Just An Online Minute... The Year In Burgers: An Online Minute Retrospective
Happy 1 Year Anniversary! All Around New York
May 12, 2008 - NOW
Do you remember your first birthday? I don't. Maybe it's like your 21st birthday, which is really just for your jack*ss friends - and it sort of ends up the same as your first birthday: someone wets themselves, someone throws up on the cake, someone gets yelled at, and photos are taken that you prefer no one to see. No, I'm absolutely not talking about myself. Well, guess what, loyal readers, loyal "caption only" types, and return visitors who stumbled upon this column in search of "porn tube" of all things - today is my 1st anniversary of writing this column. That's right, I gestated in the MediaPost womb, and then one day the powers that be grunted and shot me out into the public wielding my Canon and the power of my pen, er... keyboard.
But who cares about ME, it's you people who launch your email client and actually OPEN Just An Online Minute when it hits your inbox -- it's you who collect RSS feeds, who click through Twitter, who read the online version - it's all of you who love a little levity, the mingling media, marketing, and advertising types, and a lotta food, that keep this thing alive. Happy anniversary to you, too. Now, on a serious note, what have I learned in the past year that I can share with you?
Burgers and open bars will make you fat. I know, it's shocking. Imagine that -- instead of going home and going to the gym after work, hitting cocktail parties, happy hours, dinner events, and mud-wrestling tournaments, and eating every little meat puff and sipping the special sauce every night, will actually make you gain weight. Note to MENSA: It's like I'm a genius for figuring that one out. Oh well, at least I don't sweat much for a chubby girl and I'm pretty cute in the face. You'll see I've dedicated the photos in today's column to my buddy, the little burger.
People will make your heart fat. When I was at IBM, a seven-year span that I have very few regrets about (OK, maybe the noodle-in-the-hair situation and some of the political crap I could have done without -- but live and learn), I was 100% internal communications, AKA nerd translator for an incredibly talented Internet technology team. Those nerdlings made me proud to wake up and go to work every day and I made myself proud when, working with those geniuses, I was able to make cube-trapped IBMers grin, contribute, and be active participants in a rapidly growing social (new) media-hungry community.
When I "left" and then joined MediaPost, I was freaked out by this new exposure to the outside world. Every event is a new life and career lesson, and each event has yielded remarkable new relationships. I feel like one of those Gold Rush skinny bearded dudes with the suspenders and torn-up dungarees (oh, I went there), shaking and sifting the river silt, where the masses sift through the holes to reveal the gold: those being true friendships I've cultivated through this job. Maybe the reason the economic and job environment doesn't scare me as is because I feel so rich in my network. I would help these people, people I never would have met without this column, and I trust that they would help me if I ever got canned (but don't can me, Ken!) I have been touched every single day by the instant response I see on Twitter among my friends and connections when someone gets down on their luck or even low in their day. It sounds cheesy as hell, but you all really make some of these late nights and lonnnnnng panels worth it. Well, you and the mini burgers.
Can't stop, won't stop learning. This may be repetitive (because I think I've said it before), but it is invaluable to hunt first before trying to steal someone else's dead deer, when the dead deer is knowledge. Stick with me here. I used to work with this really smart dude, Brian Goodman. He was helpful and willing to teach, BUT he made it really clear -- literally -- that you needed to put in the search work first before coming to him for a solution. He would always ask, "Did you try to figure it out yourself before asking me?" -- and if I hadn't, I felt like a prime donkey's butt.
By searching and testing, you teach yourself -- and this media and advertising environment is no different from a software engineer snake pit. You have to nose under stones, ask questions unabashedly, READ READ READ, LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN, and COMMUNICATE. Amidst all the palm squeezing and self promoting, there are some gooey deep brains out there worth digging into. Entrepenuers and start-up addicts abound -- and not only can you(I) learn from them, they want to learn from you.
And you know what? It's really easy for me to learn every day about the industry, because I am surrounded by the talented MediaPost staffers who are miles ahead of me in experience and pump out the good stuff consistently.
It's not personal. Dear [insert deity of choice]. Hardworking quality PR people -- I do not envy you for the beating you get from writers. Writers, there should be hazard bonuses for having the dangly bits to actually write in the public eye, open to comments sometimes so ridiculous that you feel like a liar telling your high school sibling/cousin/niece/nephew/daughter/son that bullying ends when you become an adult. I've only gotten it a few times and I've had to remind myself not to give a hoot about the ugliness, but to always listen to the dissenting opinion and use that to inspire new thinking and see a different angle (even though I'd rather just be right).
So happy 1 year, everyone. For me it's a beautifully sunny NYC day, and I'll be meeting a coworker in Madison Square Park to talk about a new project, and then I'll be heading out to cover another event... and on it goes. Thank you for sticking around -- and keep reading.
Keep sending invitations to email@example.com and we'll all remain friends.