Tag Archives: social media

Laughter in the storm

Yesterday was not a very good day. Let me rephrase that. Yesterday was probably a fine day, but I was moody.

I’ve noticed something interesting over the past few years, more precisely since I’ve begun to work for myself and thus spend more time at home. My mood changes with the weather. Even if I try to avoid this, it just creeps up on me. I am not even sure it is a matter of light. I can be perfectly cheerful on a grey day, but when it is stormy, well, so am I.

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Writing for social media can be exhilarating. Actually, most of the time, it is. Seeing the audience respond is fascinating. Some are discreet, others quite playful. It is much like developing a relationship and I often tell my clients that the most important aspect of social media is to develop a voice. And it must be a genuine one.

On an emotionally off day, like yesterday, keeping the conversation going can be tricky. Sometimes, it is best to pull back and allow a bit more silence. Inevitably, however, at some point one person will post a comment that just brightens my day. In that instant, I remember that, in spite of my momentary sadness or anger, I am doing what I love to do and I am grateful. More than this, I am reminded that it is always in the midst of others that I am uplifted, even if it is a virtual encounter, on a computer screen. I need to remind myself to not be such a hermit all the time.

I ended the day with a long phone talk with my sister. I really try to make it a point to not indulge in much complaining, but I am far from perfect. There are a number of concerns on my mind these days, aside from my occasional one day of questionable moods, and I have come to realize that a bit of venting, in the right context and with the right people, is actually good medicine. It’s all about processing, and processing requires honesty, even if it means speaking harsh words for a moment. Even if it means a bit of swearing too.

My sister and I compared notes about situations we find exasperating. It’s funny how, though we live 200 miles apart, our respective experiences seem to mirror each other. Thus, we took turns bitching for a while, until our respective perceived problems led us to see that we too are part of the human comedy. At that point we usually turn silly and laugh like little girls who cannot stop giggling. This is great medicine indeed.

Meanwhile, I am working on another batch of Beech Leaf Pouches. With Valentines’ Day approaching, the gift pouches seem to be going fast. I enjoy making these and have been pretty good at keeping a daily evening schedule for artwork.

This evening is a bit different. I am writing from a table at 158 Main. I brought my tablet so I could write this while I wait for the  server to bring out dishes. She places them on the table for me to snap a picture before they are taken to their proper destination. I am slowly building an image library and will sit here on occasion at breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner to this end. Pictured above, the BLT on rye I enjoyed tonight.


The right voice

Beginning this week, in addition to sharing art projects on the PS MacMurray Facebook page, I will include occasional tips and content related to social media marketing. Since these are my areas of expertise, I will focus on social media ethics and the cultural aspects of communication. By “area of expertise” I do not mean to imply that I am the authority on the subject. Simply, I have a great interest in these topics and have studied them for nearly 30 years.

What is the connection to this blog? Let me explain.

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It has been about two weeks since I launched this new blog and the accompanying Facebook page. I spent the last two weeks asking myself how best to use them so that I offer a valuable message. One question kept surfacing: What is my voice?

I read a lot about social media marketing and participate in workshops whenever I can. I studied sociology of communications for four years, in college and at university, and absolutely loved it. There are different schools of thought, from the very aggressive “go for the money” approach to the more convivial voice. I am definitely not cut out for the big business approach. I firmly believe that social media provide a “place” for conversation. Hence the importance of a genuine voice.

It takes longer to build an audience with this sort of voice. It requires more thought and research. The resulting connections usually endure, because the intention is precisely that: to connect and really share knowledge and common interests, as in a “real” relationship. This is extremely important. I would hate blogging and Facebook if I were not able to use them based on these principles.

To be honest, I’ve struggled with finding my voice in my community. I love working with people. I love meeting people and learning from them. In spite of this, I am a hermit. For the past three years, I’ve tried to fit in by joining various groups. It never worked. Not because of them. Because of me. So I pulled back and gave this much thought. I asked myself what made it possible for the people in those groups to work well together and eventually came to the conclusion that it was because they are not trying to fit in. They come together naturally, going where their skills fit best, without effort.

Conclusion: It’s never about fitting in. It’s about giving free expression to whatever it is that we have to offer. For some, this leads to group situations; for others it takes a different shape.

Conclusion: Stop trying and start doing. Doing art. Writing. This is what I have to offer. So how do I do it in a manner that gives something? I asked. I must accept that if someone happens to find inspiration from my artwork or writing, then I have given something. I receive a lot from others’ words, art and experience every single day. I must accept that this works both ways.

Today, on the spur of the moment, I put the dog in the car and we went for a long drive. We stopped in four different places to go for walks. Today, I walked away so that I could clear my voice.

Since I am applying social media strategies to promote my artwork, I thought, why not share that knowledge with my audience as well? I’ll just share what I know, what works for me, the same way I share what I do; the same way we all share what we know and do.

See you here and there!