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Looking for your next social media resource? Then look no further than The Social Media Probook (#Probook), launched today from Eloqua and JESS3. It’s a a 42-page free (yes, free!) e-book collaboratively written by a cross-section of social marketers from brands and agencies, analysts, and social support professionals across both business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries.
The #Probook was developed to respond to issues organizations are dealing with right now. A few of the topics covered include:
- Social operational models for businesses
- Critical elements for scaling social globally
- Practical uses for geo (location-based apps)
- 10 “rules” for social advertising
And don’t worry, this isn’t one of those e-books where you have to sign up or register. It’s available under a Creative Commons license which allows you to redistribute, share or host it–as long as you don’t edit the content:
Web version: http://media.eloqua.com/documents/ProBook.pdf
Print version: http://media.eloqua.com/documents/ProBook-Print.pdf
If you think the teaser topics mentioned above are great, look at who the #Probook features:
- Jesse Thomas of JESS3
- Joe Chernov of Eloqua
- Brad Cohen of JESS3
- Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter
- Ekaterina Walter and Bryan Rhoads of Intel
- Leslie Bradshaw of JESS3
- Jeff Widman, founder of PageLever
- Chris Thompson of About Foursquare
- Robin Richards of JESS3
- Scotty Monty of Ford
- David Armano of Edelman Digital
- William Beutler of The Wikipedian
- Leslie Poston of Magnitude Media
- Adam Singer of Lewis PR
- Liz Phillips of Hewlett-Packard
- Jamie Grenney of Salesforce.com
- Frank Eliason of Citi
- Yours truly
@AdAgeStat, one of my favorite Twitter accounts <insert bias>, celebrated its one year anniversary on June 15 (the coordinating blog turns one on July 6). The account is AdvertisingAge’s social marketing and stat (and I mean A LOT of stats) focused content run by Matt Carmichael (@mcarmichael), director of information projects. To celebrate the milestone I interviewed the founder on his take over the past year and what’s to come.
What was the inspiration for AdAgeStat?
Carmichael: I (re)joined AdAge a little more than a year ago in the newly created role of Dir. of Information Projects. A big part of the gig is doing more with data, especially in the area of demographics and consumer trends, but I tend to paint that with a broad brush. It’s also partially an evolution of a now-defunct publication Ad Age acquired a few years ago called “American Demographics.” Basically, I felt that if we wanted to demonstrate that these areas of coverage were important to us, we needed to step up and write about it.
Out of all the stats you’ve shared this past year via Twitter, what was your favorite?
Carmichael: Fave stat? That’s like asking me to pick my favorite kid, right? I’ll give you five:
- More people follow @justinbieber than live in VT, AK, ND, SD, DE, MT, RI and Wash. DC combined.
- You’d have to buy 33.6 million six-packs of bud light to equal the $235m A-B spent on #superbowl ads from 2001-2010.
- The biggest brands on @foursquare, still not so big. 18K check-ins enough to lead our new exclusive ranking. (We were the first to have actual Check-in data from Foursquare)
- Ouch: In 2009, the U.S. lost 1.2m households from the $100K+ demo (Part of our “Wow, we’re hosed” look at today’s economy)
- 5.8m Americans have listed themselves as newlyweds on Facebook. The gender balance: not nearly 50/50http://bit.ly/j9yWU4 (Delving into the demos of social media sites to create a fun infographic.)
How/where does AdAgeStat fit in the AdvertisingAge family?
Carmichael: AdAgeStat is one of many Ad Age blogs covering different facets of the Advertising/Brand world. We work closely with the AdAge DataCenter, which produces our massive data products like the Agency Report, and Leading National Advertisers. So we leverage their data as well as generating our own, and curating from as many other sources as we can. Ad Age has, I must say, been hugely supportive of this venture.
Does AdAgeStat, the blog, accept pitches for story ideas?
Carmichael: Yes, we take pitches. E-mail them to email@example.com. We love data. We love graphics. We love to break new research, but that’s not always a necessity. Demographics and trends are important. We don’t care too much for case-studies, but prefer original research with as broad a reach as possible. Global (ex U.S.) stats are especially welcome. As with all things, don’t pitch something as “exclusive” if you have already posted it on your corporate blog.
Does AdAgeStat, the blog, accept pitches for “guest post” opportunities?
Carmichael: Yes, we take guest posts. First off, see the above. In terms of guest posts, sometimes people pitch me something and I’ll ask them to do a post if it seems that it will be more interesting in their voice instead of mine, or honestly if I’ve got a number of other pieces to write that week. It’s important to note that guest posts are therefore invited. Don’t just send over a pre-written post. For recurring posts, if you have ongoing research you want to share (like our Ipsos/Affluency piece each month) let’s talk.
There’s a lot of content coming through the blog and Twitter account. Who is doing it all? Do you have a team?
Carmichael:”We” = me, firstname.lastname@example.org and @mcarmichael. Obviously I’m also @adagestat which is the best place to follow. And I’ve got supportive editors and great graphics and development folks helping grow the visual side of our data. Also, I’m really lucky to get support from Peter Francese, the founder of American Demographics who knows more about how demographics and marketing intertwine than anyone.
How have social networks, like Twitter, aided in the success of AdAgeStat?
Carmichael: This is such a great question. When I started the blog/feed it wasn’t about traffic. That’s been a nice side-product, certainly but it was really about using data as a platform. I don’t think the blog would be where it is without the Twitter feed or vice versa. It needs that channel to really engage its audience. I has been great for source development — both people and data and really opened a lot of relationships for us. Like this one, @prsarahevans . Also, there’s a lot of content that goes through the Twitter feed that doesn’t get blogged about, so its an important adjunct to get the whole picture. And we try to have fun with it in ways that we can’t with just the blog.
What’s next for AdAgeStat? Anything juicy you can share with us?
Carmichael: We’re about to launch a e-mail newsletter for Stat of the Day so we’ll be on the Web, Twitter, and e-mail. Note that Stat of the Day does not equal Daily Stat. We’re adding some new recurring features to join our monthly “Affluency” column. You’ll also see more graphics and interactivity. We’ll keep the rest of the plans under wrap for now.
What would you like to see happen by AdAgeStat’s second anniversary?
Carmichael: If it were a child at a year old, it would be just starting to walk, and that feels about right. So in a year, it should be running and doing flips. What would y’all like to see from us?
Have an iPhone and use it to take photos? Enter the “quirky” photo sharing network and app, Instagram. The iOS-only app currently has a user base of 4.25 million in only seven months, with ten photos being posted a second. Pretty cool. If you’re new to the app or thinking about downloading it, here are some basic (and fun) ways you can jump in:
1. Use a filter. The most basic way to use Instagram. The app comes complete with built-in filters to bring a “nostalgic” feel to your current photos. In fact, the inspiration for Instagram came from Polariod pictures.
2. Participate in a meme. Take a picture of someone else with their iPhone taking a picture for Instagram. A little odd in the real world? Maybe. Odd for Instragram? Nope. Just tag your photo with #metagram.
3. Visually thank your top followers. How? Use the Instragram application, Statigram. To log in, enter your Instragram user name and password. It will take a few minutes to pull up your data, but it’s worth the wait. Once your information appears, scroll down to find your top follower information. Select “Snapshot this” and enter your email address.
4. Edit your photos and create cool effects with other iPhone camera apps. My favorites include: Outcolor, ArtCamera, Photogene, Diptic, Pinhole Cam and ColorSplash. If you didn’t realize it, there’s a lot of editing you can do from your iPhone.
5. Cats, cats and more CATZ. Your furry friend could land you among the “popular” photos on Instragram. Share a photo of your cat at rest, at play or up to no good. Instagrammers seem to love these little fur balls.
6. Follow your favorite brands and organizations. Many times you’ll get cool “behind the scenes” photos and connect with brand managers in a fun environment. A few I follow: Bergdorfs, charity: water, World Health Organization, Soulja Boy, NBC News, CNN, Starbucks and Mashable (yes, it’s a diverse group). You’ll need to search the app for user names to find them. (NOTE: I follow most of the brands on Twitter and was able to locate them from Instragram’s “find friends” feature.)
7. Hashtag it. You might know the hashtag from Twitter and it’s making its way in to other networks. Instragram is no exception. You can add hashtags to your captions and share them on other social networks, like Twitter and Facebook. You can also search for others using the same hashtag. I use this as a way to find other people to follow, especially if the hashtag indicates a shared interest or commonality.
8. Caption this. Offer an opportunity for people in your network to write the caption for your photo or photos. Just include a mention in your own caption to encourage the feedback.
9. Bypass the language barrier. Check out the main Instagram feed and follow people with photos you like. I’ve found many new, international friends I love to interact with merely by “liking” their photos. Although we don’t speak the same language, we do speak universal Instragram.
10. Create a photo series. Perhaps every Friday you post a photo of your favorite sports bobble head in a random location or maybe you’re covering Fashion Week and want to highlight your favorite designers. The possibilities are endless. What do you need to create this? Package them together via a common caption or hashtag.
What’s a fun way you use Instagram?
(Don’t have an iPhone? You don’t need to be left out. Check out PicPlz, available for iPhone and Droid.)
Today, Pew Internet released its most recent study on the “role that digital technology plays in people’s social worlds.” It’s chalk full of interesting findings, including: user behaviors, social networking sites (SNS) impact and lots and lots of tweetable stats. To make the study as easy to digest as possible, I pulled my favorite breakout moments. You’ll find each moment crafted as a tweet-ready “soundbite” ready for you to share. If you have the time, I encourage to read the study and identify your own favorite highlights.
General SNS Overview
- The number of those using social networking sites has nearly doubled since 2008 (Tweet this)
- 52% of Facebook users and 33% of Twitter users engage with the platform daily (Tweet this)
- Internet users of all ages are more likely to use a SNS today than they were in 2008 (Tweet this)
- The increase in SNS use has been most pronounced among those who are over the age of 35 (Tweet this)
- SNS users are disproportionately female (56%) and also comprise the majority of email users (52%) (Tweet this)
- Nearly twice as many men (63%) as women (37%) use LinkedIn (Tweet this)
- Avg age of adult MySpace user is 32, avg LinkedIn is 40, avg Facebook is 38 and avg Twitter is 33 (Tweet this)
- Fewer than 3% of all MySpace users joined within the past 6-months, 10% joined within the past year (Tweet this)
- Users of LinkedIn are much more likely to be politically engaged than users of other SNS (Tweet this)
- Facebook is most popular SNS (92%) followed by MySpace (29%), LinkedIn (18%), Twitter (13%), and other social network services (10%) (Tweet this)
- 22% of Facebook users comment on another’s post or status each day (Tweet this)
- Majority of Facebook users (56%) update their status less than once per week, 15% update at least once per day (Tweet this)
- Half of Facebook users comment on photos at least 1-2 times each week (Tweet this)
- 26% of all Facebook users indicate that they “Like” content contributed by another Facebook user at least once per day (Tweet this)
- Facebook users have more close relationships (versus other SNS users) (Tweet this)
- The average Facebook user has 229 Facebook friends with 22% made up of high school friends (Tweet this)
- Majority of Facebook users have sent private messages (82%), but only 37% send at least one message per week (Tweet this)
- The average Facebook user has never met in-person with 7% of their Facebook friends (Tweet this)
- Facebook users who post multiple times per day get 1/2 the boost in total support that someone receives from being married (Tweet this)
SNS User Overview
- The average American has 634 ties in their overall network, and technology users have bigger networks (Tweet this)
- Mobile phone users have social networks that are on average 15% larger than those who do not use a mobile phone (Tweet this)
- The average user of a social networking site has more close ties and is half as likely to be socially isolated as the average American (Tweet this)
- Internet users tend to be more trusting than non-users: 46% of internet users said that “most people can be trusted (Tweet this)
What do you think are the most compelling findings in the study?
Facebook rolled out a new feature that makes tagging friends easier in photos. You may not know this, but you’re automatically “enrolled” in this new feature by default. If you don’t want Facebook to “recognize” faces in the photos you post, you can turn it off. Here’s how:
- Go to your privacy settings.
- Click “Customize settings.”
- Scroll down to “Things others share.”
- Find “Suggest photos of me to friends.”
- Update your settings.
Opinion piece on CNN.com
(CNN) — Since I eat, breathe and sleep social media, when I hear someone’s online account has been hacked, tampered with or altered in any way I can’t help but feel bad. When Rep. Anthony Weiner announced last week not only that his Twitter account was hacked, but also that someone had apparently gained access to his personal photos along with access to a Twitter photo application, it made me sick to my stomach.
Then, the wheels in my head started to turn. Was this a prank? Was a competitor or political foe waging war? Was Weiner the victim of a new hack or virus I’d yet to learn about? I went into action mode. I connected with peers and clients to educate them on social network protection tactics, including password best practices.
I began to update client crisis communication plans to include a section on “online hacks resulting in sensitive information being shared.” This seemed like a learning opportunity. And if Rep. Weiner, for his part, handled it correctly, he could emerge unharmed.
Perhaps it was naive, but I didn’t consider the alternatives: that he had used and taken advantage of a real-life issue that many, from media outlets to, yes, other politicians, deal with on a daily basis — the dreaded hack; that he would risk his career and credibility by sharing private information on a public platform. That he lied…
Read the entire article, here.
It’s always nice to know a content producer’s (e.g. blogger, journalist, etc…) pitching preferences prior to the pitch. I mean it. The more I can customize my pitch to meet their needs, the better. Otherwise, it’s up to our best guess and good judgment.
Along with at least 1,000 other people today, I sent a pitch to Robert Scoble (@scobleizer), the well-known tech evangelist who also works at Rackspace and is helping to build the community site Building 43. Shortly after sending the pitch I received an auto-response. The auto-response wasn’t a generic “thank you” or “leave me alone,” but a guide on how to pitch him.
This is golden information for myself and my team (and hopefully for you). I thought I’d share the preferences with you in case you’re pitching him soon and as a reminder to think about the pitching preferences of others you reach out to.
…To PR people, if you want me to cover your product you’ve got to give
me more than one day warning. I do videos and I’m already scheduling
I don’t do press-release rewrites like other tech bloggers. It’s best
to get in touch with me at LEAST A MONTH before you launch (right now
my calendar is totally booked until mid-September — you can get on
that at http://tungle.me/scobleizer !). To see a successful pitch, see
how Flipboard pitched me (it is my favorite startup of 2010):
(Flipboard showed me what they were doing THREE MONTHS before they
I specifically am looking for world-changing technology and startups,
if you have one, please be persistent. I am often out shooting and
miss cool stuff once in a while.
If you are looking for my calendar, or other items, visit
https://profiles.google.com/scobleizer which has links to all of my
blogs, social media accounts, and calendars so you can see if I’m open
Another way to get through to me is to talk with my producer, Rocky
Barbanica. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Thanks and sorry if I don’t get back to you.
The takewaways from his preferences:
- Pitch him as early as possible. He shoots video and needs the prep time.
- He likes “world changing” technology. Did you tell him how your technology will impact the world?
- He’s busy, but has a producer you can also contact.
So, if you’re pitching someone like Scoble and you never hear back from him, bets are you haven’t read his pitching preferences.
Back in March I wrote a post about moving away from the generic social ask. What is a social ask? “Follow me.” “Like me.” “Friend me.” “Become a fan.” “Check in here.” You get the idea. And boy, oh boy, are these “asks” everywhere: our favorite magazine, billboards, store window decals, on television, radio and even in the menus of our favorite restaurants. These asks don’t even touch on what we experience when we join in our social networks.
After I wrote the aforementioned post I became extremely curious as to how many times a day people were potentially hit with social asks on their social networks. The web analytics and engagement management team at Alterian decided to indulge my request and track social asks for a month. What we found was pretty astounding–more than 3.34 million mentions were recorded over a one-month period of people making these social asks around the world
And that’s not all:
Want even more information? Here’s a link to the infographic social media release.
Want to embed this beautiful image on your blog? Feel free:
<a href=”http://www.alterian.com/images/Is_the_Social_Ask_Overused.jpg”><img src=”http://www.alterian.com/images/Is_the_Social_Ask_Overused.jpg” alt=”Is the Social Ask Overused” width=”960″ border=”0″ /></a><br />Via:<a href=”http://www.alterian.com/images/Is_the_Social_Ask_Overused.jpg”>Alterian and Sarah Evans</a>
Do you think the social ask is overused?
Calling all desk ninjas. Do you site more than eight hours a day for your profession? If yes, then yesterday’s Just How Dangerous Is Sitting All Day? infographic in Mashable might have scared the heck out of you. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, scroll down in the post. You might need to take a deep breath after, but not worry.
I went to my favorite fitness and nutrition (and nationally renowned) expert, Andrea Metcalf. I wanted to know what we could do to combat these scary stats. Andrea offered some great tips and helped me feel a bit better working from my sitting desk station:
The “Just How Dangerous Is Sitting All Day?” post is pretty startling. How many hours can you reasonably sit at one time?
Andrea: We have so many indications that being sedentary is horrible for your health– this hopefully would get people to stand up and do something about it…. including having companies require a daily stretch or movement program once or twice a day like in other cultures in the far east.
The report also says that exercising along with sitting several hours a day still increases the chance you’ll die 15 years earlier than someone who doesn’t sit. How can we combat this?
Andrea: Keep in mind that the study self reported exercise and self reported sitting in increments of sitting all day, 1/2 the day 1/4 of the day…etc. that said, what was noted of particular importance was extended periods of sitting had the highest risk association with or without exercise. Think of it in the simplest terms: any time the body is stagnant, circulation is decreased which means the toxins that compile cancers and increase cholesterol are manifesting and moving through the body at a slower pace.
Which jobs are most “at risk?”
Andrea: Easier to think of jobs that aren’t at risk… almost every profession has a seated portion: receptionists, office workers, computer programmers, bloggers, pilots, taxi/limo drivers, transportation (truckers, engineers, pilots, etc) and most office workers (the average office worker sits 6 hours a day). Another study noted the total reported time spent sitting per day (across all domains) was almost 6 hours less among the mothers than the office workers.
What are simple, basic exercises you can do at your desk or during the workday to avoid obesity and other negative consequences?
- between emails or every 15 minutes reach your arms over head then touch each hand to the floor while the other is held overhead.
- walk to a printer instead of printing at your desk
- tap your toes, circle your ankles, or just move your feet around as often as possible
- stand up! just standing alone changes your blood pressure and forces your heart to pump blood against gravity
- -turn around – stretch the spine…
2) Spine Rotation - Sit tall with feet firmly on the ground. Lift any 5-10 pound object (i.e.. gallon of milk a laptop or small weight)with arms extended out in front of your body. Lift the rib cage and inhale. Exhale as you rotate the object 1/4-1/2 turn to your right. Keep shoulders relaxed and inhale as you return to center. Repeat on the other side and perform 10 reps.
3) Seated V Balance - Sit to the front of your chair and slightly lean back off your sit bones. Staying tall and wide through your chest inhale as you draw your knees up; exhale as you extend the legs. Repeat 10 times.
4) Reverse Plank - Place your hands on the side of your chair?s seat and walk the legs out forward with hips on the chair. Inhale to prepare and then exhale as you life your hips upward squeezing the backs of the thighs and hips. Hold for 1-2 second and return to seated position as you inhale. Repeat 10 times.
5) Seated Roll Up - Sit tall with feet firmly on the ground and shoulder width apart arms extended in front of you. Inhale as your curl the chin to your chest and slowly roll down between your knees to the floor. Reaching out and forward exhale as you roll your spine one vertebrae at a time up to seated position. LIft your body slowly feeling yourself lifting and stacking each vertebrae at a time. Repeat 10 times.
What would the ideal work environment look like in the eyes of a fitness expert?
Andrea Metcalf has been teaching fitness, training clients, and coaching on the subjects of nutrition and health since 1983. She is a published journalist, broadcast celebrity, and nationally known fitness, education, and motivational speaker. Her work has been featured on the Today Show, Oprah.com, and many other publications and media outlets. Her book Naked Fitness, published in 2010, presents a new way to align yourself, walk, and eat your way to feeling great in your own skin. Her DVDs – including PainFree, Pt-2-Go, Keeping Fit Cardio, Pilates, and Strength – are available nationwide.
This afternoon the “This is sick! See who viewed your Facebook profile” spam attack is in full force. Why? I don’t have the answer, but I do know what to do if, in fact, your account is one generating the spam. The folks at Facebook provide a great resource to help those affected by the annoying issue:
If your account has been taken over and used to send spam, you should follow these steps immediately:
- Reset your Facebook password. You can do this by clicking the “Forgot your password?” link on the login page or by going to the Account Settings page once logged in.
- If you can’t reset your password because the email address you use to log in has changed, or if your account has been disabled, visit our help page.
- Make sure you have up-to-date security software on your computer, run a scan, and remove any malicious files. If you don’t do this, and your computer is infected, your account may be taken over again. If you don’t yet have protection for your computer, you can download a complimentary six-month subscription of McAfee security software. Learn more on the Software tab.
If you notice someone in your network generating the spam, you may want to: 1) delete the post off of their wall and 2) send them the link to this post or the Facebook Help Center link so they know to update their account.
Last, but not least, educate your social networks. Copy and paste this social friendly message to spread the word:
PSA for Facebook: The “this is sick…click to see who viewed your profile” spam attack in full force. Don’t click.
If you have any tips or suggestions, feel free to add to the comments. Hope you stay spam free!
Have you heard of Storify? It’s an easy way to use social media and multimedia to tell a story. You can search various social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), links and RSS feeds from one place, and drag elements into your story. It makes what was once a stagnant blog post into both a visually pleasing and socially interactive reader experience.
A few reasons you might want to check them out–even if you don’t create content:
“Storify stories have been viewed more than 13 million times on our site and across the Web since our private beta launched at the end of September 2010. We had 4.2 million views just in March, our biggest month yet.”
“…private beta users have created more than 21,000 stories. Storify stories have been embedded on more than 5,000 sites — including some of the most-read destinations on the Web like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, BBC, NPR, PBS, CBC and many other blogs and sites.”
Visiting the site it’s difficult to easily locate all of your favorite media outlets and add them to a follow list. The Sevans Strategy team compiled our current list of “favorites” to help you get started quickly. Feel free to suggest others to add to the list:
Major Media Outlets on Storify
- The Daily Beast - Thedailybeast
- Washington Post – washingtonpost
- Newsday – Newsday
- San Francisco Examiner – sfexaminer
- Breaking News (@breakingnews) – breakingnews
- Chicago Sun-Times – Suntimes
- BBC London Newsroom – bbclondonnews
- The New York Times – nytimes
- CBC News Community (Canada) – cbccommunity
- Australian Broadcasting Corp. – abcnews
- What’s Trending (@whatstrending) – whatstrending
- Wall Street Journal – wsj
- Los Angeles Times – latimes
- Al Jazeera – ajstream
Journalists and other cool people using Storify:
- Lost Remote – lostremote
- The Stream – ajestream
- Andy Carvin (NPR strategist) – acarvin
- Lexi Mainland (NYTimes social media editor) – lexinyt
- Liz Heron (NYTimes social media editor) – lheron
- Alex Howard (Gov 2.0 @Radar Correspondent, @OReillyMedia) – digiphile
- Chris Amica (NPR journalist) – eyeseast
- Michelle Kessler (USA TODAY social media editor) – kesslermichelle
- Richard MacManus (RWW founder and editor) – ricmacnz
- Christina Warren (Mashable writer) – film_girl
- Michelle Castillo (Managing editor of @Whatstrending on CBSNews.com) – mishcastillo
- Anthony De Rosa (Reuters API product manager and blogger) – antderosa
- Mike Melanson (RWW writer) – rwwmike
- Bill Mitchell (Poynter) – bmitch
- Mari Smith (social media) – marismith
- Mike Reilley (#spjchat moderator) – spjchat
This morning I came across a post shared by my friend Becky Johns. It was a post written by Derek Miller, a writer and editor, who passed away yesterday. He drafted his last post prior to his passing and instructed family members to post upon his death.
I encourage you to read the “The Last Post,” as well. I’d recommend that you go to a quiet place where you can be alone, as it is quite emotional.
As I wept reading the post this morning, it filled me with mixed emotions ranging from sadness (at his family’s loss) to joy (of his celebration of life) to sorrow (for only now getting a chance to read his work).
And then, it sparked something inside me–as intense emotion often does.
His last post wasn’t about how many friends or followers he had, nor about how much money he made or what luxury car he most recently purchased. No, he talked about his wife, children, friends and family. The things that mattered most to him.
I hesitate to use the word lucky, but not all of us will have the ability to say goodbye in such a heartfelt, poignant way. In fact, many of us, myself included, don’t take advantage of the opportunity to tell the people in our lives how much they matter while we are still here.
So, I’d like to take a break from our regularly scheduled social media and PR content and share my own “last” post. If this was the last post I’d ever get a chance to write, these are the people I would write it to and this is what I’d say:
To my husband (Trey) –
I’m so thankful for your love and support. You are my best friend and inspire me, daily, to be the best person I can be. Throughout our marriage of almost six years (and hopefully many, many more), you have stood by as I’ve shared my hopes and dreams and never once told me I couldn’t do something.
There are so many things I admire about you and have never articulated: unwavering and faithful commitment to a promise, ability to say you’ll change something and just do it, hard work, leadership, pride in your home and family, the joy of being around friends, making a party REALLY a party…I could go on. I’ve never met anyone like you and I love that I get to continue to learn new things about you. I only hope I am able to give you the same love, comfort and support in return for the rest of our lives.
To my mom (Kathy) and dad (Steve) –
I would never, ever be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for you. Even as a little girl you told me I could do or be anything I wanted. You allowed me to explore when I was feeling courageous and hide in your arms when I was frightened or unsure of myself. You set extremely high expectations for parents and love all three of your “famous Parker girls” in your own, unique way. As I’ve become an adult one of my favorite things about our relationship is that we’ve become such good friends.
You taught me the value of home. Not necessarily the physical location, but of creating your own special place where you can just be. Living in the country as a kid, I know I complained–but it wasn’t until I owned my own home that I “got it.” Thanks for putting up with me!
I continue to rely on your for advice and guidance and know that you’ll never steer me wrong. I love you.
To my in-laws (Gary, Laurie and Todd) –
I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful “second” family. Your love, support and guidance have helped Trey and I to grow into adulthood and our marriage. You are role models and friends. It’s such a wonderful feeling to not “dread” going to the in-laws or hanging out with your brother-in-law. The anticipation of our visits are always filled with joy and excitement.
To my sisters –
We are so very lucky, sisters. I’m sad to say that I often forget this. It is so wonderful to know there are two other women in this world who I can count on for anything and that I would do anything for. Just like with Mom and Dad, we, too, have become great friends. Being the oldest child, I always felt the role held a special responsibility. Most likely because Dad always told me, “Remember, they look up to you.” I get it now and I hope that I’ve made you proud. As an adult, however, I’ve learned that I look up to each of you as well. It’s a welcomed transition and just thinking about the adults each of you has become is making me grin ear to ear. Whether it’s dancing at each of our weddings to “Sisters” or sharing a glass of wine on mom and dad’s back porch, nothing can take away our special memories.
To my baby boy –
I don’t know even know you yet and love you more than anything in the world. As we anticipate your arrival I often imagine what you’ll be like, who you’ll resemble and the person you’ll become. The greatest blessing I can hope for in this life is an opportunity to be here to watch it all unfold.
I hope that you might use this as an opportunity to write your own last post and celebrate those things which are most important to you. Don’t worry about keywords, tags, or views. Just write.