I was very honored to lead a Twit Chat this week with The National Online Resource Center on Domestic Violence (@VAWnet on Twitter). It’s so important to engage teens with the technology they feel comfortable with and are already using. I was excited to talk to fellow community managers about the unique challenges of discussing dating abuse with online channels. It’s harder with our issue. It’s incredibly difficult to have such a personal conversation (we’re asking teens to reflect on their boyfriend/girlfriend) on very public media. Not to mention, we have safety concerns that other brand managers don’t have to consider. What do you do if a young adult talks about how they’re being abused on your Facebook page? What responsibility to do we have to protect teens from themselves in terms of publicizing something that could essentially worsen their situation? What happens if their partner views that post?
It was also great to discuss what terms and tone resonate with teens online. To talk about the difference between “dating violence” versus “unhealthy relationships.” We heavily rely on pop culture to meet teens through topics they are already interested in. I hope more youth-oriented organizations to join these conversations in the hopes of using a trending topic as a learning moment for our young users.
Please check out the Storify of our Twit Chat. Major thanks again to VAWnet for hosting.
This is not exactly the follow up blog post to SXSWi that I had envisioned writing. Not to mention, I worry about my parents’ reaction, particularly my dad’s, to this post. But I feel it would be a disservice to the many brave women who have written me in my position as a community manager for the National Council on Family Violence to not discuss what just happened.
I was at the Belmont for a wrap up party for SXSWi. There were a lot of people there and it wasn’t exactly easy to navigate through the crowd. I admit I am tired and stressed. My friend Kelly and I were making our way to the exit when a girl rudely shoved me in order to pass me. I turned to Kelly and commented on how it sucked that people from outside of Austin come to SX and then are so genuinely rude. Right as I say this I get shoved. Really hard.
My reaction was immediate. I didn’t think, my action was not premediated, I just pushed the person who pushed me back. I don’t know how hard it was. I’m sure I threw weight into it, but it was such a tight space that no one even had room to move. The person I pushed was a man. A muscular man.
I wish that my first reaction hadn’t been physical. I do. I regret that. As I sit here, still shell shocked by what happened next, I can still think clearly enough to say that I do regret that.
Next thing I know this guy shoves me back. He shoves me so hard that thirty minutes after I have left, I am currently sitting at home in my house, I can still feel where his hand touched my arm.
We were already walking towards the exit. He, being the person right behind me, is also moving towards the exit. When he pushed me, he shouted loudly, “BITCH I DIDN’T EVEN PUSH YOU!”
After he pushed me, I looked back at him, sneered and countered, “What the hell!?”
He followed me in the crowd and yelled at me. He followed me. I walked through the exterior Belmont gate, and he was less than a foot behind me, screaming obscenities at me as we parted the crowd. He followed me for a minute. I didn’t look back. I honest to God thought he might deck me in the face.
And I was really afraid.
Everything feels like it’s moving… slower. It may be because my brain is moving slower. As a SXSWi newbie, I now know why the veterans say this is a marathon and not a sprint. Early mornings, late nights and more information than a brain can handle. But we’re here, badge-sporting, coffee-sucking, laptop-donning and we’re going to give it our best shot. Today my team is much more focused on the non-profit track (the “greater good” ones).
I will say that yesterday was pretty brilliant. We brainstormed all day on how to apply these bits of info to our organization– even at night. You know you’re in a good creative mindset when talking about work at a bar is exactly what you want to do.
At the Tocquigny party, strange man approaches Brian as we’re about to get in the elevator and starts rambling and asks a question. Brian’s response? “I’m anything that will get me through this elevator ride.”
OH: a 20 something couple, guy says to girl, “Your demographic is cool and all…”
Talking life lessons and religion at the back corner at Casino El Camino.
Having Kelly B. become a solid part of our entourage.
Core convo where the presenter didn’t show so we hosted it ourselves and it rocked
More to come
I just got out of an awesome panel and I’m surprised by how I feel. I’m frustrated. Like, very frustrated.
It was a core conversation with Cathy Brooks and Ellen McGirt, the latter is a senior writer at Fast Company. Both women were witty, relevant and enthusiastic. The conversation focused on identity and self-narrative within social media. We had insightful people in the room and people really participated. On the one hand, it was wonderful to share thoughts and common issues with people who understand. I joked afterwards that it was essentially a Social Media Anonymous meeting– all of us finding the support we are looking for in those around us. The only issue is that every single question we asked was virtually unanswerable.
Now I’m all for theoretical knowledge and animated intellectual debates, but this was just frustrating for me. I understand why we’re having this conversation here. The people at this conference are the ones who have –and will– shape the media itself and how we use it. It’s important that we ask ourselves these questions. Questions like: what are the rules for managing our multiple selves on multiple platforms–can we be exclusive? Can there be a work you and a personal you that do not exist in your reader’s mind simultaneously? For a writer, does your online, personal voice weaken your authority as your brand’s voice? The last one was my biggest question.
The issue is that we can’t answer these questions. I don’t think we can ever answer these questions because it’s on an individual basis and these are issues that will evolve as social media tools evolve.
As I continue thinking about that panel, one thing does strike me as interesting. One man started talking about how Millennials and younger use new media. He was saying that he worries that we are completely unaware of how marketers are using data collected through our social networking to sell us things. The concern of Millennials/young adults/teens sharing too much information came up too. Part of my frustration may stem from the fact that the conversation is often about Millennials, but rarely with Millennials.
And that may be our fault.
I know the reason that SXSWi skews older– passes are damn expensive and if you’re lucky enough to have work pay for it, they’ll probably send someone more valuable than the new kid. Makes sense. I’m feeling very fortunant that I get this chance. I guess I would just like to feel like we could have more of a voice in some of these sessions. Especially since tech moves quickly and soon these issues will be ours to a further extent than right now.
Anyways, this post was a stream of consciousness. My frustration may just be that it’s almost 2 and I haven’t eaten. The bottom line is that these questions (and that SXSWi session in particular) are ultimately good. We just need to find a way to turn these endless questions into more than a dialogue.
And on with SXSWi I go…
We were in the parking lot of Counter Cafe. Wade and Brian chatting in the front and I preoccupied with finding where to click in the seatbelt. Both hands groping for the seatbelt, travel coffee being held between my knees when Wade throws it in reverse.
Coffee all over me.
It was my own fault admittedly. Thank God Brian travels prepared and had a mini bottle of Oxi Clean in his backpack. (No joke) A few minutes later, a performance by that blessed cleaner worthy of any infomercial and I was restored to normal. Nothing, nothing in the world, can deter my excitement for the ultimate geekfest- SXSWi.
Day 1 was good. I’m quickly learning that the greatest assets of this conference are not necessarily the presenters but rather the attendees. I had a few “but of course” presentations where the information given was pretty much common sense, but the crowd quickly increased the value with their insights and questions. I think the biggest take away idea from yesterday was to let interns develop the intern guide for the next batch. Simple, I know, but it was something I hadn’t thought about.
The parties have been cool. I got to see Pains of Being Pure at Heart at an awesome range, met some AWESOME people (I’m looking at you fellow Kelly) and got to tour Toquigny (spelling?) at the top of the Frost tower. The conclusion from the Toquigny party was that every work space should have thinking pods. Just saying.
All in all, a very good day.
Well folks, I have a new blog post ready to go except I can’t find the video I’m looking for. Also, I’m ridiculously pressed for time today. Apologies all around, but know that an upcoming post (maybe tomorrow?) will be about old ads playing on TV now. Particularly a very 80s laundry detergent ad that I keep seeing.
To tie you over, I laughed when a friend drew my attention to this case of an intern manning a corporate FB account:
No, this doesn’t help my case that interns are trustworthy w/a company’s social media campaign. Just know that while not all interns are capable, not all professionals are either.
Maybe we should initial everything we do, like CJ here. It would be like we’re artists, claiming our work.