And this is where I stand…
It all started back in 2011, more out of curiosity and to challenge myself to do something everyone said was extremely difficult. Yes, Twitter! I already had a personal Facebook account for family and friends, and now I was excited to make new connections with mutual interests, but never thought about the professional aspect. Surprisingly I’d accumulated quite a following due to my lively personality and eloquence. Surrounded by family and scholarly friends I was in my comfort zone. They and friends from my LGBT community were like family to me – we practically grew up together.
One day I decided to explore Twitter territory. I opened an account oblivious of what to do or how to engage once I got there. I admit it was a total disaster since I had no clue of what I know today. A few people followed me. Uhm… two or three I believe. I remember uploading a profile photo with no thoughts about right dimensions or that I needed a profile description. I tweeted via several online publications but after a month I became discouraged, deciding Twitter wasn’t meant for me. Missing my already established Facebook friends I rushed back where I knew how to manage interactions and most of all where I felt accepted.
In one year, my followers grew from zero to 21K. I was able to create this engagement using no special tools or bots.
In 2015 I decided to start a home decor drop shipping venue. I knew social media was a critical component of having an online merchandising business. Guess what? I returned to Twitter! To transform my account from personal to business relationships, I deleted old tweets and started over. The Casa Décor, Inc was the name of my business and my personal photo was the profile picture. I poured myself into sales, but there was not enough to make a real profit. However, through the process of building relationships, I met fantastic, beautiful people (most of them are still part of my following). In one year, my followers grew from zero to 21K. I was able to create this engagement using no special tools or bots. It was magical… by just being my authentic self! I did not know anything about Influencers, Unicorns or scores, but I knew success depended on a daily routine of interacting with my new Twitter acquaintances.
Such a great community! Through Twitter, I met a true friend. In fact, having met in person and visiting each other’s places from time to time, we have become friends in real life. I showcased his paintings on my website – a great artist, friend, and human being.
In January 2016 I terminated the drop shipping venue. Thinking of my artist friend, I asked if he wanted to keep the website free of charge, so he could continue to exhibit his paintings. He kindly declined my offer. At this juncture, I took a break from social media but maintained diligent effort to continue reading and learning everything about social media management and marketing. I took several online courses via Udemy which I found perfect for my learning style. The tutors, as well as former students, were supportive because they got involved in answering any questions pertaining the course. Udemy courses also offer lots of visuals: videos, examples, plus competency tests for each course. On advantage I must mention is that these courses are economical due to options for reviewing the course materials at any time. Each course becomes a valuable consulting resource.
It’s been an exciting learning road to walk. I’m enjoying every minute of it! In the process, I have met many good people who support and encourage me.
In 2017 upon my return to Twitter, I noticed most of my prior community members were either gone or pursuing other projects. I miss my old community a great deal. Even though it hadn’t been away from Twitter very long, I realized how rapidly things change in a year. To my surprise, I have lost total interest in FB as an entertainment platform. About this time, I met someone who helped change my perspective of the digital world. I learned to view markets through a different lens in terms of service versus product. This individual encouraged me to join Upwork as a service provider for social media management. I landed several projects including a long-term project which lasted a little more than a year. We recently closed the project through mutual agreement. It’s been an exciting learning road to walk. I’m enjoying every minute of it! In the process, I have met many good people who support and encourage me.
While freelancing at Upwork I decided to write a small social media guide with “Tips & Tricks” I have learned along the way of my online journey. It’s available at my website free of charge to anyone who is interested in pursuing online engagement. Learning, learning and more learning! It never ends… it’s an everyday process because what worked yesterday may not work today. New technologies and new ways to do things are a growing commodity on the social media spectrum. Nobody knows everything. Collective collaboration among peers is necessary because we can learn from each other’s experiences then pass them along as a gift to others.
On cybersecurity: My goal is to continue learning and be a strong voice in the field of cybersecurity awareness. We must keep the public informed on the latest cyber news as well as educate the public, so they learn how to protect themselves and stay safe online. Although there is never a one-size-fits-all solution for the constantly evolving cyber-attacks, to be aware is a step forward to stay protected. Among the millions of Twitter users are fake profiles, bots, and trolls, but there are still millions of people with authentic, good intentions. Just as we experience good and bad behaviors in the physical world, that same behavior translates to the digital world. Cybersecurity is a necessary advent of technology and it will never cease to be required.
An advantage to online communities is the vast array of people who can introduce you to new skills, interests, hobbies, and open doors to opportunities.
There are always possibilities that when you least expect it, someone will see the magic in you, something you’ve failed or overlooked to see in yourself. My “Unicorn” mentor is a phenomenal human being! This person encourages me when I feel like giving up! This same person pushes me to my limits and is the reason I’m writing this first article ever! Yet, my mentor never asks or expects anything in return except loyalty and authenticity. These rare attributes are hard to find nowadays. The truth is, that’s how to repay a kind gesture. Respect, loyalty, and transparency are priceless. “We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason.” Immediate plans or goals? It’s been my experience that when setting goals or planning to succeed in any form, it’s God, the universe, or a higher power, whichever we call it, is overseeing our path. Sometimes what we want is not what we need.
I will continue my journey not expecting but embracing all the good and the bad of this new learning experience. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”