because you click "follow" on tweet. They don't know you now and won't ever.   Even if you know their personal tidbits 10 seconds before it goes on public TV! Who cares?!
  You're not smarter than me, you're not better than me, you're not more popular than me just because you follow 631 people on TWITTER.  It means you apparently have more time than i do, and/or you will just follow any old Joe where ever he leads you. Because where she/ he leads you'll go.

So I wondered if Jesus was on Twitter and I'm sure that He was (I'll bet it was someone impersonating Him though, what do ya think?) but I'm not going to "follow" Him on Twitter the same way I'm supposed to follow Beyonce', snoop Dog and even Michelle Obama!

I finally decided the only people that I thought would make trustworthy decisions, that were worth my being a follower, was my family members and a couple close friends. I know what they stand for and I'm not afraid they'll lead me astray.

False Sense of Loyalty 2
I'll keep this one brief. When you Follow a company or industry on Facebook or Twitter, its a little thing we used to refer to in Marketing as FREE ADVERTISING! and believe me, the companies know this.

False Sense of Leadership 
Look at me! I have 624 friends on Facebook!  I have 232 followers on Twitter! THEY LOVE ME! THEY'RE FOLLOWING ME!  

They became a follower the same way you became a follower....CLICK!

Remember when classes were taught on being a good leader? Remember all the books that were printed about what makes a good leader?  Now books are written on how to get more followers, which has to do with getting more people to recognize your name and has nothing to do with your leadership qualities.

Here in Middle Georgia we have a fellow that comes on the news twice a week in the early morning called Dr. C's Leadership. He is an ancient white-haired fellow in a tweed jacket sitting in front of a green chalkboard (look it up if you don't know what a chalkboard is) looking very OLD SCHOOL. And he gives leadership tips. He says things like "Leaders listen to their followers. A good leader cares about their followers. A good leader chooses carefully, knowing people are following.  A good leader is humble. (look it up, PLEASE) and he finishes every segment saying "You, too, can be a good leader if you want to."

He has never mentioned social media and the false sense of leadership.  People who pat themselves on the back because 427 or 19,000 people recognize their names are not leaders. They are self-promotional but not leaders.

To Lead or Not to Lead?
The marketing class I mentioned earlier? We learned the difficult and expensive task of making flyers, designing better business cards, producing commercials and print ads to get your name noticed as often as possible.

Now, marketing is basically free. Will I take advantage of that?  You bet your sweet, patootie!  I have goods to sell at my online store! The more people that recognize VELVET HATBOX means more product moved out and moved in. Its a great time to be in business. No expensive rental fees or utilities. Overhead is generally nothing. And advertising is a matter of Click and FOLLOW!

But I want to be a good leader. I want to do business honestly. I may never meet my shoppers personally but I want then to be repeat customers. I want them to know that they can trust that if there's a problem, I'll do my best to make it right. 

My name (particularly my user name) is irrelevant, but I do want them, you,  to remember "Velvet Hatbox". It was inspired when I looked three feet in front of me and saw the gold velvet hatbox, that belonged to my mother, and possibly my Grandmother, sitting beneath my coffeetable. I put it there because it is lovely, its unique, and its "old school". 

Women used to NEVER travel without their hatbox, that obviously carried a valuable possession: a special hat that made them uniquely stylish, uniquely feminine.
A woman with a hatbox was a woman you wanted to follow.

 I used to hear all the time "Lead, Follow, or GET OUT OF THE WAY!"

It meant don't just stand there.  It recognized not everyone is a leader and not everyone is a follower but you MUST DO SOMETHING!  

To me, the recent Social Media Phenomenon is a TON of people who are calling themselves Leaders and Followers but are actually doing Jack S#*@.      NOTHING!

SO MOVE ALREADY! Get out of the stinking way and let those of us who are actually, true leaders LEAD! Those of us who choose to follow will choose wisely whom we should follow and will follow with gusto and our WHOLE HEARTS.  

A true follower of something or someone, doesn't just believe in the person they follow, they believe in the cause that the person represents.  

And with that being said...

Yes, please! Follow me on Twitter at DoubleWideMom and Velvet Hatbox (click on icons, of course!)

Next time I'll whine about Facebook and ask you to sign up for that. 
I know, How Self-promoting can you get?

1 comment:

  1. Well I guess I'm still in the dark ages, because I don't Facebook or Twitter. Not that I don't know how, but just a choice I made.


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