I hate social media. Yet I find myself not sleeping for virtually three days straight just thinking about it.
When I got out of the Navy in 2007, a whole new world opened up to me. I was finally able to dive back into the whole web design and development again… all without the pressure of “mission critical” stuff. or having that gnawing feeling that when the next mortar/rocket hit, you’re next!
THE WEB THING is all fine and dandy. But I also noticed the monstrous trend that was emerging all over the US and the UK.
From tweeting California wildfires to memes to meetups and tweetups. WEB 2.0 to 3.0′s semantic thingies. From blogging about this, blogging about that. Viral videos here and there. Heck, it even got an African American in the office for the first time! (SHEEESH! Who would dare mess with Hilary Clinton? She’s like über awesum! Yet still, she lost to Obama… WOW!)
I moved to Texas and got into this whole shebang on creating a website for a humble non-profit agency called Aware Central Texas.
Their mission is the prevention of child abuse/neglect as well as domestic violence prevention. Abuse is all one big cycle, apparently.
Anyways, even then, I was a young chick intent on making a difference in the world. I noticed the potential that social media can have on a young and small non-profit with A VERY BIG HEART.
I was thinking BIG.
A website is not enough. Twitter? Done. Blog? WordPress please help. Photos? Hey there’s Flickr. YouTube, smile everyone!
All these wasn’t enough. I found myself talking to me, myself, and I. My efforts in SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) we’re paying off. But still, not enough!
My social media efforts were not getting traction and I was heartbroken.
I read a hundred blogs, digested a few dozen books, watched a lot of videos, observed my family and friends, even and stalked a lot of people and organizations online (figuratively speaking, of course). Every month, I would impatiently wait for my “industry” magazines. I even forced myself to read some very long and boring case studies just to see how I can improve.
But to no avail!
Finally, the answer came when I enrolled in a Project Management Software course. I was reacquainted with some of the concepts that was drilled into me while I was in the Navy.
Of course I needed to do align my core values with the mission goals and objectives! And ORM (operational risk management)? How could I have forgotten? Resource tracking: I can’t believe I once considered myself a logistician at one point in time!
But the most important thing that I’ve forgotten or took advantage of was ye lesson that my very first supervisor taught me: the importance of a written plan.
Petty Officer Valadarez. Boatswains mate Second Class.
I was a young fresh recruit aboard the USS Boxer. Undesignated. Didn’t have a clue. BM2 gave me my first “palm pilot,” a small memorandum book with a quote on the first page:
“You do not plan to fail. You fail to plan.” – Abe Lincoln?
It was such an empowering act. I carried that memo book with me everywhere I go, even off the ship. Every time I needed a new one, I would always write that same quote on the first page.
I had a very successful Navy career as an enlisted person. And I attribute it to that seemingly insignificant act of leadership.
I NEEDED A PLAN.
In my excitement and strong infatuation with social media, I overlooked the
importance of a strong plan. My humble relative success as a financial manager and crisis problem solver made me foolish and cocky.
I’ve always thought that the reason why my social media efforts weren’t paying off is that because I was the only one in the agency who knew, understand, and excited about it.
If I had properly planned, I would have gotten a “formal” support from sponsors and garnered support and cooperation from stakeholders.
I would have had a clear inventory of resources and planned accordingly.
I would have had phased implementation plan that included the necessary training for the staff and other volunteers that needed to happen so that I didn’t get overburdened and ultimately dismayed and disillusioned.
TSK, TSK, TSK.
TSK, TSK, TSK!
2011. Came the Arab Spring and a slew of disastrous social media bloopers: positive or not, influential people and organizations of the modern world realized the power of social networks and the importance of connecting with their constituents. SOCIAL MEDIA HAS MATURED.
2012. With the support of the National Exchange Club Foundation, through the combined efforts of Sue Ellen Jackson, Harriet H. Brodie, and unwavering zealousness of Joey Ellis, Nancy Lechuga, and Zada J. Collins, Aware Central Texas is now in tow to become one of the successful Child Abuse Prevention Centers in Texas. The designation of being a C.A.P. Center. brings about more opportunities, demand, and a stronger urgency to better connect with the members of the communities that their organizations serves.
Including online communities that habitate and seek out help in social networks.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS HERE TO STAY.
And so am I.
For the next week or so, I will be glued to my laptop and my phone. I shall continue my research, ask questions, ask for help. It is time to walk the talk.
And for the times that I may stumble, I have a written plan, that I can refer to and change as needed. Wish me luck people…