• Traveling Reveals What’s Important

    So great to see Tyler and Katie in Portland
    So great to see Tyler and Katie in Portland

    I spent the last 2 weeks on the road with The Undeniable Tour. I flew to San Diego and drove to Seattle, doing a speaking engagements and mostly staying in hostels along the way. I lived out of a small suitcase in the backpack, and I could have brought less if I didn’t have to dress like a professional or be prepared for such a wide variety of weather.

    Hanging out with Clinton in Hollywood
    Hanging out with Clinton in Hollywood

    When I step back and reflect on my adventurers from a personal perspective, I see that traveling with such few possessions and traveling by myself reveals some of my core values. I hand selected my speaking engagements, lodging, who I interacted with, and how I spent my free time. It’s been a long time since the last time my days felt like they were my own and not dictated by deadlines and to-do lists. I often drove without music or the news playing in the car so I had lots of time to be alone with my thoughts.

    Even though I am a gregarious performer, I’m a very simple person when it comes to my tastes and what’s important to me. I like super soft fabrics, memory foam mattresses, hot coffee, and excessively hot showers. I like to be near the ocean even though I hate getting sand in my shoes. When I had down time during the tour, I often went for a walk, read my book, or slept. I wish my city was more walkable.

    Reunited with Sarah in Seattle
    Reunited with Sarah in Seattle

    I enjoyed chatting with my fellow travelers in the hostels, but I wouldn’t say that I socialized with them. I was in each city for only a couple of days at most so I was picky about who I spent quality time with. I’m really glad that this trip allowed me to see so many of my friends, some of who I hadn’t seen in close to a decade. There have been several times I’ve contemplated putting a map of the U.S. on my wall and marking where all of my friends live with push pins to help me remember who to look up when I’m on the road.

    Living out of the suitcase reminded me how little I need to be happy and comfortable. It made me want to continue my diligence in regards to living a minimalist lifestyle. Since returning to Phoenix, I’ve added a few things to my donate-to-charity pile.

    This trip definitely showed me that it’s important to periodically take a break from my everyday routine and surroundings to reflect on who I am, where I’m going, and what’s important to me. As much as I enjoyed sharing information and ideas with my audiences about how lawyers and law students can use social media and the blogging in their professional careers, the weakest gained from this trip for me personally was it gave me some time and space to think about my priorities.

  • I am not a social media expert, guru, or whatever those people are calling themselves this week. I’m just a person who loves social media. I’ve learned how to use it mostly by watching others and attending my fair share of social media seminars for individuals and business owners. I’m lucky that many of my friends are well-regarded for their work in social media marketing and I know shut up and listen when they’re talking about what works.

    #SaveTheKittens; Photo by dougwoods from Flickr
    #SaveTheKittens; Photo by dougwoods from Flickr

    It’s frustrating to see companies and organizations suck at using social media. They clutter the feed with garbage which damages their reputations. I had it crammed down my throat that social media is a communications tool to facilitate interactions with others; it’s not a digital billboard. There are times I want to tweet at people, “Every time you suck at Twitter, a kitten dies,” but I know it’s a waste of time because they don’t pay attention to what anyone else says about or to them.

    Here are some of the most common and annoying offenses people are committing with their social media accounts and putting kittens in fear all over the world that they might not survive your next post:

    1. Having social accounts and never posting anything or abandoning your accounts for long periods without explanation.
    2. Having social media accounts but never responding when anyone tries to interact with you, especially customers.
    3. Talking only about yourself. This is especially true if you exclusively post “sales-y stuff.”
    4.  Thanking every person who likes or follows you. (This looks like bragging or that you have nothing useful to say.)
    5.  Bombing the feed by posting several times in a row.
    6.  Deleting posts to correct or clarify statements. (It’s better to post an update instead.)
    7.  Starting a blog and stop adding posts after two weeks (sometimes less). Blogging takes a commitment.
    8.  Connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts so your tweets make no sense because they cut off after the 140th character.
    9.  Asking for retweets (aka digital panty throwing) or indulging digital panty throwers.
    10.  Tweeting that you posted something new on your Facebook page or another social media account. (If your fans cared what you put on your other profiles, they would connect with you there.)
    11.  Posting dead links or bad links.
    12.  Getting defensive with critics.
    Don't let this kitten die because you suck at social media; Photo by kennymatic from Flickr
    Don’t let this kitten die because you suck at social media; Photo by kennymatic from Flickr

    Facebook has a “like” button, but I think they need to add buttons for “dislike” and “dead kitten.” Most of us cringe, grumble, and unfollow when someone sucks at social media. Perhaps adding these buttons would help companies understand when they suck and inspire them to seek out professional assistance.

    One of the best social media tips I’ve received is “be useful.” Think about your audience’s needs and look for ways to interact with them. If you see yourself in the list, here are some book recommendations for being better at social media:

    For those of you who are visual learners, check out Oatmeal’s take on this topic.

    Hat tip to everyone to contributed tips and suggestions for this post.

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