Kevin and I were out to dinner the other week when my friend Ann asked me if I wanted to attend the ConvergeSouth Conference with her the following weekend. I told her I had seen something in the paper about it but what was it and why would we possibly want to attend? She told me that it was about social networking, social media and using them for business purposes; for example, how to use Twitter and Facebook to expand your business and reach out to the masses.
I had no plans so I told her sure and we enrolled. Of course, Kevin laughed his ass off at the thought of me attending any type of seminar and actually sitting through a bunch of people droning on about how to expand your business, but I’m used to that. Ann is a financial planner and it makes perfect sense that she would want to expand her business but what possible reason would I have for attending? Other than the obvious role of wingman to Ann, as you know my ultimate goal is to be a “professional talk show guest.” This is proving more challenging than you would think as it’s been seven weeks and I have yet to be invited to any of the major talk shows to be their guest. (Actually, I haven’t even been invited to be on any minor talk shows now that I think about it). At any rate, my path to fame - blog to book to fame to talk show guest - obviously needed a little tweaking. So I agreed to go.
On Friday, Ann and I showed up at North Carolina A&T University for the ConvergeSouth Conference. The first seminar we attending was led by Patrick O’Keefe (twitter name @iFroggy and link: http://bit.ly/bAs6DU ) and Wayne Sutton (twitter name @WayneSutton) and it was entitled Personal Branding Online. So we sat down and I took out my iPad and my paper to take some notes. I was determined to do this right as Kevin was totally dissing me on the entire idea. What did I learn? That a personal brand is who you are, what you are about and what you stand for. HOLY SHIT! I don’t even know who I am! Some crazy mofo woman trying to get famous I think. How the hell do I brand that? Next comes consistency of message. Hmmm…I write about whatever random thing strikes my fancy. As a bipolar human being, I’m not even consistent day to day, but I continued on. Long term investment and PATIENCE; okay, now I’m totally fooked. If there is a key ingredient missing in my personality, it’s patience. I’ve been at this seven weeks and I’m already irritated that nothing much is happening. I mean, I’m 51 years old, how much time do I have, right? And yet, next they tell me to “be yourself.” Okay, check on this one. I feel that I’m pretty much being myself with all this shit so at least there’s that! And last, but not least, get on Twitter. Okay, I just got on Twitter a few weeks ago and my twitter name is @allfookeduptoo
So Ann and I made it through the first seminar and I was feeling pretty good. I had learned a lot and Ann had gotten some helpful hints for her business. Next, we went to the Keynote Address with Brent D. Payne (twitter name @BrentDPayne). Brent was going to be speaking to us about SEO, Search Engine Optimization. I know right? Are you kidding me? I couldn’t even remember what the damn acronym stands for but out came the iPad and notepad and I was at attention, ready to learn. Apparently, the ultimate goal of EVERYBODY on the web is to rank number one with Google and you can game the system to do so. All right, I got that. Game the system to land on the page one of Google Search. It seems that 70% of the people don’t go past the first page and every damn paper, business and blogger in the world is trying to get on the first page. Shit. That sounds like a challenge.
So how do you accomplish that? Become popular by having a lot of links leading to you. Make sure the people who are linking to you are themselves important. Make sure all your links are relevant. Make sure all your content is literal. I have one thing to say. WTF? Are you kidding me? It was an incredibly interesting talk about how you go about optimizing your sites for the search engines but the sheer amount of work necessary to do so seemed inordinate. It was an overwhelming task.
The irony of this entire situation is that to actually do what needs to be done to make this blog a success, I would have to put some WORK into it. Now as my claim to fame (or at least my claim to fame in my head) is that I do NOTHING all day, this amount of work could actually destroy the nothingness of my life that has taken years to build. Do you see the conundrum that I found myself in?
As it turns out this Brent D. Payne fellow has around 25,000 followers on Twitter so it seemed to me the best thing to do would be to have him Tweet out all my stuff. I mean, I don’t want to work but why can’t others do the work for me? So at the lunch break, I made it a point to talk to him. I gave him my business card and he informed me that (a) I need to get off Blogspot and have my own web address and (b) I need to have my Twitter account on my business cards. I’ve only had the damn cards for a week and they’re already obsolete. This whole thing was turning into a whole lot of headaches. I explained to him that I wasn’t that young and I thought I was doing pretty well for seven weeks at blogging and being 51 and all. He told me I was his mom’s age so I did what anybody would do in this situation: I offered to adopt him figuring that then he could do all this shit for his mom. Turned out he already liked his own mom so he turned me down but I was feeling pretty psyched and hyper so Ann and I headed to the next seminar.
I was already incredibly impressed with myself because it was 1:15 and I’ve been paying attention for half a day. If I could have paid attention like that in college, I might have actually become the doctor that I set out to be, but I digress. Ann wanted to go to the “Social Media for Job Seekers” talk. A job is the last thing on earth I want but as Ann’s wingman, I stayed on her six and went with her. Then I proceeded to be completely ADD and chatter, make comments and web surf on my iPad. I’m sure the talk was useful and Ann tried to get me to pay attention telling me I should learn this stuff for my kids’ in college to help with their job search, but how did it become my function to get them a job?
At any rate, I suffered through until the next session which was Viral and Video Marketing. This seemed like a terribly good idea but I could see that it was also going to take a great deal of effort. By now I had reached the conclusion that I should just fucking hire someone to handle this aspect of my business. I mean, I’m the talent right? Shouldn’t I just stick to the writing part, the being funny part, the being obnoxious part?
At this point, I got a Tweet saying that there were spots left at a dinner for Patrick O’Keefe and Brent D. Payne. I hatched the next part of my plan and told Ann, “let’s go to the dinner and we can take our spouses.” Then I could charm these guys and have them take over the world for me. Sounds simple right? Well in theory, yes, but in actuality, not so much. First of all, Kevin, who actually has a job, had a tough week at work and didn’t want to go to the dinner but fortunately Ann and her husband Ben were up for it so I went with them.
I got to the dinner and good news! It was only a table of 10. I sat down next to Brent and began stage two: talking my adoptive son into taking over the PR aspect of my life. Brent has a “real job” as SEO Head Guy (not his actual title I’m thinking) of the Tribune Corporation; a company that includes the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angelos Tribune, the Baltimore Sun, etc. It’s a big job and traveling around to conferences is just an extra sideline.
Also at my table was Kristen Daukas (Twitter name @KristenDaukas). She is the “Chief Chick” at Twin City Sales and Marketing. She was smart and articulate and was asking really informed questions. I made a note to myself to follow up with her after the dinner. Anyways, Brent and I started telling stories as I’m a storyteller and so is he. His stories are actually quite funny so if I ever run out of my own, perhaps I’ll start telling his. But at any rate, we hit it off and I decided he’s too old to be my kid so maybe I could just be his big sister. I told him that it would be helpful to me if he could get me a nationwide column for the Tribune Corporation, perhaps once a week or so. He told me he couldn’t do that but that he could get me a local paper column but I WOULD HAVE TO MOVE TO CHICAGO! Well, no offense Chicago but it’s pretty damned cold up there and there is NO WAY that I’m moving there! Not to mention that I doubt Kevin would be very happy about it so that option was out…
Then I asked him to Tweet my blog out or at least my Twitter name (my blog is linked to that) so that I can get to his 24,000 followers. No go on that either. I mean, seriously, what does it take to get somewhere in this world? Finally, we got on the topic of business cards and I explained the story (told yesterday) about Don’t Work, Don’t Wanna; the business card I made for a party Ann had. Well that did it. He loved the business card and as I had one with me (of course), he took a picture and Tweeted it out to his minions and the rest is history…
But alas, it didn’t work that way. Although he did tweet it out to his followers as “the best business card ever”, I am still not famous. This is his link which I learned at the seminar you’re supposed to include: http://www.brendtdpayne.com
SO WHAT DOES IT TAKE? I really don’t know. I have however, decided to hire somebody to design a website and figure all this social media stuff out because while I have the ability to do so, I absolutely don’t have the desire.
So, that’s what I learned at ConvergeSouth. Social media is the next big thing. Be there or be square. It will take time, energy and determination to reach the pinnacle of success. OR, just hire somebody to do all the shit for you. That’s what I’m doing.
I’m just saying…