Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tweeting for Two

I’ve been looking into an iPhone app that will allow me to tweet to two different twitter accounts. I’m tired of logging into one, tweeting, maybe copying a tweet, then logging out, logging back in under my second account, etc. I can’t be the only one with this dilemma.

Certainly not. I have a personal twitter account. And I manage my company’s twitter account. I also have a blog, geared towards my own freelance writing. In this post-recession world, it’s par for the course to have an employer, work for yourself and manage a social network or two on a personal level. If I can speak from a woman’s perspective for a moment: It’s something we have known for many years. We are mothers, we are employees, we are employers, students, teachers. We are talented and driven, insisting that we can (still) have it all. Hell, many of us need to have it all, lest we can’t afford the rent now that we’ve been laid off, or our hours have been cut, or we are finding ourselves in a one-income household (read: divorced) with kids heading towards college (read: tuition).

So, we’ve created a brand for ourselves. A personal brand on Facebook, where we post comments about our kids, our social lives, our weekends, our hobbies. Then when the economy started to tank, we put our skills to work. For me, that meant writing resumes and cover letters for friends and family. It also meant the small freelance writing career I’d started on the side years ago was suddenly booming, as corporations let go of entire departments to save overhead and turned to folks like me to help them get things done. Compared to a full-time employee with a full-time salary and benefits, I am the perfect solution. An hourly rate paid on a project-by-project basis, no overhead, no bennies.

This blog overlaps my personal and freelance professional worlds: I write journal-style about my life as a mom and a writer. I don’t, however, crossover into marketing territory, preferring to leave that to my full-time career as an Account Manager with a small marketing agency. Not only do I manage clients and projects, but I also handle our agency’s social media footprint, recently adding a Twitter account to the repertoire.

Hence, the search for a Twitter app that will allow me to kill two birds (I can't help it, these puns just write themselves) with one stone.

Is it important that I keep these worlds separate? Or does my name become synonymous with both my agency life and my freelance life? The marketer in me is not as well known as the writer, the mom. Can these worlds combine? Do I begin blogging on communication, not only as it relates to parenting and writing, but as it relates to marketers and brands? Or is it time to start a new, third blog?

But I digress...I did find the app I was looking for in Twitbird. Two accounts simultaneously – and free! Looks like I might need to upgrade to Twitbird Pro – that should hold me…until I reach the 16 accounts limit. Yes, I am a marketer. I am a writer. I am a mom. I love each of these parts, each of these personas, and just like a good brand can not market using one format (read: facebook) alone, neither can (or should) I. Because all of these parts of me add up to one person with a great deal to offer. And if I can do it all with a little bit of grace and style, and not too much stress overload, then why not?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Walk With Me

“Walk with me?” my mom asks as she laces up her Reeboks and grabs the dog’s leash. My mom had been walking nightly for a few months, in addition to the Jane Fonda tapes she’d forced herself to sweat through a few times a week. Occasionally I’d join her as she’d bend and twist with Ms. Fonda, grunting and swearing under her breath. I’m sure it didn’t help that my young, thin frame could bend every which way, and hold a pose while I ate a slice of pizza.

I’d walk with her sometimes, too, my pace a bit faster in an effort to keep up with her long legs. After a few minutes of walking in companionable silence, we’d start to talk. About school (mine, as a student, hers, as a teacher), homework, friends and anything else that was on either of our minds.

It was the early 80s and things were changing across the country and in our home. Thriller was the album of the year, President Reagan was shot, the AIDS epidemic made it into the U.S., and my parents were getting divorced. Jane Fonda and Reeboks provided a safe outlet for some unwanted change heading into my teen years.

As I focused on high school dances, weekend mixers, and which Benetton sweater looked best with my Docksiders, my mom continued her walks. Our relationship was going through the rocky path of a teenage girl trying to find her own way, one preferably far from her mothers’. Joining her on her walks was something I did less and less. She continued to ask though, just like always. “Going for a walk, Beth…” she’d leave it open-ended.

If I was angry with her, my refusal to join her stood as a reminder of my growing independence, my ability to tell her no, and maybe, sometimes, even to hurt her. There were times, though, when she’d walk out the door and I’d feel guilty. I’d wait a few minutes, until I knew she’d made it to the top of the street and turned the corner, heading towards the main road. Then I’d run through the back yard and take the shortcut through the woods, coming out on the sidewalk just behind her. My mom would pretend not to see me, and I’d pretend I’d been there all along. But we both knew, once our strides lined up, that everything was okay again.

Every night, season after season, year after year, she walked. Old age took our beloved dog, and I earned my coveted driver’s license, but still mom walked.

She walked through my engagement and marriage, the birth of my three kids, my separation and later divorce, six college degrees, (five hers, one mine), and her own career changes.

Looking back now, as a mother of three, I realize that those walks weren’t taken just for her physical health. She walked – and still does – to clear her head, to take a short reprieve from the demands of a busy, single-parent household. And she invited me on those walks not just for companionship, but as a way to get me talking, to keep us connected in ways that became more difficult as I grew up – and apart.

As a single parent myself, I know about needing a time-out from the daily grind. I know about needing to clear my head, and about wanting to stay connected to my own three kids, who are growing faster than I can keep up. So I lace up my own walking shoes and turn to them. “Walk with me?” I ask the room at large. My daughter takes my hand. And we do.