The last thing I needed was a workshop on social media or so it seemed to me. After all, when it comes to social media, this is not my first rodeo. Of course, on April 3, 2014, when I posted my first blog on Facebook, I actually had no idea what I was doing. I’d never posted anything before, but as I sat down at the computer the words flowed effortlessly as I shared my story. Actually, it wasn’t just my story, it was our story. The General was the primary focus of the chronology I shared. Of course, at that time she had not yet been promoted to her status as “General”, but we were on a military base and she obviously deserved the promotion. She definitely wanted to be the person in charge.
So, why did I choose to attend the workshop on Social media if I didn’t think I could learn something? Truth be told, I probably wanted some kind of affirmation that I’d been doing it correctly. After all, two and a half years and several hundred pages later, it would be nice to know for certain that the time was well spent.
How many houses have I put on the market just to get affirmation that the decorating scheme and landscaping was worthy of someone’s desire? If some one else wants what you’ve created, it is a nice feeling to know you’ve gotten it right. You’re probably thinking that I could use a really good professional counselor. “Maybe – Maybe Not” is my response to that thought. Counseling doesn’t help unless one is motivated to make changes and I am fairly resistive to change. Consequently, counseling probably wouldn’t help.
In the introductory comments related to the best approach to effectively craft social media, the need to connect with people on an emotional level was highlighted. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was on the right track! Some of my stories have brought laughter. Some of my stories have brought tears. Most of my stories have been the catalyst for others to remember and reflect on their own stories.
Actually, as a rule of thumb, most of my stories have brought laughter. Some have brought the recognition that I live on borrowed time. The fact that I haven’t been shot is nothing short of a miracle.
One of my stories written during the first week of my chronicling everyday life in April 2014, still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. While we were on the military base at Camp Lejeune during the first week of April 2014, one of the young U.S. Marines was killed while on duty at the guard station where entrance to the base is obtained. His death was the result of careless play with his rifle by another U.S. Marine. It was very sad and tragic.
The workshop on social media was affirming for me. At least that was true of the introduction. It seemed I was on target for effective use of social media. Then out of nowhere, the affirmation that I was doing it right went dramatically South.
For one thing, I attempt to post my daily blog by 6:30 a.m. Some of my retired friends don’t find it necessary to get up at the crack of dawn, so they leisurely drink their morning coffee and begin their day with something I’ve written in hand. Trust me, I am honored by the privilege of sharing in someone’s daily routine.
One of the things I learned in the workshop is that the best time to post anything on Facebook is between the hours of 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. By the way, it gets worse. The least effective time to post anything on Facebook is between 12:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Ouch! I am out of the correct zone when it comes to timing.
The last thing I needed to hear about effective use of social media is that if your posting is in writing, keep it very brief. People don’t read. They prefer to watch a video, look at pictures, or do anything other than process written information.
“Hello Houston, we’ve got a problem”. I’m a wanna-be writer. What do you mean that written communication doesn’t work? That isn’t what I needed to hear! It certainly wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I’m praying to God the General doesn’t read this blog. She’ll say: “See, I told you so!” She likes it when she’s right.
Consequently, I’m going to try an experiment in hopes I can prove that written communication can capture one’s attention. I’m including my first posting written on April 3, 2014. If memory serves me correctly, it garnered favorable attention at the time. Will it do it again? If you make it to the end of the story, please select the “Like” button. If the story prompted laughter or tears, please make a comment and indicate which.
I am always grateful for folks to invest their precious time reading what I’ve written. I like being a part of someone else’s day. Thank you for the privilege. And now for the rest of the story:
April 3, 2014: “It began as an early morning adventure. Let me preface my story by saying Craig and Becky have incredibly kind neighbors. Treva and I are keeping grandchildren this week and two neighbors have already stopped by to meet us and offer to assist if we need anything. One of the neighbors told us early this morning that she would be at the bus stop when the bus returned at 2:00. We communicated that we planned to be there as well.
After getting the youngest grandson on the bus this morning, we headed for a long walk. Before it was over, I was grateful no one issued a “Missing Elderly” alert. About a mile into our walk, we greeted a lady and her son on the walking trail. After I said “Good Morning”, she asked if we were from Texas and if I was Craig’s dad. She said I sounded just like Craig. Nice Lady.
Although I didn’t tell Treva I planned for us to walk about 5 miles. She would never have been open to that, so I wasn’t going to spoil my plan by providing unsolicited full disclosure.
As the temperature rose, so did Treva’s disdain for walking. If she said it once, she said it a hundred times. “You told me we would be walking in the shade. It is hot out here.” I made a mental note to get earplugs for the next time we walked together.
I was intent on making it an adventure. Besides that, Treva would be surprised and hopefully pleased to know we had walked about five miles before it was over. At least that was my plan.
I basically knew the route we would take; however, we did wander through a few neighborhoods I was not familiar with. At some point when we had been walking for about two + hours we discovered the route I thought we’d take was under construction. I followed my instincts and took an alternate route. Shortly later, I knew I had to do something. Treva was now saying if she didn’t get out of the sun, she was going to pass-out. I had the passing thought that she’d at least be quiet if she did, but I felt it was in my best interest not to express it.
I thought we where well on our way back to the house when Treva demanded that I put the address in the map quest application on the phone and figure out how to get back to the house. She can be so demanding at times. I always find that frustrating!
I was both surprised and horrified when I saw that we still had 5.2 miles to walk to get back. The projected time frame reflected that it would take 1 hour and 45 minutes to return. We were scheduled to meet Jake at the bus stop in one hour. I did NOT tell Treva any of that. She had already told me that I would have been better served if I had “taken my brain out and played with it.” In my memory of the encouraging words we have periodically expressed to one another, I had never heard that one before. I’m still not sure what she meant, but I’m not asking.
I am not the sharpest Crayola in the box when it comes to math, but I did the calculation in my head and knew that we would not be at the bus stop to meet Jake at 2:00 unless I left Treva behind and ran back. Every time I suggested that to Treva, it was met with resistance. She didn’t want me leaving her until she had her bearings and knew where she was in relation to the house. I even suggested she stay inside the Commissary and I’d come back to get her in the car. Again – total resistance.
It had to be Divine providence, but the nice lady we had met earlier in the day was subsequently driving down the street and spotted us. She stopped and asked if we needed a ride. I told her I’d be forever grateful if she gave Treva a ride back to the house. It was 15 minutes before the bus would arrive. Treva would be there. My anxiety level subsided immediately.
I opted to continue walking. After all, it was part of the adventure. Besides that, I sensitively knew that Treva needed to distance herself from me. Thankfully it did us both some good. I did look at the Map-My-Run application and noted that Treva had walked 10.62 miles when she was picked up.
My adventure was 12.7 miles. If I opt to do it again tomorrow, it will be a solo excursion”.
If you are still reading, “Thank You”. Please select the “Like” button to affirm you read the entire posting. If the story prompted laughter or tears, please make a comment and indicate which.
All My Best!