Better Blogging: Stop Being So Generic!

This better blogging series has been an absolute blast. As more and more content marketers embrace the idea that truly unique content will set them apart, there’s a need to take a deeper look at the idea of unique in order to create the articles, graphics and other types of content that will be consumed, shared and discussed.

Is anyone else tired of the proliferation of listless list posts?

Touted as top tips or best practices, these lists are so rarely enlightening, entertaining or educational.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing better than a carefully crafted list post. Done well they’re chock full of smarts and savvy and are often bookmarked for future reference and sharing.

But how many times do we need to see Hootsuite listed as a top social media management tool? How many times do we need to see Feedly listed as a top RSS feed/curation tool? Been there, done that and the T-shirt’s kinda boring.

What about top tips? How many times must we be told that consistency is crucial to content and/or social media marketing? Don’t put another dime in the jukebox, toots … I don’t need to hear that song again.

I know, I know, you’re about to tell me that your articles are targeting newer content and social media marketers, those that have no idea that Hootsuite is a much revered social media management and monitoring tool, those that have NO idea that consistency is a key part of any marketing effort.

Seriously? Stop!

Stop being so generic!

Maybe there are truly NO new topics to be covered. Maybe all you can do is share the same ideas as marketers X, Y and Z. But, if that’s the case, give them a little something that makes them your own.

These better blogging posts may, in fact, be sharing tips that others have already covered. BUT? I managed to share better blogging tips tied to Depeche Mode and R.E.M songs. And, in doing so, I managed to make those tips truly my own, as they featured my own unique take, my own spin, my own notes. I think that’s enough music references for now!

The point is, I added a good dose of Mallie and music to some ideas that have certainly been shared before. And adding that bit of Mallie and music made the content stand out from the listless lists and the regurgitated ramblings.

What are you doing to make the content you’re publishing sing?

Does each article you publish stand out? Is every bit of your blogging effort helping your expertise shout out from the rooftops? If not, it’s probably because it’s a little too generic.

Generic and generalized tips and lists don’t help you hop down from atop the shoulders of giants. Regurgitating the same sad facts makes for sad content. No one wants to share sad content. Very little discussion is generated by the same old same old.

How are you adding an extra dose of YOU-nique to your content?

Dear Marketing Technologist: You’re Being A Twidiot!

It’s funny, but last Monday’s article, Dear Leading SEO Service Provider, wasn’t my first “open letter” response via blog post. I’ve actually written a few of them over the years, and they tend to generate some interest and get a little discussion going within the comments.

I was, however, thrilled with the response to my latest open letter style and as I was speeding through my feeds recently I came across another terrifying tactic that I immediately decided needed to be dealt with in the same fashion.

Before I start, let me define one of the words in the title. A Twidiot is a Twitter idiot. Just in case there was any confusion.

Okay, the instigator of this open letter decrying terrible Twitter tactics showed up in my mentions late last week. As I monitor my mentions pretty carefully, because I want to thank those who share my articles and also want to actually talk to my connections, I saw this and clicked through to check out who exactly had mentioned me.

First red flag? No following on either side of the relationship. That means I’m not following him, he’s not following me. Just a small red flag, not waving a pennant. Maybe this marketing technologist wants to start a dialogue.

Second red flag? The tweet wasn’t a question, comment or compliment (generally the three ways most of us start a discussion on Twitter). It was a link.

Of course I clicked the link. If I hadn’t, this article would never have happened. The link led me to a landing page. If I signed up for it, I’d receive a link to view an email all about personalizing in order to better suit the needs of my clients and prospects.

That’s when my Simmer Down Sassy Pants antennae really started buzzing.

REALLY! You’re going to try to sell me on personalizing my marketing efforts when you’ve done nothing to make a personal connection with me?

Personalization in Marketing Requires You To Act Like A Person!

Once I saw the link, I decided to dig a little deeper. First, I checked to make sure this specific marketing enthusiast actually worked for the company in question. He does.

Then I took a close look at his stream, and was not too shocked to find that he:

  1. Sent out over 60 tweets per hour
  2. All tweets contained one handle and a link
  3. All of those links went to his company site

Wait! There’s more. Mr. Marketing Technologist sent out the same three tweets, with only the handle changed, over and Over and OVER again. No changes, except the Twitter handle. Along with the “personalization” video, this guy sent links to:

  • an SEO eCommerce guide
  • a video that detailed the many different ways a certain group of individuals described a red dress

Getting To My Marketing Point, Already!

So, this is obviously spam via Twitter. And really no different than email spam, Linkedin spam or Google+ community spam. Spam is spam is spam, it only differs in the delivery.

Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t a company trying to showcase itself as an authority on personalization actually personalize their marketing message? Maybe spend a little time on building real connections that might turn into leads, prospects and customers?

I monitored this Twitter account all weekend. The 60 posts per our wasn’t a tech glitch. The same posting pattern continued throughout the weekend with the same three rotating tweets. No changes. Over the weekend this equaled thousands of tweets, each mentioning a different Twitter handle.

Funnily enough, the follower numbers didn’t change at all. No new connections were made based on these scintillating tweets. SHOCKER!

Summing It Up, FINALLY!

While marketing and technology, especially in the form of smart and personalized marketing automation, do actually go together, I don’t think our marketing technologist friend got the right message. When you forget that marketing, especially via social channels, is about creating and maintaining relationships you might soon find yourself swimming in seas that foster spam.

Technology should assist in your marketing efforts, not override them in a bid to send out an endless stream of tweets that detracts from your brand’s real message and makes you look like a Twidiot!

Your Turn!

What kinds of bad online marketing behavior have invaded your digital space recently? We’d love to talk to you about it!

Top 10 Twitter Tactics That Make You A Twittering Idiot!

Top 10 Twitter Tactics That Make You A Twittering Idiot!

Social media, when managed, maintained and used properly, can be magical. For businesses it offers up a chance to engage with current and potential clients, allowing you to broaden and deepen a relationship. However, when poorly utilized, there’s possibly nothing more annoying and potentially deal breaking. Sadly, Twitter – my favorite social media platform, tends to be a hot spot for some of the biggest offenders.

Terrible Twitter Tactics

We might call you a twit if you:

  1. Hijack our feed! We don’t need to see your name and avatar over and over AND OVER AGAIN, taking up our entire feed. Space it out a little, folks. Make it appear like your shares and ideas are part of a well planned choice, not a scattershoot.
  2. Don’t actually read, in its entirety, the article to which you post a link. Share out of date articles or misinformation and you’ll soon lose the trust and respect of your followers.
  3. Reply to every tweet on every feed you follow. Seriously, some tweets are just random thoughts or rhetorical questions that do not require your response. No one wants to see their feed taken over by your repeated “Yeah, man” reply posts.
  4. Never link out to pertinent information. You’re not omnipotent or omniscient. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Link out to pertinent articles, photos and videos. We’ll appreciate the share and consider you on top of what’s new and important in your industry or field.
  5. Use text speak and cutesy spellings. Yes, you’re limited to 140 characters. You can still utilize proper spelling and grammar.
  6. Get too personal. Yes, social media is about personalizing a brand and engaging with your audience. But it’s not a place to let loose with ranting political beliefs, too personal messages or moral dilemmas. TMI can drive friends away online, too.
  7. Automate without a sense of timing and importance. Posts should be timely and relevant. Breaking news posted three days later has no value.
  8. Hash tag EVERYTHING. Yes, hash tags help your tweet get found in search. But you don’t have to take up every available character with hash tags that might not mean much to the conversation.
  9. Hash tag inappropriately. It’s a lot like web sites that used to add keywords to their meta tags that had nothing to do with their site’s actual content. It’s cheating and it’s annoying. We feel duped. When we feel duped we cease to follow.
  10. Fail to change out your avatar. Want your business taken seriously? Post your logo, a head shot, something. Not that default egg. Many consider Twitter a serious business tool, me included. If you can’t take the time to completely fill out the shortest about section across all social channels correctly, how can we take you seriously.

Did I miss one of your top Twitter peeves? Of course there are others that I didn’t list. Feel free to share the tactics that get you riled in the comments below.

Happy Friday and here’s to a wonderful weekend free from Twitter twits!

Conversational Social By Design: Get Rid Of The Geek Speak!

Conversational Social By Design: Get Rid Of The Geek Speak!

Ditch the Dweeb Discourse!

When you’re a geek you have a language all your own (OK, the other geeks understand – sometimes). As a self-professed geek (card carrying frequent ThinkGeek shopper who casually peppers conversation with Star Wars, Marvel Movie and Princess Bride quotes), I work hard to keep my social voice just that. SOCIAL.

Ever been cornered by the enthusiastic web developer at a Business After Hours event? The horrors! While his/her enthusiasm is initially charming, the egregious elocution soon becomes an assault on your ability to show even the minimum of polite interest. Sure, you know that CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, but you never know they were a topic on which you’d be expected to feign interest for fifteen minutes or more. You poor soul. Go get yourself that martini – and treat yourself to extra olives!

At least at the BAH event you can hope a friend or colleague will notice your glassy, unfocused eyes and come to our rescue. When this type of activity occurs online it can be hard to “step away”, as our choices are limited to unfollowing or muting. Which is sad, because we geeks have a lot of wonderful and valuable information to share. We just have to sort out how to do it without boring or bombarding our audience.

I’ve chosen to detail three types of geek speak today, but know there are dozens of geeky sub-dialects.

Jargon Dropping:

Every industry and niche within that industry has a language of its own. It’s part of business culture, we strive to differentiate ourselves from our competitors and it’s easy to do so with language. However, the propensity to make things more difficult than they need to be is a growing concern among the brotherhood of geeks. We can differentiate and still be easily and readily understood. Word choice is a key part of communication best practice. The way you choose to express yourself, the words you choose to share can make a difference – good or bad – when it comes to making that connection, taking it up a notch to a real relationship and even a future sale.

There are several types of jargon to avoid:

  • Acronyms: Sure. Cute little three letter abbreviations make it easy to get our point across, especially on Twitter. But, too many can clutter the conversation requiring those with whom you are speaking to search their brain bank to equate those letters with real meaning. While they’re doing that they aren’t listening and nothing you’re saying has any real impact.
  • Buzzwords: While we understand the meaning, they’re so often repeated and so often misused that they no longer have value, i.e. “engagement”. When buzz words pepper your conversation you’ll find your audience tuning out and taking no note of what you have to offer.
  • Niche/Industry Specific Verbiage:



Speech or writing that uses too many words or excessively technical expressions.


Name Dropping: A.K.A. (Wanna Be) Geek Chic Clique

I’ve seen a real rise in this of late, and it takes me careening back to high school. Yes, HIGH SCHOOL. Remember that second-tier group of wanna-be popular kids? The ones that hung on every word of the reigning cool kids, the popular crowd? Instead of finding ways to stand out on their own, through sport, drama, or extracurricular activities, they made sure that the group of students they deemed third-tier heard them name and event dropping in an elusive bid to appear popular and cool. The funny thing was, that supposed third-tier were the real cool kids. The ones that were secure in their own skin, pleased to be part of a circle of friends – no matter the size, with shared interests and ideals.

Now, look to social business and social media marketing. There’s certainly a list of cool kids – and just like high school some stay for the long haul and some drop off into oblivion, forgotten and even frowned upon. And there’s definitely that second-tier eagerly waiting in the wings, name dropping and link sharing with no intent except to get notice, offering no unique value-added ideas or opinions to the discussion. As with high school, with the benefit of hindsight, it’s that third tier that makes the biggest impression. Comfortable in their own skin, able to share and discuss ideas and differing opinions, striving to add to and benefit the conversation.

Of course I share links from bigger names. Names like Jeff Bullas, Jon Loomer, Mari Smith, etc. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sharing and discussing great content and ideas. But I do not engage in tagging volleys and comments for commenting’s sake in order to ensure the cool kids take notice. If they do take notice, great. Wonderful even. But it’s not the end goal, it’s not my intent and purpose. That intent and purpose is to create discussions with those who want to learn, laugh, lead and launch their own initiatives. It’s a cool place to be!

Platform Dropping:

You know what I’m talking about. These are the people that tell you that Twitter is the greatest thing since sliced bread and is going to out-American apple pie, but never seem to do anything except share articles from the same ten sources. It’s the people who wax rhapsodic about Facebook while at the same time wondering why they are getting less response to the same tired inspirational quotes layered over sunset images.

No matter how much we prefer a certain social business platform over another, we know two things:

A one-trick pony isn’t going to win first prize


Almost everything that provides value can also put us in debt

Rose colored glasses create a pretty pink hue, but they also obscure the fact that if we want change, we have to ask for it, even clamor for it. If we get moored too deep into platform lovin’, no matter the reason, we miss the opportunity to help shape the platforms for the greater good – creating real relationships and valuable discussions.

In closing, geek speak is often used as a crutch when we can’t engage in real interactive conversation. As stated by many of my industry peers and friends, we all want to converse and connect with real people. Lose the geek speak and get to the good stuff. Real conversation!

Have I missed a particularly nefarious or heinous type of geek speak? If so, please share via a comment below. Only together can we create the kinds of conversation that educate, entertain and enlighten.

Social Media Marketing IS ABOUT Y-O-U

Social Media Marketing IS ABOUT Y-O-U

I know this flies in the face of much of what we hear touted by the experts. We’re so often told that everything about social media marketing should be endeavored with your ideal client in mind. I realize you’re possibly scratching your head and wondering if I’ve gone round the bend and completely off track. But give me a minute and I think I’ll get you on board and we can all round the bend to a better place where social actually IS about us.

Social media marketing “IS” absolutely about Y-O-U:

It’s about you taking the time to read and form your own opinions before you retweet an article or infographic.

Why? Because you’re in the process of building trust as an expert. And experts don’t share random crap, or worse – ideas and articles that are incompetent or irresponsible.

It’s about taking the time to read industry articles and share relevant information that benefits your audience.

Expertise isn’t gained in a silo. Social media isn’t possible solo, as we certainly can’t pretend that every idea, tip and tool is generated by us alone. It takes a village to stay up to date and on track with all of the changes to the platforms and more. Maintaining a smart and savvy peer group is a must.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Expertise isn’t gained in a silo. #Socialmedia isn’t possible solo!” quote=”Expertise isn’t gained in a silo. Social media isn’t possible solo!”]

It’s about you sharing the lessons you’ve learned during your own business journeys and travails with those about to embark on their own journeys.

We all make mistakes and we all celebrate triumphs. The highs and lows of business and entrepreneurship are the stories that help us appear human across social channels. While it might be painful to share some of these stories, it’s also freeing to share mistakes and keep your potential clients from setting down the same wrong path.

It’s about you actively engaging in conversations with others via social platforms.

While you certainly can schedule your posts in a relatively small amount of time, you can’t schedule the actual engagement. You never know when a conversations will arise and you have to be ready to actively converse, even in 140 characters or less per post.

It’s about you choosing to share of your real self and coming across like a human being, rather than an automaton.

It all goes back to that idea that you can’t schedule engagement. Social media marketing involves conversations, sometimes off the cuff and unexpected. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort. Canned, cut and paste or obviously scheduled responses aren’t social.

It’s about you sharing your ideas or your take on an idea so you can add something new to the discussion.

It takes knowledge and understanding to look at both sides of an idea or issue. That knowledge and understanding comes from being well read, sure, but it also means you’re willing to discuss differing ideas and interesting concepts with an open mind.

It’s about you choosing to share the other side of the story if you feel that a discussion has become a little one-sided.

If we all liked the exact same things the world would be a very boring place. There are two sides to every story, especially when it comes to social media marketing, where there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. There are many ways to converse and share with your audience and your peers. Looking at both sides of an issue shows you care enough to dig in and really seek answers that will help both you and your audience.

It’s about you making the effort.

There are no short cuts to social media marketing success. You’ve got to put in the time and effort. From reading to reaching out to peers and influencers, your task list will sometimes be long and the to-do items will be diverse. But that’s part of what makes it so exciting and fulfilling.

I think you’ve probably sussed out where I’m going with this, right? Social media marketing IS about Y-O-U sharing what your carefully cultivated audience actually wants. It involves Y-O-U making an effort, investing time and energy and actively tapping into your creativity to ensure your shares stand out from the steady stream of posts.

How do you ensure the real Y-O-U shines in your social media shares and conversations?

Careful Complaints Might Actually Create Connections!


Careful Complaints Might Actually Create Connections!

I recently saw this tweet and it immediately got my “devil’s advocate” juices flowing. I often like to look at the flip side of an idea, even when I agree with it, as it often creates content worthy of discussion.

While I actually agree, for the most part, with the message and premise of the tweet, it got me thinking, and prompted this article! This is in no way a “slam” on the tweet. It stirred up an idea – and that’s exactly what items shared via social media are meant to do! No ideas = no discussion, meaning there’s no reason to post and share at all.

Back on topic. Consider that one of the main concepts behind smart and savvy social media connection and conversation is “being human.” As humans, things irk us. Irritate is. Makes us go for the “SMH” acronym.

Most of the time these irritations are pretty little in the scheme of things. But they’re part of what makes us human. Part of what drives the emotions and thought processes that make us sentient beings.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t smile and laugh 24-7-365. Mistakes are made, glitches and outages arise and irritations of many sizes are part of the daily running of our business. Sometimes apps or social media platforms go down, your computer crashes before you’ve saved your work, or your business partner bugs the crap out of you.

Clients, too, can create irritations. As I’m not a mind reader, I know it’s a little frustrating when I get vague design direction from a client. Deadlines sometimes pass through no fault of our own when clients don’t deliver content or other needed items. And sometimes clients are slow to pay, for whatever reason. Those situations don’t normally bring a smile to my face. How about yours?

If we consider that it’s often the little things, the daily details that help flesh out our personality – what make us uniquely us, then it stands to reason that those little things make those around us their unique and special selves, too … right? And each day we all face our own unique tasks, issues, celebrations and more.

Consider the oft-used phrase, “Caring IS Sharing.” If we dig a little deeper into that, beyond the sharing of an article link to the sharing of an idea, it stands to reason that, when we’ve made a real connection, built a real relationship, we care about those things good and bad, big and small, complaints and celebrations.

It’s social to commiserate or sympathize when someone in our circle shares a complaint that resonates with us. We have likely felt the same irritations, voiced the same complaints. You can take anything too far, and you NEVER want to come across as someone who constantly complains and finds no joy in life or business. But, life and business aren’t pretty, pink and perfect all of the time. Shades of gray and blocks of black sometimes cloud the more positive color of our activities and interactions. We’re not alone. Sometimes the act of commiserating and empathizing creates even deeper connection.

Of course our minor daily foibles might not gel with someone facing a serious life crisis. I think it really depends on how you share that complaint. There’s a reason that the article title uses the phrase “careful complaints,” as, when carefully crafted, our posts can often add humor and understanding to the things that are only human.

What do you think? Can you share a complaint carefully in a way that generates conversations and build connections. Or do complaints always drive people away?

Clueless? Consider Keeping Quiet!

Clueless? Consider Keeping Quiet!

While many of my followers know that I’ve taken up tennis in the last two years, many may not know that before I was bitten by the tennis bug I was an avid cyclist. While I did ride the road, my real love was for the trails.

One of my long-time clients is actually a fairly well known machining company that creates industry standard bicycle components. I manage all of their social media and often find myself moderating conversations that get out of hand.

Why do they get out of hand? Because cycling creates strong opinions. And there are MANY different types of cycling. Mountain, road, cyclocross, BMX, track, etc. And everyone has a different opinion. You’ve heard the phrase about opinions, right? You know, they’re like an unmentionable (at least in polite company) body part!

Your Opinions Aren’t Always Ripe For Sharing!

Opinions in and of themselves aren’t a problem, even when they’re strong. As long as they’re based on some sort of real understanding or smarts. It’s when the opinions have no basis in actual fact that things get a little heated and I have to start throwing my social media manager weight around. And don’t even get me started when the topic turns to the riding of wet trails. Chaos reigns.

Why am I on another one of my tears? It’s not necessarily about the smarts, or lack thereof, of potentially ruining your bike and a stellar trail system. Nope. It’s really about the need of many social media managers and “experts” to take part in conversations when they really don’t understand or grasp the topic being discussed.

Getting away from cycling, I can easily share another example. Many of us share movie or music quotes. They’re fun and can help set the mood for the day or for the project. Until some clueless looky-loo feels the need to chime in with a response that leaves anyone “in the know” shaking their heads.

If I post “No more rhymes now, I mean it,” there’s only one acceptable response. That response? “Anybody want a peanut?”

Sometimes Silence Showcases Smarts!

Yet, with every post about the Princess Bride, the Big Bang Theory or REM song lyrics, there’s that one person who chimes in despite being ABSOLUTELY clueless. They don’t ask a question if they’re outside of the loop, they respond as if they know what’s going on. Even when this couldn’t be further from the truth.

I find this almost as annoying as the people who repeatedly share hoaxes as truth. Is it really that hard to check No, it’s not. Just as it’s not that hard to take the thirty seconds to Google search whatever’s being talked about before you chime in if you’re not 100% sure you’re in the know.

While I’ve shared two rather silly examples here, this clueless chatter happens on professional posts and shares all too often. It not only makes the chatterer look like a charlatan, it detracts from the professional conversation.

When you don’t understand the premise or context of a post or share, it’s ABSOLUTELY okay to remain quiet. Commenting for the sake of commenting, in these cases, just makes you look clueless!

When Cheap Cheats You: Titillating And Tricky Titles

When Cheap Cheats You: Titillating And Tricky Titles

Misleading Marketing: Take It Out Of Your Article Titles!

  1. arousing mild sexual excitement or interest; salacious.
    “she let slip titillating details about her clients”

While we have a tendency to equate the the word “cheap” with money and fees, it’s important to understand that it’s quite possible to cheapen a reputation and the perception of your expertise. While as business owners we certainly do trade dollars, we also trade on trust. To lose trust could soon lead to lost leads and income.

How can something as small as a title lead to the loss of trust? In so many ways!

Whether your target lead is a business owner, a social media manager or a customer service rep, there are some simple truths that apply to all:

  • They’re all busy.
  • They all are overrun with content.
  • They want what they want, when they want it.
  • They don’t like wasting time.

As these busy bees seek out content for sharing, learning or to help them collect their own leads, you have one chance with their trust. Do you hope to earn and maintain that trust? Of course you are. We know that people do business with other people and businesses that they know, like and trust.

Do you like to be lured in by false promises? Of course you don’t. Your title is the initial promise as to the value of the content that goes along with it. Your title prompts the clicks to read the article in full, peruse your email newsletter, check out your offer. If the title is misleading and you don’t deliver on the promise hinted at with that title, you’re going to disappoint and potentially anger your audience. An angry audience can soon turn to a dwindling audience.

While we all know that titles are meant to entice readers, there’s no room for trickery. It’s possible to create interest and even evoke emotion without deception. Or sex. AHA! You were wondering how I was going to tie in “titillating” and the definition above. Gotcha.

Sex might sell in certain industries and a sexy title might draw some clicks. But are you seeking an audience that finds you sexy or one that finds you smart and savvy enough to deal with and solve their business needs and pain points? I don’t know about you, but the latter is what I’m after.

While a carefully crafted article title can certainly assist in drawing more eyes to your stellar content, make sure your content matches the appeal of the title. If it doesn’t, you’re cheapening your content marketing value and the readers will remember, and might not return!

Ever been misled by an article title? How does it make you feel. Does it detract from your trust of a brand or business?

Snow Snark: Social Media Gone Too Sarcastic?

Snow Snark: Social Media Gone Too Sarcastic?

Most of us – those who reside in the south – have no qualms about admitting we can’t drive in winter weather conditions. Though I have had to do so in the past, on several occasions, it has been with white knuckles and pounding heart. I don’t enjoy it and I’ll do all I can to stay snug and warm at home in order to evade such scary driving conditions.

Snowmageddon and other names created by the media of course seem silly when the net snowfall accumulation is a few inches. However, I admit to being a bit appalled at the way some of my northern “friends” have commented on the situation. I admit that when I worked at the television station I’d roll my eyes when the news director got the ratings gleam in his eye at the mere mention of snow flurries. Most of the time the hysteria and hype was unfounded.

But sometimes the situation isn’t funny, even if the snowfall amounts to less than 5 inches.

Do your images of “real snow” and “real” winter driving conditions trump mothers, fathers, wives and husbands who spent hours – four, six, eight, ten and more – trying to get home to their families.

Do your cute memes and jokes about what the weather’s like in Canada get an elementary school child home rather than spending the night on the floor in the cafeteria or assembly hall at school?

Granted, I spent the day in my home office, safe and sound. But following along on social media I know that Atlanta drivers and those awaiting those drivers at home were worried and concerned, if not out and out scared.

The temperatures fell to 10 degrees in my area of Atlanta, not too far from the parking lots that were once bustling Interstates. Many people ran out of gas and spent the night in the cold. And it doesn’t matter where you live, spending the night with no heat with temperatures hovering well below freezing is no fun and potentially dangerous.

I could, if I didn’t think about it, scoff and make fun of people who get scared by what I’d call minor earthquakes, as I can well remember the nightmare that was the Loma Prieta earthquake,  7.0 magnitude, with aftershocks larger than most of the quakes that have worried those online friends.

But I know better. Why. Because I grew up in California, and earthquakes were something I grew up with, something I dealt with on a regular basis. Much like the snow northerners deal with on a daily basis. Atlanta doesn’t deal with snow on a regular basis. Our last snow issue was in 2011. Our city’s infrastructure isn’t capable of dealing with roads made impassable by sheets of ice.

I could ramble on and on, but I won’t. Instead I’ll just ask you to consider walking a mile in your Southern friends shoes. Imagine if you just could not, no matter how hard you tried, get home or get to your young child. Imagine walking miles on icy streets just to get home, wearing a coat for Atlanta weather patterns, not those normal to Wisconsin or Minnesota.  Consider not knowing exactly where your child was, perhaps on a bus about to run out of gas miles from home.

The idea of social is to share, but at times like this I think social should help rather than harm. While your barbs and jokes can’t physically hurt anyone, they certainly don’t help when someone is worrying or scared.

Think about it. And I promise not to roll my eyes and snarkily chime in when you think 92 degrees with less than 50% humidity is a heat wave!