Today I celebrate an anniversary. Today marks one year with Terralever as social media strategist. I was their first hire dedicated exclusively to social. I am categorized as a resource, and as is the practice of many interactive agencies, I was hired in a contract capacity while we felt each other out. Terralever assessed if I had the required knowledge and execution skills for social media strategy, as well as if I could share their business philosophy regarding return-driven marketing. I assessed whether the project work and client mix appealed to my ambitions, as well as if Terralever could share my philosophy regarding meaningful connections over metrics. And we both questioned how well we would play together.
Those first months weren’t easy. I was coming off of a year of un- and under-employment and was emotionally drained. Terralever was in the throes of organizational and cultural change and was confronting the all the inherent challenges of talent turnover, process development and service repositioning. The company also suffered a great loss with the passing of a colleague and friend. At the micro level, there were some marked conflicts between the tasks I was charged with completing my somewhat utopian view of social media.
No, those first months weren’t easy, but the decision to go full-time was. I had found a home where my skills and voice were respected. I found that company executives and strategy masterminds, Chris Johnson and Scott McAndrew (shout out to my homies…love them!) and I share many ideas about the core value of social media in business. Since then, I have worked with sales and account services to better align how social is positioned in the sales process with how it is executed during project delivery. I have taught coworkers and clients more about the field. And I have also learned from them, particularly with regards to development and highly niched applications (because I am by no means an expert in it all).
Ask me where I see myself in 6-12 months, and I won’t have an answer for you. I don’t think that far in advance. I’m focused on today, tomorrow, next month. I’m focused on right now, and right now I work with a kick-ass team of rock star talent turning out exceptional work for clients that make me want to do the happy dance on the regular. I am Terralever’s voice for social. Hear me roar.
Talk to anyone who has been to South by Southwest (SxSW), and they’re sure to have plenty of tips for you. Bring a lot of business cards. Don’t hang out with anyone you know. Carry an extra phone battery, battery extender, or battery charger with you. If you’re carting around your laptop, bring an extension cord, or better yet a power strip (you’ll be everyone’s new best friend, I promise). And specifically for the ladies, leave the heels at home.
These are all excellent tips. All except the very last one…
That’s right ladies, I’m recommending you bring your heels. Bring them. Wear them. Rock them proud.
Everyone tells you to wear sneakers because you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Miles and miles and miles of walking. And everyone is right. It’s incredibly important to wear comfortable shoes when you’re doing that much walking. But the advice about wearing sneakers is based on the assumption that heels aren’t comfortable. This advice is also, most likely, coming from men. Most men love a women in a pair of sexy heels, so they can’t possibly be telling you to leave your heels at home cause they don’t want you to look sexy. They’re telling you because they want to save you the pain of walking in heels.
Last year was my first year at SxSW. Despite my strong preference for heels, I took heed of the sneaker advice and packed whatever shoes had the flatest soles. I packed comfy sneakers, comfy boots, and a pair of comfy ballet flats I bought just for the occasion. I also back one pair of high heel boots in hopes that maybe, just maybe, I’d get to wear them. I wore my comfy sneakers. I wore my comfy boots. I wore my comfy ballet flats. My feet hurt every single day. On the last night, after conferencing all day in sneakers, I went back to the hotel and put on my high heel boots before heading for the parties. I walked miles that night, and my feet were never happier.
The men telling you and me to leave our heels at home don’t wear heels, and they don’t realize that for a woman who rocks heels on a daily basis, wearing sneakers isn’t necessarily any more comfortable than wearing heels. So my advice is to bring your most comfortable flat shoes and your most comfortable heels. Rock them each on different days or at different times of the day. Doing so will change the balance and pressure points on your feet, preventing you from repetitively abusing the same sore spots.
At the end of each night, when you finally stumble into your hotel room, you’re feet will hurt. Just as do the feet of every guy that told you to wear sneakers. Your feet (and their feet) don’t hurt because your shoes weren’t comfortable. Your feet hurt because you’ve been walking miles and miles and miles.
You know those posts where bloggers apologize for neglecting their blog, or only blogging sporadically, over a long period of time and subsequently promise to deliver more good content in the very near future? I’ve never understood these posts. It’s like having a meeting to talk about what hasn’t been done, thereby creating the need to have another meeting at some indefinite point in the future when something has actually been done. It’s a waste of time on something that has no point.
Yet bloggers still write, and publish, these “sorry I’ll be better” posts. And this is mine.
Thanks for reading. 😉