Social Media, For Better or For Worse?

IMG_0397Somewhere along the way, I got off track with social media. On the one hand, social media has great benefits including staying in touch across the miles, promoting your business and finding a new job. But there is a balance one should maintain, and I, during the last two years especially, was doing a terrible job of pulling back when I should.

My first social media account was on MySpace. I know I am dating myself! As everyone knows, MySpace was eclipsed by Facebook, which I joined in mid-2008, four years after it launched, hesitant to go where I thought only college students tread. Other social media formats followed, and it was not long before we were Tweeting, Pinning, Snap Chatting and Instagramming with people far and near.

I created a business page on Facebook, and I joined Twitter as a means of raising my business profile for my new career in image consulting. It worked. By late 2010, I was receiving business from Google searches. Pinterest swept me into its arms in 2011, and I built boards geared at educating clients and keeping myself on top of trends. I joined Instagram in 2013, mostly to maintain a presence to avoid looking like a dinosaur. One must keep up!IMG_9991

I spent a good amount of time building a following across these four platforms, in addition to my personal business website and my blog. The time I spent on social media was mostly reasonable, and it rarely eclipsed the day-to-day work required of a small business. By 2014, my business was on a roll. I was speaking at least once per quarter and working with a steady stream of personal clients. I give a lot of props to social media for this momentum.

Yet, after our move to Seattle in January 2015, I became depressed and I collapsed into social media as an escape. The mere idea of starting over in a new city drained me of all energy, and I spent more and more time immersed in a world of highlight reels.

My husband tried to talk to me about my social media use on a few occasions, and each time I became defensive. I was homesick, and I missed my friends. Seeing them on social media was my way of being with them. On a deeper level, I was angry at my husband for this big change, and retreating into social media was one way I could punish him. What I realize now is I was punishing myself by missing out on life with my family. I was often choosing social media over them. The happy moments occurring right under my nose were going unnoticed and unappreciated.

IMG_0127Social media, at first an innocent escape, became a robber in my life. It robbed me of time, motivation, confidence and joy. When I finally decided to pull my head out of my rear and examine my social media use, I realized my husband was right and I was wrong. He was not asking me to give up social media. He understands the benefit of it for my business. He was simply asking for more of me at the appropriate times.

The solution that worked for my husband and me is we drew up a schedule of when neither of us would be on social media at all. With a few slips here and there, we have stuck to it. The things I need to do for my brand marketing are easily condensed, and I am feeling much more engaged with my husband and my kids. Further, I am reading more, working out again, and doing other things that bring me happiness and fulfillment, like writing.

If you are struggling to pull back from your phone, here are a few tips:

  • Set a time schedule of when you will or won’t be on social media.
  • Keep a log of when you are on social media, and write down the reasons you are using it. Escaping occasionally into social media is fine. Escaping for several hours per day when there is important work to do is not okay.
  • Ask your partner how he/she feels about your social media use, and adjust where needed. It might enhance (or save) your relationship.
  • Remember your social media feed is not real life. If you feel you are missing out, you are. Look up from your phone and observe the world around you. Don’t miss it!

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Angela Scott in Chicago

On my way to Chicago recently, I noticed shoe designer Angela Scott posted on Instagram from the stainless steel sculpture Cloud Gate in Millennium Park (aka the Chicago Bean).  She invited anyone viewing the post to come see her at Neiman Marcus that evening. You don’t have to ask me twice!

As soon as I landed and picked up my bag, my brother Edwards and I made our way downtown for the soiree where we found the second floor shoe salon bustling with lovely Chicago fashionistas.  Neiman’s, as always, was a wonderful host, wining us, stuffing us with sweets and giving away a pair of designer shoes to one lucky person. Sadly, I did not win.

IMG_0832Fashion blogger Jennifer Worman of Red Wine & Red Soles gave a short presentation about spring shoe styles she loves, followed by a short talk by Angela who was looking quite California laid-back chic.  IMG_0842Angela could not have been nicer.  She told me a funny story of her recent world travels, and she admitted she was ready to be home after a long time on the road.

Enjoy photos from the evening! (Apologies for my jet-lagged appearance!)IMG_0877IMG_0848

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There’s Something About a Guy in a Bow Tie

FloralBowTiesYou have no doubt noticed oodles of bow ties if you have wandered through the men’s department of your local department stores recently.  It’s a big trend in menswear for spring, and you are not at a loss for selection: all manner of colors and patterns are available.  I spotted these cool floral bow ties by Cinabre, a French luxury accessories line, in the April 2014 Neiman Marcus the book.

Imagine my surprise when a local small business owner, Kat Armstrong, recently found me on Instagram and decided my 3-1/2 year old son Nathan was the perfect candidate for a baby bow tie.  Kat’s business, baby bow tie, was born out of inspiration when she opened a bow tie gift at a baby shower when she was expecting her son.  In that moment, she realized she was not just having a baby boy, she was about to raise her own “little gentleman.”

IMG_2858I am tickled pink to show you my sweet Nathan in his baby bow tie, which is available online through the baby bow tie website as well as at Neiman Marcus online.  I know I am partial, but I cannot imagine a more handsome little gentleman as this precious guy.  So, gentleman readers, what do you think?  Would you sport a bow tie?  I realize it is not for everyone, but if you are one to take fashion risks and you are looking for something fun to do with your image, try it.  If you are lucky, you will look almost as handsome as my son!

For the moms of little guys out there or friends of gals with little boys, consider giving a gift of a baby bow tie.  It is a unique gift that will be long remembered!