2014 State of the Blog


Today I finally did something I have wanted to do since starting this blog.

An editorial calendar!

YES!

I have all my weeks planned out through the end of the year.

I cannot begin to tell you how absolutely awesome this feels.

My next big goal around here is to clean up the blog – minimize and streamline tags and categories, redesign, and in May, go completely self-hosted. Maybe even start Vlogging. EEEEEEK. I have BIG goals this year and even better, I AM going to achieve them all and then some.

My sole goal today, as was noted in my post yesterday, was to make it to the gym and sit in the hot tub. I made it to the gym but the hot tub was closed. No idea on when it will be open again but it doesn’t matter because this week’s weather, well, according to R2D2’s severe weather alerts, I wouldn’t make it to the gym unless we had a Tauntaun on the back deck anyway.

Speaking of crappy weather, today’s weather was cloudy yet surprisingly warm. We hit a balmy 48F today and I drove home from the grocery store with the windows down. Crazy? Perhaps. But when you have been in the middle of Hoth for the past several weeks, 48F is a tropical heatwave, baby, and begs for you to ride with the windows down with the tunes blasting because baby, that’s spring.

It’s a new month, a new year, and I have started it off the best way possible with this new habit of writing every day. I should warn you, however, I plan to start working on my book this month and won’t be blogging AS much because my words will be going there instead of here. I hope to have some guest posts for you but that’s going to depend on some serious participation from you, the readers.

For this month’s schedule, the theme is, of course, Love. This week, we’re focusing on things you can do to show love to yourself (get your mind outta the gutter!), next week, your child, the following week, your partner, then the last week will examine extended family. Don’t worry, we’ll be examining healthy boundaries as part of this series too. If you have a piece that would fit into this topic, feel free to send it to me at mypostpartumvoice (@) gmail with “FEBRUARY SUBMISSION” in the subject line. It’d be fabulous if Perinatal Mood Disorders were somehow involved but it’s okay if it isn’t so feel free to submit if you have a great post about love for couples or parents without the PPD aspect. We are human too, after all.

March’s theme will be “Spring” and focus on the rebirth which comes with the season. We’ll be examining Light therapy, Vitamin D, Getting Out and About with Baby, Renewal, and Alternative Therapies. Again, feel free to send any guest posts my way.

I’m also looking for guest hosts for #PPDChat all the time so if you are interested, let me know. All I ask is that you be somewhat familiar with Twitter (even if you’re not, I will take the time to help you learn the ropes).

On that note, and I will mention this again, I’m seeking some awesome people who have been through the hell that is PPD to join me as part of a #PPDChat Brain Trust. You’ll be volunteering to help promote, brainstorm, and organize upcoming #PPDChats as well as possibly help moderate the FB Group. I am completely flexible with whatever your schedule allows as I know life can get very hectic. So if you are interested or know someone who would be a GREAT fit for this volunteer opportunity, send them my way!

Stay tuned for more updates about the editorial calendar and other exciting upcoming announcements. My word this year is ENGAGE and I am absolutely determined to get this party started!

How Apple Inspired Me to Unplug for the Weekend


I’ve seen this commercial several times today.

Each time, I’ve had the same initial reaction.

Sadness. Disappointment. A distaste for how we now live our lives.

In this commercial, no one is just living.

Everyone is documenting every second of what they’re doing.

I get that documenting everything is the point of the commercial. Of course it is, because Apple is moving product and wants you to use their phones to document your busy lives because well, everyone else is. It’s a classic “keeping up with the Joneses” commercial. I have to have it because everyone else has it.

As soon as I hit publish on this post, I’m walking away from the Internet until Monday morning.

I’m turning off my email notifications. I’m turning off Twitter. I don’t have Facebook on my phone. I’ll text until my boyfriend gets home but after that, no more (with the exception of a #PPDChat mama I told to text if she needed me tonight).

No pictures of my weekend on my phone. No documenting an amazing meal or something ridiculously silly. My netbook will remain closed. If you need me, call me.

I’m gonna live like it’s pre-2002, baby. (First camera phone made it’s debut in 2002)

Apple’s commercial made me realize I need an unplugged weekend. I’m sure that’s not what they intended. What they intended was to make me want to purchase one of their worship-worthy products. Instead, I’m putting my Android down and walking away from documenting every second of my life.

Thank you, Apple, for making me realize I need to unplug from the virtual world and plug back into the real world.

I owe you one.

The Art of Social Media


Earlier today, something happened in my mentions on Twitter that made me go over to Facebook and rant for a few paragraphs. The more I think about it as the day passes, the more I feel it deserves more attention than just a small tirade on my personal Facebook account. It’s a lesson in how Social Media works and not just a rant against one particular person even though it started out as such.

Social Media is a bold new world. Okay, maybe not so much any longer, in fact, some of us are old hat at the methods and etiquette of the Social Media realm. But, for those of us who are old hat, it’s important to remember that there are people still discovering Social Media and adjusting to the lay of the land.

These new residents may not understand how to go about getting noticed and in the process of trying to get someone’s attention may very well break a well-known rule of etiquette. Is it our responsibility, as old-hat, to completely ignore them, or should we take the time to explain to them the proper way of getting things done?

Most of the time, I ignore them unless I have reason not to do so – such as they have made an effort to actually engage in conversation with me. You know, the first word in SOCIAL media. SOCIAL. So many forget this word but it is a crucial word to remember.

According to Dictionary.com, social is defined as follows:

so·cial

[soh-shuhl]

adjective

1.pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations: a social club.
2. seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.
3. of, pertaining to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society: a social event.
4. living or disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community, rather than in isolation: People are social beings.
5.of or pertaining to human society, especially as a body divided into classes according to status: social rank.
Nowhere in there does it say that social requires you to yell at or insinuate yourself into the good graces of someone. Although sadly, that does seem to be the case for many these days. I am of the stock which believes upward and onward should happen organically when it is earned by genuine methods, not by skirting the “rules” set forth.

Books, lots of them, of the paper and electronic variety, have been written about the proper etiquette of Social Media. Some of them are right, some of them are just out to make a quick buck. For me, the bottom line to Social Media is to be social yet balance it just enough with the message I am here to provide which is that no one is alone in the battle against Postpartum Mood Disorders.

The very reason I am on the Internet REQUIRES me to be sociable. Why?

Because if I am at all fake, at all not real, and don’t exhibit compassion, honesty, integrity, and knowledge about my message, I have failed. No one will trust me, no one will seek out my help, and I will fail.

I don’t like to fail. (Who does?)

So. I tweet. A lot. About everything. About football. Bacon, hockey, beer, F1 racing, books, sometimes politics and faith, love, life, laughter, and everything in between. There’s a line, sure, because for everyone, there’s a line. Although for some… anyway, I digress. But I am REAL on Twitter and on FB because it’s part of my desired online identity. The more open I am, the more likely it is that I will reach that mom or dad or family member who is struggling and doesn’t know where to turn. My identity, my “truth” factor is far more important to me than any numbers or analytic algorithm.

I have worked very hard to get to where I am in the Twittersphere. Some of it has come from deep heartache and needing Twitter to get through. But the bulk of it has come through developing #ppdchat and being honest about Postpartum Depression.

So when someone who has not put in their time and is not social with me sends me a tweet asking me to share something they wrote, like they did this morning, I get annoyed.

Why? Because I will share if I want to, not because you asked me to do so. I’m also more likely to share if you’ve taken the time to be social and engaging with me as opposed to only tweeting me to ask me to share your stuff when you’re obviously not taking the time or energy to build up your own following. Say hi. Talk to me about more than your business or your blog. Be a real and transparent person. Own your words and your presence.

I didn’t just suddenly “get” over 4k followers on Twitter. No. I EARNED them. I didn’t pay for them. I EARNED them by being social and taking the time to get to know people. I don’t believe in Team Followback or any “get followers quick” scam. Sure, I don’t have daily conversations with every single one of my followers, but I am also not just plugging my blog, my chat, or a product. I am ME and I encourage others to boldly be themselves.

To take blatant advantage of my hard work for some free publicity for your work without being social and engaging first is downright disrespectful of what I’ve worked to do with my image and my brand. I am actually quite picky about what I share on Twitter because of the nature of my targeted audience – moms and families struggling with postpartum mood disorders. Even if your post applies to either, unless I know you and trust that you are only putting forth the best of the best, I don’t just retweet anything out there. To do so would be disingenuous to my followers and ruin the integrity of my identity. I am fiercely protective of my integrity.

I am also fiercely protective of #ppdchat. No one truly “owns” a hashtag, but when you start one, you hope for the best. I am thankful no spam has occurred with this hashtag and people have used it for the original intended purpose. The community springing forth from this hashtag is gorgeous, strong, and wonderful. I hope it continues to be such for a long time coming. I do not take kindly to folks abusing this hashtag.

As I pointed out earlier, Social Media is SOCIAL, it’s not someone standing in a mall handing out stacks of pamphlets to someone saying, “Here. I made this now go give it to someone else.” Social Media is hanging out at a coffee shop with friends, having meaningful conversations and then deciding to share certain aspects of those conversations and ideas born in those conversations.

Social Media is NOT one person with a megaphone. Because if it was, I’d want to smash the megaphone and not have a damn thing to do with Social Media.

Treat Social Media as you would a get together with a close friend and you’re already way ahead of the pack. Treat Social Media as if you’re a street vendor trying to get as many sales as possible and we’ll happily ignore you as we sip lattes and change the world one tweet (and follower) at a time.

(Although this is totally an afterthought and not at ALL a sales pitch, if you want great Social Media Advice? Go follow @ChrisBrogan. He knows what he’s talking about and his latest book, The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?, is absolutely wonderful. And this is a perfect example of how Social Media works, people. Chris didn’t ask me to share, doesn’t know I’m sharing, I just happen to respect his work, he’s engaging, and BAM. Organic share. Brilliant.)