Today would have been my Grandma Jane’s 91st birthday. She was one of the most beautiful, kind and compassionate women that I have ever met, and I feel so lucky everyday that I was able to have her in my life for 25 years. I have so many memories of summers spent in Wisconsin with her. They include everything from picking strawberries, to visiting cheese factories, to picking up A&W root beer and then driving around the farmland at dusk to search for deer and turkey. She also ignited my passion for baking and taught me all of her recipes. In fact, one of the last things she told my mom before she passed away was to make sure to share her recipes with everyone.
I learned so much from her, and as I have been thinking about her throughout today, I’ve remembered five of the most important lessons she taught me throughout my life, and believe they are worth sharing.
Everything In Moderation
I was obsessed with strawberries as a child, and my grandma one day convinced me that if I kept eating them at the rate I did, I would turn into one. I immediately cut back on my berry intake, terrified that I would turn into a plump red little girl. She also made sure to give me the smallest piece of my favorite banana split cake she made, emphasizing that I was smaller than everyone else at the table. Her point was that moderation is key to life. It’s okay to enjoy the strawberries and banana split, but you don’t want to get consumed in it.
This is key to social media. It’s so easy to get sucked into the 24/7 nature of it, that you lose yourself in the process of trying to create an always-on brand. You always, always have to remember that social media is just a portion of your life, not the whole thing. This is true even if social media is your profession → you cannot let it overtake you or you will burn-out quicker than you even began your career. Force yourself to take breaks, and have whole days or afternoons that you are tech-free. You can find more ways to unplug here → 5 Tips For Unplugging During The Week.
Choose Your Moments
My grandma was the classiest lady I have ever met. She was always very particular about her manners, and made a point to never use profanity in public. However, when Grandma Jane was making a pie, she asked everyone to leave her alone in the kitchen until it was out of the oven. I learned at a very young age that this was because she used profanity between sips of wine from a glass she hid in the freezer while she baked.
This is a great concept to carry into social media. If you are letting every moment be your moment to call out brands and people you disagree with, then no one will take you seriously when you actually have a complaint that needs attention. Choose your moments wisely, and find a private way to let all of the profanities out for all of those other moments that test your patience.
Date As Many Guys As Possible
This was excellent advice from my grandma, that I’m not sure too many of the guys I’ve dated are absolutely thrilled with. Her theory was that you need to date all types of guys in order to know exactly what qualities you are looking for in a mate. This came in very handy in multiple aspects of my life. I’ve dated as many cities and career choices as possible in order to make sure I am living in the best city for me and have the best career for me.
For social media, this means trying as many strategies, tactics, networks as possible until you find the right one for your brand. Granted, this does not mean to be on every network out there and employ every strategy you’ve ever heard, but it does mean that you have to get your feet wet in order to know which is best for you.
I am named after my grandma’s mother, and the last time I saw her, she was confused and calling out for her mother. My mom graciously told my grandma that she had the next best thing, Marjorie, her granddaughter. My grandma started crying when she saw me, and cried for the longest time I have ever seen my grandma cry for. They were tears of joy, that some form of her mother had returned to visit her in the Alzheimer’s unit.
Tradition should be respected in social media, even though it is a brand new medium. At the end of the day, social media is just another way of communicating, and it’s important to still adhere to the traditional concepts behind communication. Don’t get so caught up in all of the hype that you forget you are really just having conversations with people.
Go After What You Want
My grandma and grandpa started dating during the war, and my grandma was not a lady to wait around. While my grandpa was working on securing a commitment with my grandma, my grandma went to the movies with another guy. My grandpa walked right into that movie theater and pulled my grandma out, letting her know his intentions. However, that was not enough for grandma. So, a few months later, as they walked down the Main Street of Sheboygan Falls, my grandpa dragged my grandpa into a jewelry store and told him that he needed to pick out a ring for her if he wanted to keep her. She knew what she wanted, and she wasn’t afraid to go for it.
Social media is no place for the timid. You need to use it in the best way for your brand, or yourself. This means taking risks and being transparent in order to give people something to latch onto. Turn your social media presence into exactly what you want it to be, despite the naysayers, and watch a larger community be built around it due to its authenticity.
Although she was as far away as anyone from social media, my grandma has some excellent advice that can be applied for brands and personal accounts. Try tweaking your strategy with some of her advice and see if it encourages more authentic, engaging conversations.
- Marji J. Sherman