ISO Social Media Help (Because I’m Social Media Dumb)

You guys, I don’t even *really* know what ISO means. I mean, like, I think it means in search of; but I also don’t know when is actually the most appropriate time to use it. Like when I type it I feel like I’m some weird, middle aged pervert putting out a personal ad.

MWF ISO [insert disturbing series of acronyms meaning hook up with some bizarre set of preferences]

With that being said, I am ISO social media help. I’m social media dumb, which is hilariously ironic because sometimes people I know call me a social media expert.

(Side note: did you guys know that social media experts are actual people that get paid for going on Facebook and shit? Give me a fucking break, amiright? It’s like all the Communications majors of the early 2000s got together and realized they needed to legitimize their previously illegitimate major, so they created an entire field whose major qualification is the ability to post in 140 characters or less.)

Here’s a newsflash for the people that refer to me as that, though: knowing how to log onto my Facebook page makes me an expert in literally nothing.

So. I need social media help.

The problem with my blog (besides my general lack of genuinely likable qualities) is that it’s not getting out there.

You know, like I do the whole SEO and tag shit, otherwise it all boils down to who sees my posts on Instagram and Facebook and the like.

And, from the analytics I receive from all of those accounts: very few people are seeing them.

So what is wrong with me and my use of social media that makes others so seemingly successful, and me such a terrible flop?

I will tell you this: there is a lot I won’t do on social media that other, more successful writers and bloggers do handily. The two big ones are:

  1. I cannot – for the life of me – bring myself to post videos in which I sit in front of the phone camera and talk about dumb shit no one cares about. They all start the same way: “OK you guys…” and “SO I just wanted to hop on for a minute and share with you guys …” {Big, ridiculously loud UGH.} When I come across stories on any – and I mean any – social media platform that begin like that, my immediate reaction is to tap through that shit until it’s clear that it’s over with.
  2. I cannot get on board with the whole OOTD thing. Maybe once in a while I’ll post what I’m wearing, like any of you gives a flying fig; but outfit of the DAY?! Like a daily thing? No. Sweat-stained yoga pants and food crusted tank tops are not exactly what I would call Instaready.

Is that really what sets me apart from the winners, though?

So to help things along here, I’ve put together a quick, little poll for you guys to take. That is, if you even see this post.

Click my link and it’ll take approximately two minutes to complete… MWF ISO SMA

 

The Internet Is Full of Mean People and Bloggers, and the Two Are One In the Same

Everyone, whether they realize it or not, reads blogs. At least everyone that reads stuff on the Internet.

A lot of times I very intentionally try to only read legitimate news articles. I scope out particular sites I know to be traditional media; and then about a quarter of the way in I realize that I’m really reading a blog post. Then somewhere in there I realize I’m a total doofus because it says in bold print at the top of the page FROM THE BLOG. Really, written blogs are just opinion pieces with a different title on them. Facebook Notes are blogs. Tweets and status updates are too; so are Instagrams – whether you people like it or not, pretty much anyone that uses the Internet and social media has in some form blogged, or read a blog of any kind and been like “OMG this person is my soulmate – I totally agree with that thing s/he said about this topic I’m so interested in.” Even if it was just a Foursquare check in with the comment “best tacos ever.”

The list of things that could qualify as blogs is unending. Opinions on best foods for dieting, opinions on best strategies to work out, opinions on sports teams, joke Tweets, hashtag parties, #TBT and #foodporn…

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I could go on. As long as it’s logged on the web, it’s a blog. The Internet is for sharing, no way around it.

Once, a long time friend told me that she hated bloggers. Then about five minutes later she posted two updates – one a blog-style Facebook note on diet tricks and tips, the other a Tweet about how she thought Portillos had the best hot dogs in the history of hot dogs. (Irony much?) At that point I couldn’t resist, I had to ask why she shared so much stuff and posted her own blog-style updates, when in fact she claimed she hated bloggers. She clarified for me that day something I wouldn’t realize until years later is quite a profound statement on blogging, and the Internet in general. Bloggers – the Internet on the whole – are mean people; people so mean that if anyone ever disagrees with something out there, they and their friends/family/colleagues launch a full-scale Internet attack.

At the time, I immediately dismissed everything she said.

I have been writing for four years now. Probably five since that friend said she hated bloggers. Shortly after I began writing, someone (or someones – I really don’t remember) suggested I start a blog. I did, and it morphed into what it is today – a place in which I rant, complain, share stories, and sell my books. Sometimes I write a lot of blog posts in a short period of time; other times weeks or months go by with not a peep from me, as far as my blog is concerned.

You learn quickly in the blog world (the world of the Internet) that there are a lot of people out there with things to say and share, and yet only a select few of them ever get to the forefront. I mean – like – the blogs that go places. As in all things in life, it is very political. It is a lot about who you know. Usually, the most untalented of people are those that are read the most. You also learn that the worst writers are some of the most popular bloggers.

This isn’t to say that all of the most popular bloggers are bad writers, but there are definitely a handful of terrible writers and worse human beings out there that have mastered the art of page views, buzz words, and using infographics as legitimate substitutes for actual, real words and ideas.

And being mean anytime anyone questions something they’ve posted.

Yet you go with the flow and keep your yap shut, because if you say anything that the in-crowd and the people that adore them (read: anyone regularly published on the Huffington Post) doesn’t like; well then you are nothing but an Internet troll. An Internet troll with time on his/her hands, and “no life.”

And then you stop reading a lot of their articles or blogs, simply because you just can’t keep it shut anymore. You don’t want to happen to you what happened to those other people. You know, the ones people think are Internet crackpots. You don’t want to be told you’re an Internet troll when you say that someone sounds like a racist, judgmental dick; even when that’s just the truth. You don’t want to be name-called by a group of people you have never met in your life, simply because you disagree.

But you also don’t want to keep silent in a forum where people are supposed to say things.

It happens all the time. Someone posts some pithy piece of shit blog, and then anyone who speaks to the contrary or makes any sort of constructive criticism or dissenting opinion is called a troll and attacked with several “you”s (you just took that personally, you obviously have limited education, and so on). I just saw it this morning on a Huffington Post blog about suburban moms. Now, after careful investigation, I came to the realization that this particular post was a pitch for a new book; and also had a lot of potential (I mean we suburban moms do deserve a lot of poking fun at). But the article really was lazy – lacking introduction, bearing no sense of humanity or connectivity to the suburban moms that were so callously being made fun of; and in the end, concluded with a “buy my BOOK!” Really?

UnknownNaturally, when I returned to read the comments, anyone that dissented – that said it wasn’t that funny (it wasn’t), or that it was a little stereotypical (as I said, no connectivity) – anyone that said anything like that kind of a response was attacked with 66 or 89 (or some other absurd number of) other comments full of “you”s (you took it too personally, get an education and a sense of humor was my favorite).

Huh? Had I commented, I would have said it was unfunny and stereotypical too.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely Internet trolls out there who pick fights for no reason at all. You can smell them from a mile away, and they reek of a comment or reply that has absolutely nothing to do with what you are talking about. But somehow – somewhere along the line – any form of dissent or disagreement, or even comments in opposition or of slight criticism – are seen as Internet troll behavior. Negativity. Not PC.

Now I understand my friend and her harsh feelings about bloggers all those years ago. The Internet is like one, big bag of dicks – there’s so many mean people on it.

The mean people aren’t in the people that write blogs with jokes or satire, though. The mean people aren’t those that post about their beliefs about vaccines or breastfeeding or home births or about how judgmental everyone seems to become after they hit 30. The mean people aren’t those who have political interests or are overly zealous football fandom either.

The mean people are the ones who can’t take a little bit of opposition. The mean people are the ones who have forgotten that the Internet has a lot of potential to be a really fun place for people to share and communicate, about whatever they want really. The mean people are taking this potentially awesome place and turning it into a pile of shit with all their PC terms and delicate sensibilities. And this incessant need for everyone to always agree – no matter what.

What a terrible and boring place this is becoming as a result.

There’s an old saying I’m sure we’ve all heard: if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Well come on, Internet bloggers. Get out of the fucking kitchen if you can’t handle the rising temps. Maybe if you do, things around here will be cool again.

An Open Letter To Martha Stewart, From A Blogger (Not An Expert)

Last Sunday, I – like many – spent the majority of my day relaxing and perusing around the Internet. For the most part, I was just minding my own business. I giggled at memes of Grumpy Cat. I issued the obligatory Facebook ‘happy birthday’s and ‘congratulations on your umpteenth pregnancy’s. I pinned a bagillion-and-one Halloween projects to Pinterest. Like I said: pretty much minding my own goddamned business.

Eventually, I did as I always do: gave in to the temptation of the Google News Aggregate. I have a love-hate relationship with the news. For the most part, I believe it to be biased, uninformed, lacking facts, and discouraging. All over the world people are dying of famine, terrorism, disease; and the top stories are generally about Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. It (sort of) leaves a sour taste in my mouth; but then I say “sort of” because I also like to be informed about what is going on in the world. So I checked, before turning off my computer and moving on to some other form of weekend laziness.

That is where it hit me: an opinion article responding to an interview with Martha Stewart on Bloomberg television; which only took a few more clicks to view first-hand. In it, Martha said unfathomable words. I mean, they are fathomable; but at the same time so gauche for her to say. “Who are these bloggers? They’re not editors at Vogue magazine.”  She said. “I mean, there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. So bloggers create kind of a popularity, but they are not the experts.”

Puke.

I forgot about this major Martha faux pas for a few days until I headed today to Michael’s to buy some craft paint for pumpkins. As I walked down the aisle, I was then confronted with the Martha Stewart line of overpriced satin, pearl, and heavy-glitter colors. Satin, pearl, and heavy-glitter colors that none of the other brands offered, and which made me feel shame for wanting them, in spite of Martha’s crude and unfair comments on Bloomberg. Standing there, in the aisle, I felt light-headed and vomit-y over this clear conflict of my interests, and so I knew what I had to do.

I had to write Martha a letter.

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Dear Martha –

Every recipe I have ever made from your website tastes like total shit. And to top it off, they’re always way less healthy, and way more expensive, than the comparable version that I – a blogger (not an expert) – end up putting together on my own.

Sometimes I wonder if you know of any recipes that do not include heavy cream or $100 worth of supplies.

Occasionally I think you are more concerned about the presentation of your dishes than the actual taste and healthfulness of them. By “occasionally,” I mean all the time, because it is a case-in-point fact that all the sprigs of rosemary and garnishes of parsley will not make something overcooked, heavily creamed, and under-seasoned edible.

I’m talking about your dishes, Martha. Your dishes are overcooked. Your dishes are heavily creamed. Your dishes are under-seasoned. Your dishes, Martha – your dishes are inedible.

If I had a dollar for every slideshow I got sucked into when looking for a D.I.Y. homemade gift project that turned out to be something available for purchase on your website, I may actually have enough money to buy your overpriced non-D.I.Y. homemade gifts.

And if I had another dollar for every actual D.I.Y. homemade gift tutorial I was able to find that was just a cheap piece of garbage, I would be able to fund my own popular, lifestyle website. Where I’d actually share quality tutorials. Quality tutorials that people can do and that don’t end up being total crap.

I mean, come on: felted slippers? I know a ton of people that would love to get those one-time wearers.

A few weeks ago I was at Staples looking for a calendar book. You know: one of those little booklets you can keep in your purse or in the kitchen drawer. You write all of your appointments in it for a few months, then lose it or forget that it exists, or remember that your phone has iCal. I saw one in your new “Home Office” line of products, which had no dates printed. No dates. A calendar book. With no fucking dates. Right. It was twice as expensive as the Staples brand calendar book, which had the dates.

Now I’m just a blogger (not an expert), but it seems to me that if a calendar book has no calendar dates printed in it, then it should probably be less expensive that the one that actually took the time and effort to print the fucking numbers in the book. That’s just me. I’m no expert.

I’d like to thank you for getting this whole decoupage thing going. Not really, I’m not really thanking you. I’m being sarcastic. Bloggers (not experts) do that a lot. In any event, I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Vases, furniture, cabinets, plates, linens – not a one of them was nice or acceptable until it was decorated with tiny paper cut outs. Tiny paper cut outs of leaves, trees, birds, and victorian designs, to be precise. Now I spend my days looking around my house for places in which I can add a hint of gold leaf so that my home is as nice as everyone else’s. Fucking thanks a whole lot for that.

And let’s not even go into how many of your supposedly-unique home decor projects are really just putting flowers in a vase. No, Martha. Let’s just not go into that.

That’s the thing about us bloggers. We are not experts. We are not editors at Vogue magazine. We are not the inventors of this whole lifestyle thing. We are just people. People that have opinions and ideas and lives and experiences.

I think that those experiences – of trying recipes and finding them to be too much on the heavy cream; of making our own decorations for the season; of gifting on a budget – I think that it’s those experiences that make us sort of like experts. Experts of our own tastes and interests and likes and dislikes. My recipes and my crafts and my homemade gifts and my lifestyle ideas may not be tested by anyone but my family and friends, but I think they are good, healthy, affordable, and fun. What’s great about being an inelegant blogger, rather than an editor at Vogue or an ex-felon with a manly voice and a daytime TV show is that I have a place where other non-experts feel comfortable enough to come and share with me in our untested, unedited mediocrity.

In the end, that’s really all that matters. And anyway, does it really take expertise to put flowers in a vase, or to know that curry needs curry powder? I don’t think so, Martha. No, I just really don’t think so…

Chicagoland Bloggie Friend Frolic

I’m super duper sorry that I’ve been so minimal on the blog these last few weeks, you guys. It’s just that life got crazy a few days before we left for vacation, and it’s only now calming down as we go into the second week of our month-long stay in the Chicagoland area.

So before blathering on in blog posts later this week about all this crazy shiz that’s gone down while here, I wanted to first let everyone know about the Chicagoland Bloggie Friend Frolic that is in the works of organization for Sunday, July 14th at 4 pm in the suburb of Glen Ellyn.

It’s nothing fancy. Just people meeting up in a bar-ish type of casual setting. There’s a Facebook event for it you can check out. And above all, please share with people you think might be interested!

Whether you are a mom blogger, a tech blogger, a something-else blogger, an “I don’t blog but I read blogs” person, or someone that just enjoys laughter, come on by!!

Click the photograph to get the Facebook event invite. And make sure to RSVP so we have an idea of who to look for!

BlogFriends