Do Something

Stop!  Please don’t scroll past this post in your news feed.

I have something important to say, and I am hoping you will read beyond the headline and look past the picture attached to the post. This is a message to Democrats, Republicans, Independents and those of us who fall somewhere in between.  It is not meant to single out those who don’t agree with me.

img_0254If you know me personally or have read my blog over the years, you should not be surprised to see the Women’s March postcards ready to go in tomorrow’s mail as part of the 10 Actions/100 Days campaign. You already know I am passionate about women’s rights, that I want my daughter to feel empowered, and that I want my son to serve a country for which he is proud.

I understand your opinions and priorities may not match mine.  All I have to do is launch the Facebook app on my phone to understand that everyone is concerned about something and that everyone has an opinion. We are experiencing a turbulent time in American history, and it is being played out on social media, often at the expense of hurt feelings and lost friendships–both real and virtual.

The anonymous nature of social media gives its users a level of bravery they wouldn’t otherwise feel. Freedom of speech is accessible these days, and everyone, it seems, is exercising his and her right. Once the applause has died on that profound statement, I want to ask everyone who shares a meme or tweets a hashtag, to take your words and turn them to action.

One of the most impactful lessons I took from college was the opening and parting words of my professor for the Women and Minorities in the Media course I took as a mass communications major. She opened the course and closed it 15 months later with the same message: you cannot complain about something if you are not willing to do something to change the situation.

She was talking first and foremost about voting and making sure your voice is heard on Election Day. Your actions, however, should not stop once your ballot is cast.

Few of us are lucky enough to be close personal friends with our elected officials. I’m not Facebook friends with my senators. My congressman doesn’t follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and I’m fairly confident none of them read my blog. Unless I specifically tell them I am concerned about how little the presidential cabinet looks like me, they won’t know.

Today, I don’t care if you are pro-life or pro-choice, in favor of gun control or an advocate for the Second Amendment; in favor of immigrant rights or the building of a wall. My bi-partisan plea to everyone is to do something about it. Write to your senators, march in a rally, carry a catch phrase-filled sign, start a viral movement, make a donation. Do something to affect change.

I am choosing to write letters and joining a movement in which I believe.  Although, this will be new for my Ohio representatives, it is not new for me. While a Kentucky resident, I frequently contacted my Senators and Congressman about IBD research and legislation as well as funding for our troops.

After I addressed and stamped my latest letters to my new senators, I read them to my daughter and explained to her what they meant and why I was putting them in the mail.

She actually paused Netflix as she listened, and then she asked with what I think was awe, “You can do that?”

“Yes,” I told her firmly. It is my right to tell my elected representatives what I want. It is my right to tell them my opinions.  If we want change, we have to do something.

So before you log back into Facebook and Twitter to fill my feeds with angry words and stress-inducing sentiments, Do Something. After that, you can post as many memes and hashtags as you want.

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Social Butterfly

I signed up for Facebook a little grudgingly about five years ago when my boss asked me to give a presentation on marketing trends. “Sure,” I said, then went to Google in search of some cool graphics and quotes to steel insert with proper attribution into my flashy Powerpoint slides.

Article after article and site after site that returned for my query on “consumer marketing trends” was telling me that if I wasn’t participating in social media, I was was wrong. Well, at the time, I wasn’t being very social. I said hello to my co-workers and carried on intelligent conversations at cocktail parties, but I wasn’t being social…not the social–social media.

The first thing I learned in Presentation 101 was “know what you are talking about.” I knew I would never be able to give a proper presentation on marketing if I didn’t at least know what this new internet fad was all about. I made my first stop at Facebook, made a quick detour to gmail to sign up for a personal email account (no, I didn’t have one I used for non-spam email), and ended the evening at Twitter. I signed up for both, took a quick tour, called myself an expert and walked away.

I didn’t go back to Facebook until a few weeks later when I got my first friend request. Curious, I clicked the link in the email, and a whole new world opened at my finger tips. From this first friend, I found another, and then a cousin, a neighbor, the girl I shared a locker with in high school.

They wanted to see my family photographs, and I wanted to see theirs. They shared their likes with me, and I shared mine. They asked my advice, and I gave it freely.

One of the pictures, I found on Facebook the summer the Older One reported for basic training.

One of the pictures, I found on Facebook the summer the Older One reported for basic training.

I had FRIENDS, and soon I couldn’t go to bed without checking in and making sure they knew the amazing things that happened to me that day. When my son reported to West Point for basic training, Facebook was my lifeline. I scrolled through post after post hoping for a glimpse of my child who was so far away. And when tragedy struck the USMA Class of 2015 during that training, their mommas, this one included, turned to Facebook for news and comfort–forging true friendships in a world where a thumbnail image is sometimes the closest you can get to a hug.

I discovered my favorite brands were there too. Some gave me free stuff for liking their page and others posted cute cat pictures I readily shared on my timeline. I finally understood the trend I read about, and I was hooked.

Since then, I’ve become an internet marketer myself…starting brand pages, running contests, begging for and celebrating each hard-won LIKE. Until now, though, I haven’t taken the leap with my own brand…my Stiletto Momma brand.

Why? Afraid of failure probably. A Facebook page with one LIKE (my own) is a very lonely place.

The extra work it entails most likely scared me off too. As a marketer, I know that for a Facebook page to be successful it needs to be a place for conversations, not just a link to a post on my site. I’ll need to like other pages, share their content, comment on their posts, reply to their comments on mine. It’s a lot of work…but it could also be a lot of fun.

So, if you’ll have me in your news feed, like my Facebook and Twitter pages. I promise to give you valuable content, share my favorite viral videos and have an intelligent conversation with you over coffee…or wine if you prefer.

I believe in sharing the wealth too, so if you have a Facebook and/or Twitter page of your own for your blog or your business, leave a link to it in the comments, and I’ll like and follow you right back.

West Point Style

West Point cadets continue to impress me. They are athletic, scholarly and honorable. This week, I have come to learn they are also extremely gifted in the arts, particularly those of dance, videography and lip syncing.

Since the Older One left the nest for the next phase of his life at the United States Military Academy at West Point, I am much less in touch with pop culture than I was when he lived at home. Prior to this week, I had no clue Gangnam Style was a song from South Korean rapper Psy. If you had asked me on Monday what it was, I probably would have said it was some type of fashion statement. These days, with only a five-year-old at home, I know more about Sponge Bob Square Pants than the latest dance craze.

I am, however, a social media guru (self-proclaimed, since my day-job requires that I Facebook, tweet and blog in a professional capacity), and I know a viral video when I see one. Gangnam Style, with almost 360 million views, is just about as viral as it gets. As testament to its viral nature, spoofs of the video are invading YouTube like soldiers on a battlefield, and the creative geniuses admitted to the US service academies are not to be excluded from this social media war.

Two weeks ago, the Naval Academy created a buzz with its Gangnam Style-inspired video, prompting CBSNews.com to challenge Navy’s biggest rival to a musical performance showdown. Yesterday, Army responded with resounding force when the Cadets posted their amazingly choreographed and edited rendition of Psy’s pop-culture hit.

Strobe lights!

On-location production numbers!

Child actors!

Horses!

The gauntlet has been thrown. The battle is on.

Navy’s version has received over five million views so far. Army fully intends to exceed that and is calling for a full-scale social media attack. This post is my contribution to the effort. Please watch Gangnam Style-West Point on YouTube, share it with all your friends, then tell me what you think.

Social media and traditional media alike are picking sides. I know which one I prefer. How about you?

GO ARMY! BEAT NAVY!

Stiletto Momma

*This post is part of WordPress’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Easy as Pie. Check it out and play along.