Still reeling….

I love social media. It’s especially great when there is something happening that you want to know about it. Or need to know about. Last week the latter happened: a horrifying tragedy unfolded in a sleepy town in Connecticut. The news began trickling onto my news feed on Facebook.

“Reported shooting at elementary school.”

“Two reportedly killed in shooting.”

“As many as twelve killed in shooting.”

And then, the most horrifying of all,

“26 were killed. 20 of them children, aged 6 and 7.”

I cried all day long, probably just like everyone else. I have a six year old. I just cannot IMAGINE. My heart just aches for everyone involved.

We do social media marketing for other companies so I went to our content scheduler and paused any marketing communications for the day out of respect for the tragedy. And then I cried some more.

Today is a dreary, rainy Monday. It suits my mood. Because today the personal details of those who died are coming out. Heartbreaking details about sweet little babies, gunned down by someone who’s name I’ll never say aloud. And the brave teachers and administrators who died trying to protect “their” kids. So tragic.

And now comes the downside of social media: omnipresence of information. The pictures, the gory details, the grieving families…it seems unavoidable. And let’s not forget the heated debates about gun control and mental illness. It feels inappropriate to launch into that as a town prepares to bury 20 sweet little kids. But I suppose there is no time like the present to try to make sure that what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary doesn’t happen elsewhere.

I think that I will always grieve for the Sandy Hook/Newtown community.

A Lust for Life

A good friend of ours died this week. Lee Dirks, along with his wife, Judy. They were in a car accident while traveling in Peru. They leave behind two small girls and heartbroken friends and family all over the world.

Lee was a joyful person. He loved music and introduced me to several bands. I remember dancing around his living room to Camel Walk, his favorite at the time. Decades later, the song still reminds me of him.



When we were newlyweds we stayed with him in NYC, where he was getting his masters (I think) at Columbia. We drove up in Don’s fiat convertible with a pony keg of beer tied to the trunk. He lived in Harlem…we must have been a sight, pulling up to his building.

I remember asking Lee why he was getting his masters in librarian science. He said that he wanted to dispel the myth that librarians couldn’t be cool. He surely achieved that.

He had a high level job at Microsoft and traveled the world, speaking about very cool stuff…he helped researchers catalog their research so that people could collaborate more easily.

He also had a love of social media that thrilled me. He was one of my first friends on Foursquare…I loved seeing his checkins. In and out of airports all over the world. Here is one of his final ones:


RIP, Lee and Judy. I’m so, so sorry that we’ve lost you.

Social Media for Franchises

Our company works with several Franchises so when I heard about FranCamp, I signed up right away. Fran Camp is all about social media for franchisees and franchisors. What a great idea!  In addition to meeting some great people I also learned quite a bit from the speakers.

Probably my favorite quote of the day came from BJ Emerson from Tasti D-Lite. Here it is, tweeted by the IFA:

Tweet about FranCamp

This is such an important consideration for a franchisee. That’s great if your franchisor manages a corporate Facebook page. But you may want to reconsider if that is the only thing keeping you from starting your own page. Engaging local fans on Facebook is an excellent way to deepen relationships and strengthen the brand affinity that your fans have.

Here is a link to check out some videos of the conference.

Fran Camp

Thanks so much, FranCamp, for the warm welcome. I am definitely looking forward to my next IFA (International Franchising Association) event!

Critically Considering Kony 2012

Watching events go viral always amazes me. Yesterday a friend of mine posted a video on my Social Butterfly Facebook page. It was created by a group called Invisible Children and it’s called Kony 2012. About two hours later a 12 year old in my neighborhood ran up to me (knowing I work in online marketing) and said, “Mrs. Mitchell!!! Did you see Kony 2012?? It’s awful!! My dad is buying me one of their shirts. And he NEVER wants to buy stuff like that!”

Then celebrities started posting it. I noticed it from Pitbull, then Ellen Degeneres. This morning George Takei (do you follow him?? Star Trek guy?? SO damn funny!!) posted something as well. My daughters (11 and 12) asked to see what they heard their friend talking about. So I let them. We cried together, watching a little boy basically ask to be killed because living sucks so much. Heart breaking. Then we heard that boys who are taken are turned into soldiers. Girls who are taken are made to be sex slaves. Both of my girls looked at me and I paused the video. I could see the wheels turning in their heads, trying to understand what they were hearing. To them, sex=the way you make a baby. And slavery = being owned by someone else and used for the owners purposes.

My oldest said, “Oh. I get it. They do that to make more child soldiers. But wait…little girls can’t have babies….”

It made me so indescribably sad to see her trying to understand why someone would make a child into a sex slave. But I guess, in this day and age, she had to learn about it sometime. I have a soft spot in my heart for victims of CSEC (commercial sexual exploitation of children) and have worked with a couple of different groups in Atlanta in that regard.

At any rate, the video is very well put together and deeply moving. There are clear calls to action and though it’s a bit self-indulgent at times, it’s certainly moved me to action. I shared the video with my circles and I bought some of their merchandise. As I was inputting my credit card number, I hoped that they are responsible with what will surely be a remarkable amount of money. I have experience fundraising and choose my projects carefully, looking for low overhead, clear goals, etc. I hope that they are keeping an eye on all of that.

I’ve also read many comments and questions that people are discussing online. The critics are coming out of the woodwork, urging caution and critical consideration of the group. That’s certainly sage advice. From what I can tell, here is the worst things the critics have come up with:

  • Kony isn’t even in Uganda any more. He’s on the lam, doing his dastardly deeds in other, less developed African countries.
  • The film implies that Kony has 30,000 kids in his army right now. But in truth, it’s maybe hundreds.
  • The ultimate goal of the film is to capture Kony and to bring him to justice. Raising awareness won’t do that. Really, only an army can do that. So what are we doing?? Are we forming an army? Are we suggesting that our Army get in there and find this bastard??

For the first point, I would respond with who cares where he is?! He’s still roaming freely, doing horrific things to children. I think that the film started in Uganda to show where this idea came from. It’s stated clearly enough for me that he’s moved on.

To the second point, he’s engaged in these activities for a few decades. Over the years, he’s enslaved and/or murdered tens of thousands of kids. I don’t care if he’s rolling with a posse of 3 right now…he needs to be brought to justice.

The third point is, perhaps, the best. This isn’t our fight. After all, children are pimped out on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia 350 times a month. We have our own issues, our own kids that we aren’t adequately protecting.

Interpol lists him on their most wanted list…and I feel like I’ve seen all that I need to see. He’s a bad man, doing horrifying things to innocent and impoverished people. I’m glad that my country sent troops there to help teach the local armies how to capture this piece of garbage. And I sincerely hope that Invisible Children holds their mud, by keeping clear headed leadership and LOTS of checks and balances when it comes to keeping track of the money.

Check out the stats for the video:

Kony 2012

On March 4th, 8 people watched it. March 5th, 58,000. March 6th, 2.7 million and yesterday, when I saw it, 8.2 million. As of 11:30 this morning almost 2 million people viewed it. That is what something going viral looks like. It’s too soon to tell if this was a good thing or not, and what the outcome will be. In the meantime, I’ll wear my $10 Kony 2012 bracelet proudly and hopefully, waiting for word that someone has caught this monster.

If you haven’t seen it, here you go. What do you think???

KONY 2012







Got mobile?

Have you ever seen a major brand do something kind of lame and wondered what gives? An Ulta opened up near my house and I’ve been thinking about checking it out.

I was out and about and thought I’d look it up, see what they have (I don’t think I’ve ever been in one and want to make sure that it’s the kind of store that I think it is).

I googled “ulta” on my iPhone and clicked on their link. With bated breath I waited only to see this:

Screen shot of Ulta's mobile presence FAIL.

Wait…what??? Seriously?!! Your landing page doesn’t support an iPhone?!! Unless your target demographic is septuagenarian men , I think we have a problem. I went to an event recently that was hosted by my favorite printer, ProGraphics. They had invited Jamie Turner to speak about all thing mobile…it was great. Here is a link to an article he wrote about launching a mobile marketing campaign. Check him out!!

Not convinced your website needs Mobile?? Do you sell things? And does the idea of selling more things make you happy? Then you probably need it. According to Google’s former CEO, Eric Schmidt, 78% of smartphone users use their phones while they shop. And that trend is growing faster than all of their predictions. It’s time to jump on the bandwagon, folks!