The Importance of Being Understood

I’m a fairly average person. I work, I play…I am a mom. I am a wife. I am CEO of an online marketing agency in Atlanta. I advocate for victims of CSEC (the commercial sexual exploitation of children). I have a lot of lovely friends and do fun stuff with them whenever possible.

So I’m busy and I value my time. Just like everybody else, I would imagine. I’m not complaining…in fact I wouldn’t have it any other way. But today I got a phone call that really got under my skin. The gentleman was very difficult to understand but it basically went down like this:

Heavily Accented Guy: Hello. May I please to tell you that this is NOT a sales call. I would only like to know if Mr. Bex Mit…Mit…Mitch…Michelle, still the CEO of your company, Social Butterfly? I would like to extend an invitation to him to join our conference.

Me: (Thinking, “Ok, Archie Bunker…not all CEO’s are men. But nice try.) But I said, “Thank you for calling, but we’re not interested.”

HAG: You don’t understand! This is not a sales call!! Is Mr. Bex Michelle still CEO of your company or not?!

Me: **click**

Ten seconds later, my phone rings again. REALLY. He called back! Thanks Skype, for making it so easy for people to make cheap international calls.

HAG: DO NOT DISCONNECT THIS CALL AGAIN. It is not a sales call! (cue his haughty voice) You need to understand that I am only verifying that Mr. Bex Michelle is still the CEO of Social Butterfly so that we can extend him an invitation to our conference.

Me: (…pausing to allow my tongue and brain to catch up with each other so that I don’t go unnecessarily off the deep end with this tool.) YOU need to understand that Bex MITCHELL is not a man. She’s a woman. And you are speaking to her. And it is simply not possible, based on the quality of this call, that you are going to invite me to anything I would be willing to attend.

I hung up my iPhone, wishing that I had been on a land line instead so that I could have hung up more loudly than just silently pushing a button on my screen.  I was angry, for a few reasons.

Let’s take the gender thing out of it. Yes, I think that he assumed that because I’m a CEO I’m a man. And he was probably rude to me because he thought I was “just” an assistant and/or secretary who didn’t matter (wrong again…had he spoken to anyone on my team like that he would have gotten the same or worse reaction from me).

This guy sounded an awful lot like someone who lives in India. I have no problem with people from or in India. In fact, I have friends I adore from there. But if you are going to market to me, shouldn’t I be able to understand more than 60% of what you say??

My company offers online marketing to other firms. So I get the whole outsourcing thing. We offer SEO and social media solutions for companies big and small. We also create websites that our search engine optimized. We are, for many of our clients, an outsourcing option for them. But we match our resources carefully with our clients demographic. And the most primitive consideration there is language. So we do not “offshore” these jobs to India (or any other place). We homeshore them by working with people who have matched interests and background with our clients demographic. Also, I’m an American and I work for American companies. So…I like to hire other Americans to help us out.

I think that the call I had today is a great reminder of why it’s important to remember that the people who engage your fans and followers in social media, just like the people who make cold calls on behalf of you company, are the face of your company to all who encounters them. The first message your clients, fans and prospects receive shouldn’t be “we don’t really understand each other.”

SoCon12, coming up!!

Have you ever attended one of the SoCon events? The next one is coming up on February 3rd and 4th. From a networking party at SweetWater Brewing Company to an all day conference at KSU, there is something for everyone! I find that it’s a great way to stay on top of the constantly changing landscape of social media. It’s also great for networking.

Check out the break out sessions. How will I ever choose???

10:30 – 11:30am Break out session #1
• Always On: Will Traditional Computers Survive the Mobile Revolution
• Augmented Reality
• Lessons in Video PR
• Socializing Local Store Marketing (LSM)
• The Future is Now: Social TV and What Consumers Want
• The Great Unfollow Experiment
• The War On Stupid
• Educating (Dr.) Rita
• Social Service: Cultivating Responsible Fans
• The Value of Incorporating SEO-friendly Content into Web content

1:15 – 2:15 pm Break out session #2
• Be a Big Fish in a Small Pond: Growing Your Venture Overseas
• Connecting Georgia Greens – Real World Examples
• Creating and Leveraging Sustainable Social Media Communities
• Crowd Financing 101
• The Creative (not creepy) Use of Social Media Analytics
• Social Media for Advocacy: Using Next Generation Tools to Spread Awareness and Influence Policy
• Quit the Daily Grind: A Former Newspaper Reporter’s Social-Media Journey to Freelance Success
• The Social Journey
• Designing for the Mobile Age

2:30 – 3:30pm Break out session #3
• Create, Connect, Collaborate: Words that work online
• The Intersection of Social Media and Communicating Sustainability
• The World Has Gone Mobile: Use Your Basic Web Skills to Build iPhone and Android Apps
• Why Time Consuming Blogging, Twitter and Facebook Strategies May NOT Work for Your Business: Consider These Alternative Social Media Strategies
• Mine! No, Mine! : Who Owns Social Media?
• Would You Like A Badge With That? Event Organizing In A 2.0 World
• Building Web-Based Augmented Reality Experience
• She Said, He Said
• Crowdsourcing content: The social consumer as a source for content and dialogue
• Social Media Mistakes and how to handle them (Dealing with Online Reputation Management)

If you would like to  join us, use discount code “CSJ15” by January 20th and get 15% off SoCon12’s already low price. Seriously…it’s a steal!!

Here is a link to their Facebook Event and for my twitter peeps, the hashtag is #SoCon12. Hope to see you there!!

Don’t step in the Shinola!

represents how the internet and social media have made for 24/7 info and news and the end of the phrase "stop the presses"?!?!When I was a kid the phrase “Stop the presses!!” was well known. I used it in my vernacular in all sorts of ways:

To display a happy surprise, “Stop the presses! It’s finally stopped raining!”

To my little brother, “YOU got…a…date?!! Stop the presses….” (Sarcasm was used as a second language in our home.)

This reminds me of the time I took my kids to a Sock Hop. One of my daughters mentioned how much she enjoyed the party decorations and commented that she’d especially like the “big black CD’s” that had been stapled to the walls. That’s the moment I realized that my kids had absolutely NO idea what a record was and that the phrase “two turntables and a microphone” would be completely lost on them. WEIRD.

I think it’s basically the same concept when it comes to stopping the presses. Kids today probably won’t know this phrase unless they work with a printing company (which, by the way, I have a fabulous commercial printer if you need one!). Do we need print? Absolutely! I think “stop the presses” means to stop printing the newspaper because something new, exciting and super important has happened and needs to be added to the news before it’s distributed to the masses.

These days, when something like that happens, I don’t have to wait for the evening newspaper. I don’t have to wait for the 11 o’clock news, either. If I’m on my computer or near my beloved iPhone, rest assured, the news will find ME with little to no effort on my part.

It’s debatable whether this is a good thing or not. On the positive side, I love being informed. The negative is that it can be distracting to have pieces of information pushed to me 24/7. And sometimes it can be unsettling how “smart” social media is becoming. suggests news articles to me based on what I’ve read in the past. suggests people that I might know with surprising accuracy.

But make no mistake about it, social media is completely changing how we communicate.

When it comes to social media, you better know your shit from shinola.In preparing for this blog post I googled “old-fashioned quotes” and “things old people say” in hopes that I could think of another example of this phenomenon. That’s when it leaped off of the page: “You don’t know s**t from shinola.” What DOES that mean?! I’ve always wondered. Now I know! And I’ll share that information with you. In a nutshell, Shinola used to be a brand of shoe polish. So it basically means that you can’t tell the difference between shoe polish and a cow patty you might have stepped in. Live and learn!

What’s your favorite outmoded saying?

I’m doing a little Cabbage Patch Dance….

Managing social media content for other companies is super duper fun. Sure, we have good days and bad days just like anybody…but to be compensated for playing all day long on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, etc…well, it pretty much rocks.

And it’s especially rewarding when one of our clients scores something great. Take, for example, our client Cox Culinary Emporium. Their FABULOUS Lanita Ware product was just featured on the CBS Early Morning Show. When our social media clients win, we all win.

Here I am, enjoying a raspberry lemonade at the pool with my fabulous Lanita Ware Wine Goblet. (They also have martini and champagne glasses, too, all made of high quality BPA free plastic that can go in my dishwasher — top OR bottom rack!!)

Getting social with Lanita Ware at the Pool

But it was Matt Blashaw of the DIY Network who really made it shine on CBS…and I should also mention that I might have just a teensy-weensy little crush on him now. Sigh……………

Join my celebration and check out Cox Culinary Emporium’s Famous Lanita Ware on CBS here!