The Adventures of Flat Stanley

30 03 2009

I was asked by my dear little brother, Clarence, to participate in his class project at Belle Hall Elementary.  He wrote me a letter asking to bring Stanley to “sights in your town” and to “plese mail him back […] when his trip is over.” For reference, Clarence is seven years old and in first grade!

Clarence's Stanley

Here is a picture of Stanley. He arrived in my post box in the course of the weekend, or perhaps last week. I am uncertain as to ascertain his accurate arrival until Clarence asked about him on Saturday. So, today Stanley begins his trip in Asheville, NC. I brought Stanley to work so he could see my office, at The Sensible City,  and people watch downtown. I work right in front of Pritchard Park so there is always interesting voices below my window. Unfortunately, it is very windy and I don’t think Stanley would like the weather.

Stanley at Sensible City

Do you have any suggestions on where I should bring Stanley this week? I wonder what stories he will bring back to Mt. Pleasant, SC…


Sticky note for this week’s Double Whammy.

27 03 2009

Earlier this week, I gave an example of an un-social company. Well I found Jennifer Van Grove’s article on Mashable and thought how interesting that companies, in Client X’s industry, have been embracing social media. I love the layout to how each company is using Twitter to their advantage. Cheers to the Top 40 Best Twitter Brands and thank you Jennifer for revealing the people behind them!


This is a big category and it’s growing every day. We’ve include airlines, hotels, a cruise ship, and even a rental car service under the travel umbrella. We admire these big brands for being bold on Twitter, and we hope that their ground-breaking efforts lead to better service for all of us who travel and know just how stressful it can be.

Jet Blue

jetblue twitter

Twitter Name: JetBlue

Jet Blue Official Tweeter: Meet Morgan Johnston, manager of corporate communications with Jet Blue. Morgan’s high flying Twitter philosophy is to tweet as the community sees fit saying, “our role on Twitter is driven by the requests of our followers. Twitter is a great way to talk to many, but even better for listening.”

Stats: 10,771 following/10,076 followers

So why is JetBlue tweeting?: “Our goal would be to make ourselves available, help whenever possible, and to show that our brand is built by real people who care about our customers.”

Most interesting Twitter discussion: “Probably being asked what our policy was on furries following an exchange” [I’m not sure what furries are, but I think it’s a Comic Con thing, and vaguely reminds me of something I saw on Entourage.]

On plans to promote the account to passengers: “Short answer: no, we want to grow naturally with the Twitter audience, long answer: We know we’re guests of the Twitter community. Inviting our own guests who might not understand how Twitter works, and only see it as a tool to talk to us is a bit presumptuous.”

A follow-up to the above question: “There are some rules and practices on Twitter that aren’t immediately obvious to new users. (following, DMs, replys) It’s hard to help when people sign up and simply say, ‘hey, when’s my flight?’ assuming we see an unaddressed tweet.”

Southwest Airlines

southwest airlines twitter

Twitter Name: SouthwestAir

Southwest Airlines Official Tweeter: Meet Christi Day, the emerging social media specialist at Southwest Airlines, and the gal behind the famously low fair offering and customer-friendly twittering airline. According to Christi, Southwest, an early Twitter adopter, “had been blogging for more than a year when we discovered and joined Twitter in July 2007. We were intrigued by its possibilities.”

Stats: 6,085 following/8,287 followers

On 2009 promotional opportunities via Twitter: “We will do announcements on Twitter from events…posting pics/vids. And whatever else unfolds, we’re open to ideas : )” [Twitterers take note – I think she’s hinting that they want good ideas from you]

On lessons learned: “Be honest, be real, be quick, be FUN”

When asked about internal awareness re:Twitter: “Hard to say for sure, but we promote our activity internally and encourage Employee participation.”

Spreading the Virus. (A little ironic, for me, this week)

26 03 2009

Visit the Intern Queen. I was quoted on her blog. Scroll down. See there? @skimtheocean…yes! That’s me!

Today’s post is about high schoolers seeking internships. I have been actively involved (in my short time) with online social networking, not just out of education (cheers to Dr. V), or just out of professional practice (Sensible City embraces online social media), but because of the appreciation for how it has boosted my online presence and given me credibility as a person. I interact with hundreds of people daily who are sharing tidbits of information I pass along, stop by to read my blog, or provide me with vital information that aids me in pitching a media market! Anyway…

I was more than happy to express my fervor for the internship. I was fascinated by Clemson’s policy for Architecture students and Graphic Communication majors to get outside experience Abroad and in their free time from school. Even Packaging Science students have at least 1 co-op in their college career. I never really grasped that until the end of  my Communication Studies degree. Partially, because I have been fearful and not well prepared to see how it would be beneficial to me. That type of thinking won’t get you anywhere. Embrace curiosity and explore the unknown.

Dr. V can vouch, for me, that I was stubborn in my studies. The archaic Communication Studies program embraces thesis papers, and it’s like coming out of the dark for the first time, when she presented us with this plethora of knowledge. Comm Students, far and wide, would joke that Clemson’s program tried to crank out little professors. In practice; however, we are discovering these tools of online social media in the workplace. I am so embarrassed to say that I walked up to the plate not bringing anything to the table and I learned about these valuable tools in 2007! I always remind myself to be mindful and to continue teetering on the edge of innovation.

What I am trying to get at, is that you…Yes, you. I’m talking to Nicholas, Darline, Erica, Emily, and anyone else in high school. Put yourself out there, either online or in the world. Reach for internships and create your own personal brand in high school. Time is precious, time is money, time is wasted. We have heard all of these things before. I hope someone can grasp the need to “up the ante” because competition will be the driving motivation for you to think outside of the box before the next guy in math class beats you to it! The concept of an “internship” should not be lost you, the young ones. You should garner as much experience with the outlook of secondary education skyrocketing in cost and the possibility of shorter matriculation in college. Who knows, it may be a new way to weed-out college applicants. INTERN, INTERN, INTERN! I know I just collected my thoughts on way too many things today, but I hope you can follow the parallels of narrow thinking and open your mind a little more.

Plus, most internships are unpaid. So why not, get as much free work out of the way while you’re in your parents home? Trust me, graduating with a B.A. and working for stipend and 1 unpaid apprenticeship (my past life at a letterpress studio) was not exactly what my parents had in mind for a Clemson graduate. Go Tigers, nonetheless! To my audience, always learn from the mistakes of others! It will save you a lot of trouble in the future. The competition is getting younger and you are all smarter compared to the cronies that are looking at retirement. Utilize your skills and compete. Yesterday is the day where community service was competitive. The kindness of your heart will only get you so far. It is now the time of practical knowledge, so go out there and get it!

Post script. I am sitting in my office alone. Ian is hob-knobbing with Urban Re:vision in San Fran. Amy has an injured son. Ashley Sue is sick. Kimberly came to work and left sick. IT’S ALL MY FAULT for spreading the virus. Get it, get it? Ok, I’m done.

Double Whammy, my work post.

25 03 2009

last week's to-do listIt has taken me a week, but I’ve crossed off everything on my to-do list, with the exception of some new spreadsheets for future efficiency. I had sublists within the master list and it’s pretty much done. The highlighted part describes a new task that I am going to spend the afternoon working on. My load lightened significantly after a school district shut my event down. I am sad to have to abide by their wishes because it was going to be a very unique story about a music program in Music Appreciation Month! The teacher and music coordinator have been so enthusiastic to host the media and show off some of their new instructional tools. Needless to say, I had to honor their wishes and play by the rules. Hopefully we  will have all of the red tape clear for a prospective event next month, I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

There is so much red tape wrapped up policy and procedure. I wonder if and when people will ever address issues, head-on, and learn to communicate! In college, I imagined that crisis communication would be a hot business because there always seems to be negative media perpetuating stories to the masses. However, that is certainly not the case. Bad press continues to be bad press and companies and school districts alike do not always deter negative messaging. They are like my mom who would, sometimes, pretend I didn’t just tell her something bad that I did. Just because you (Mr. Big-Wig Whose-a-ma-call-it) did not issue a statement doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Today, I was told of a prospective client that did not want to work with us because we are based out of the US. My informant educated me on the recent bashing that has been circulated virally through online social networking. This group, we will call Client X, is overseas and fearful of the encompassing OSN. Excuse me, Lord Proprietor of Client X, I think it would be wise for you to act within the environment that throws your name around with such disdain. Why don’t you participate in the dialogue and throw some positive conversation into the mix. How do you expect to yield positive results if you fail to give positive experiences? I say, jump into the loop and stand up for yourself. Who are you, to deem us unworthy of your contract? Americans tweet better because it is a platform that was created in America! (Excuse the patriotic tone) Who would be better to fight your battles in the realm that you so passionately said you must be apart of? Just because Americans are not your target market?! American tourists tend to jet-set around the entire continent (country-to-country where you could be expanding your business) and your good name could encourage others to patron your business and spread your good business by word of mouth and viral marketing. Above all, online social media is a strength of our company and in this day and age we are not limited by our location. Most of our clients are not even within our own state!

Your hesitance makes me less likely to refer you to my European family and friends. Your backwards thinking is not very progressive in the current marketplace and I feel like you will only succumb to issuing press releases for all the days of your life! Discrimination is not right, it’s outdated!

(Stepping off of the soap box). I wasn’t trying to be dramatic, it was the Caramel Delight GSA cookies that I’ve been eating.

Today has been a day of post scripting. I am aware of the powers that be’s need for control. I understand the concept of controlling a message. I respect the decisions you have to make, but dissonance of fears must come from some creative Googling and research. We researched you and are equipped with the ability to approach you with a gameplan. Rather than being a stick in the mud, how about being a leaf in the wind? Let the wave of viral marketing set you free to embrace others who are being blown my social network tools. Together we can strategize for positive communication and spread the joyous news of you being amiable and service-oriented. I am going to have a pull a card from my mom, though, if you fail to seek out means of positive communication, for your own benefit, then I will have to believe you aren’t doing anything to improve your uncheerful disposition and that your quality of service for your customers will continue to create pandemonium for the rest of us chatting it up on Twitter!

Weekend Review.

25 03 2009

Forgive me for going so long without a new post! I should have began on Friday. I would have said this week has been a bust and I did nothing on my actual birthday, but my car is locked and loaded for the party train in Charleston. I would have written this post if I wasn’t about the pack up my desk and answer a phone call from a prospective teacher for an event that would have occurred this week. I spent the next 2 hours trying to salvage and save face, tying all the loose ends for a job —done. I can’t say well-done, because this yielded no results, but a job done as I was told would be apropos. Timestamp 2:00pm.

I hopped into my car and pass my exit, then I glance in my rearview mirror and think, My eyebrows are hideous! Must wax now! So I pull off to my spot off of Airport Rd., the very next exit. I clean up my caterpillars and think, I would love to get my nails done, too. Maybe not. I asked how long it would take and was told 30 mins. So I was thought, Why not? It’s my birthday! Timestamp 3:00pm.

As I progress closer to South Carolina, I am doing the mileage math for my ETA. I just about make it to Columbia when I received a text from Bo. He said, In town yet??? How about cocktails, now! At that moment, I wanted a cocktail because I began to stand still in traffic around I-20 on I-26. This was at 4:46pm. I thought I’m cutting it close, but I’ll have sometime to get ready. Except, I was in Columbia for 45 mins!

So I try to hustle and let everyone know I’m running late. I told them to keep the reservation at 8:00pm and say it’s a surprise if the hostess was in a hissy-fit! So I slid into N. Charleston around 7:00 and catch up on phone calls. Make it to Patriot’s Point around 7:15pm. However, they couldn’t locate my room. Then, I realized I was at the wrong hotel! So after being flummoxed at Patriot’s Point I piled my things back into my car to hit Magrath Darby and pull in to the Hampton Inn. Thank you Shalai! You are a dream. It is 7:30pm, at this point, and I am hopping in the shower with a towel around my head because no time could be spared to ask for a shower cap or deviate from my already tight schedule. By 8:00pm I was just putting on my face and ready to walk out the door with Shalai! We got to the restaurant at 8:30pm considering I only took 40 mins to get ready!

Dinner at Social was great, the bottles of wine between us were divine, and the company of my dear hearts were tender. We finally had everyone caught up and headed to the Blind Tiger! Of course there would be a wedding party in half of the bar so we weaved in and out to the patio. Eventually, the night caught up to us, Ashley and I danced with the wedding group then some of my girlfriends wanted to take me out for some shots. We parted with the other half of our group and ventured to Wasabi’s. Basically, met up with some other friends and saw some familiar faces from Clemson. Tootsie roll, sake, and jager bomb put me in an overly good mood. Then I was swept away to the Saloon. A tourist trap, that I would never otherwise go into if it weren’t for the novelty of a birthday (or bachelorette party). Somehow we fought our way to the bar after having drinks spilled on us. Some strange man picked me up and put me on the bar. I heard my name over the speakers and realized I was being poured Jager from the bottle. In my classiest of outfits! Let’s just say I looked like something off of Upper King and look ill-fitted for my Market St. environment. We soon called it a night.

Then, my phone died. I didn’t bring the charger. I went to Ashley & George’s on Saturday morning after breakfast. There I discovered Shalai’s status that said, Hectic: I am not celebrating another Christina L. birthday every again. Soon after that we made plans so that I wouldn’t be disconnected and took baby Lord Hunley, their precious boykin baby, to my house to pick up Clarence, my precious baby brother, to head over to Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan’s Island. We all met at Poe’s for snacks and beers, sweet tea for the little one then I went to Verizon to beg for them to charge my phone for me. I had enough charge to get by for the day and some of the night. In the end, it was hopeless. I spent Sunday with the family eating all day and hanging out at my Aunt & Uncle’s condo. Headed back to Asheville around 8 and got home at midnight. I immediately rushed to the last place I left my charger and found it not there.

It was in my car the entire weekend in my work bag! Uggghhhh….

Post script. I had a speeding ticket from my travels to Edisto Island, last month. I got sick on Monday and went home to bed so I could nip the cold in the bud. Tuesday, I just realized I needed a money order. So I went to get Twilight on my movie pass and dipped into Earthfare to see if they issued MOs so I could be efficient. They don’t, FYI. So I went to Ingles to pick up a few things and get the money order situated. Except, I couldn’t find the inconspicuous envelope with my speeding ticket, money and debit card! I left my things at self-check and said I would return after checking with Customer Service. So I called Earthfare and went back to the parking lot to scour the store and had half of the shopping public in Arden looking for my ridiculousness. I turned my car over, moved the seats, emptied bags, rifled through Education Week and the Charleston Fashion Week supplement. Until I retraced my steps and leaned over my console, did I find said inconspicuous envelope in the passenger side door. A door that I opened four times and could not find. I feel like my angel was playing tricks on me. So I returned to Ingles to gather my things and retrieve my money order to send in the mail today. Today is the day before my court date so I had to call and say it was in the mail and plead not to hold me in contempt of court. Anyone going to the City of Charleston Municipal Court or know Officer Comer personally? Tell them, it’s in the post!

24 Things

19 03 2009

On the contrary, of a birthday of receiving, this is what I have given back to the universe in the development of 23 to 24.

  1. For my “birthday dinner”, I gave a friend a beer as a toast to her camaraderie and gratitude for her listening ear.
  2. For my “birthday lunch”, I gave Happy some of my lunch from Doc Chey’s.
  3. For the bitterness in my heart, I gave my friends grief.
  4. For the solitude in my mind, I laid hurdles down for those who chose to meet me half way.
  5. For the sadness in my soul, I gave the world less than 100% of myself.
  6. For the tenderness in my life that often comes from solid hearts and good people, I turned a cold shoulder.
  7. For the the frustration on my mind, I gave a sharp tongue.
  8. For all of the things that will not give back to me, I expended all of my energy.
  9. For all of the foolish things I can’t go back on, I give a step forward.
  10. For all the barricades I have built, I greeted new friends.
  11. For the sake of getting by, I faked a smile.
  12. For the sake of getting over it, I am reintroduced to myself.
  13. For the sake of being thankful, I am truly humbled.
  14. For all the things that can go right, I look for a little wrong.
  15. For you to be you, I was not completely me.
  16. For the moments of being brutally honest, I was not sensitive.
  17. For the times you were being open, I was being closed.
  18. For all the laughter I have laughed, I had equal amount of tears.
  19. For the days when my heart aches excruciatingly, I strike pain into others.
  20. For all the hope I have in the world, I had little trust in others.
  21. For all the ways I hope to succeed, I focused on my failures.
  22. For all the ways I can change, I haven’t.
  23. For all the things I would like to do, I didn’t.
  24. For all the ways I can learn and grow, I should do so in the future.

I have a ways to go, but I should hope I make it there someday!

The Maddening Crowd

19 03 2009

Have you ever felt like stick in the mud? Or do you understand the “meerkat” perspective when you are extending your neck above the crowd? Apply the “meerkat” view to Pride and Prejudice, when Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley, and Caroline Bingley first enter the ball in Hertfordshire. The entire crowd was facing them and Elizabeth Bennet was singled out in that camera angle.

That was my life last night. Everyone was dancing and lights were invigorating the crowd and the beats traveled from your feet into your heart. It was wasted on me. I should have sold my ticket. I just stood there to the point of exhaustion when I vanished and went home. Typical, really, I always pull a Houdini disappearing act. No sight, no sound, just exit. I had a low-key dinner over Mamacita’s fish taco and veggie taco with Ashley Sue over some tallboy Tecates. Basically, I sabotaged the plans that I had, the plans that were altered and plans that never were, to eat something I eat every week at a place that I always patron. Have a slice of the un-birthday cake! Some point in the night I let a ridiculous thought slip across my mind and wanted to reduce myself to tears. I didn’t break down. I was just absent from my setting. Vapid and vacant.

Today, is just a day. A transient day from now until tomorrow, from here until I’m home and when the salt air heals my soul and bandages my wounds. Each breath provides some sort of uplifting spirits to my present disposition.

Happy Birthday to me.