Very cool things happened to me on Valentine's Day. Or maybe I should say they happened for me. The phrase happened to me implies that I had nothing to do with it, and that is not the case, because I managed to work some Social Media Mojo.
And now, a Synopsis:
- After Auntie Ev, the Keeper of the Pudding, passed away last March, I decided to make our family's traditional plum pudding as a surprise.
- Operation Plum Pudding was a complete success.
- On January 7, I tweeted the idea for telling this story to the lovely folks at The Story with Dick Gordon.
- I went to our local public radio station in Chapel Hill, where they tape the show and told my story Into a Microphone.
- I then tweeted our local paper, The Garner Citizen, to see if they'd want to run a piece about a local girl (that would be me) appearing on a nationally broadcast radio station.
- I heard from a reporter, answered email interview questions, and she came over to the house to take pictures and finish up the interview in person.
- The folks at The Story were initially going to run my piece at Christmas, but they thought it was so sweet that they ran it on Valentine's Day. Yay!
- The online version of the story in The Garner Citizen also ran on Valentine's Day. The print version came out on 2/16.
Now, I absolutely know that this story wouldn't have gotten out there (except on my blog, which, while delightful and informative, doesn't have overwhelming hordes of readers) if it hadn't been for social media.
While I probably would never have picked up the phone and called the producers of The Story with Dick Gordon or The Garner Citizen, tweeting was a no-brainer. The worst that could happen was that they a)wouldn't answer the tweet or b)would say no to the idea of my story. Either way, I'm in front of a computer, so no harm, no foul.
Some people begin a blog, and it strikes a chord with people, and before long, there are book deals and/or movie deals In the Works. But, whether our online endeavors become a part of Internet culture or not, we all have the potential to contact almost anyone anywhere in the world in one of the most direct ways possible. And that means that, with a little imagination and a little chutzpah, and an electronic mask if necessary, any one of us can find ourselves talking to people who can disseminate our message to a much broader audience.
Sitting at a computer is a potentially very powerful place to be, and part of that power comes from anonymity. Just like Peter Parker isn't so heroic until he puts on a mask (and skin-tight suit, but I'd prefer not to go so far), I, and maybe some of you, tend to act a bit more boldly while letting my avatar and screen name represent me.
I mean, really. How ballsy of me to shoot off a tweet to the folks at The Story?! Folks who routinely run stories of International Import. And there I am, asking if they would like to hear my plum pudding story. It's a good story, don't get me wrong, but I don't think it's on the same level as updates on what's happening in Egypt or Tunisia or Afghanistan. I will grant that it has great human interest, especially for people who cook and bake, but it's not exactly stop-the-presses material.
So, in the anonymity and safety of my computer desk, I raised my electronic hand and asked to be called on. Not only was I called on, but I got to Go To the Head of the Class and tell my story. And then, I got to go to another classroom and tell my story again.
I guess the point is that, in this age of social media and electronic connectivity, you can be your own PR machine. I don't have a PR person, so I act as my own PR person. All it takes is some imagination and vision, the ability to listen to your intuition and then act on the impulses that feel right, the balls to actually click "tweet," and then put your money where your mouth is by stepping out from behind the electronic curtain. It sounds like a lot, but the payoff can be even greater. Nothing ventured nothing gained.
The plum pudding story is a gift to my family, in memory of Auntie Ev and in honor of Uncle Ray and Auntie 'Leenie.
Please listen to my segment on The Story with Dick Gordon here.
Read the article in The Garner Citizen.