A Thank You Note To My Followers --> And 10 You Should Follow

Quotes-GratefulDear incredible followers,

I've been waiting for the perfect moment to write this, and I think that the tail end of 2015 is just that moment. I am in absolute awe of how lucky I am to have the compassionate, engaged following I do. Everyday, no matter what is happening IRL, you have a clever, or compassionate, response waiting. It is safe to say that something that started as a way to connect with fellow social media pros, has turned into one of the most loving communities I have ever witnessed on social media.

Not only have you been receptive and supportive towards me, you have extended that grace to each other in interactions that have absolutely nothing to do with me. I have seen everything from two of my followers embracing each other during tragic times, to a group of followers lamenting over something they have in common, whether it be geographic or emotionally.

During the past year, I can honestly say that I think we all have turned this community into a safe haven where all can feel free to be authentic to themselves, while also sharing intelligent insights on everything from social media to digital marketing to how to run a Fortune 500 company.

I literally get goosebumps as I sit in my mom's living room in Wisconsin during this holiday season and think back on all of the amazing interactions that have occurred during this year through this Twitter community.

So, THANK YOU, for being one of the most engaged, empathetic and intelligent group of followers a girl could ask for. You have helped me through some pretty major changes in my life, making sure that I get to the other side safe and sound. That is something I will never be able to repay you for. Xo.

In honor of the end of the year, I'd like to call attention to 10 incredible people that are Twitter and IRL connections. They are an amazing group of people that I highly recommend you follow as you go into the New Year:

Erin Daly (@ErMicheal)

Erin was my employee in Miami, and inspired my post on work ethic because she is the hardest worker I've ever met. We bonded over shitty boys, passion for writing and Pad Thai.

Reason to Follow: I like to call her my Little Me. She is intuitively amazing at social media, and shares a host of great articles for community managers.

Nick Cicero (@NickCicero)

Nick is a hilarious guy. We bonded over the fact that I used to work for KOHLER, and his dad was a plumber. A few weeks later, we met at the amazing Social Fresh conference, and have been great friends ever since.

Reason to Follow: Nick pairs an incredible sense of humor and ability to network with an innate intelligence for all things digital. Not only will you get the latest news on social media, you will also get a funny guy along with it ;)

Mike Walsh (@MikeGWalsh)

Mike and I met because I was "supposed" to speak at Madison's Social Media Club Breakfast. Unfortunately, I moved to NYC just a couple of weeks before the breakfast. Fortunately, Mike was in NYC a couple of weeks after that, and we met at a Badger bar to watch the University of Wisconsin play (very appropriate).

Reason to Follow: Mike has dedicated the past year to Flight for Sight, a program working to raise awareness of people with problems with the sight that are doing incredible things around the world. He shares lovely stories of how people have overcome their disability to live positive, out of this world lives. A truly amazing guy.

Jessica Taylor (@I_AmJessK)

Jessica and I met in college :) I had a few stalkers that year that she quickly picked up on, and she has been my Mama Bear ever since. From graduating college, to moving to NYC, to moving back to Miami, to break-ups, to hook-ups, to Frat parties, to everything in between, this girl and I have been through everything together.

Reason to Follow: Jessica brings the sass to Twitter. You will never regret following this firecracker that will make sure to light up your timeline with hilarious, relevant responses to what is going on in the world.

Kylie Vosler (@KylieVoz)

Kylie is my beautiful cousin, so I'm not sure I need to explain this one ;). I found out she had a Twitter account because she sent me a snarky Tweet about how I could follow the whole world, except my own family. Now, I can't get enough of the fact she is on Twitter. Last week I had a moment in the middle of a street in Colorado where I literally blurted out, "Oh my Gosh, you are on Twitter! I can Tweet you!"

Reason to Follow: For all music fans out there, Kylie happens to be dating a bit of a rockstar, and shares his music frequently on her feed. I took a listen myself, and was quite impressed. She also has a great sense of style and sense of humor that pops up on her feed :)

Brian Fanzo (@iSocialFanz)

Brian and I met at Social Fresh and have been chatting every since. We bonded over our shared passion for social media, and philosophy that engagement is absolute key when it comes to running a successful social media campaign.

Reason to Follow: Brian is one of my all-time Twitter faves for one primary reason --> HE ENGAGES with EVERYONE. He makes sure to respond to everything that comes through his feed in an authentic, charismatic way. One of my favorite feeds to watch.

Mike Miller (@mimllr)

I met Mike on Twitter through one of my lovely friends, Kelli Snedegar, and then met him IRL when I was visiting NYC last year for New Year's. He braved a blizzard to meet me somewhere in Brooklyn. Shortly after, we became engaged as an April Fool's prank, and it all just went from there...

Reason to Follow: The funniest Ginger I know. He will add positive vibes to anyone's day.

Kathleen Ewald (@KathleenEwald)

Kathleen and I exchanged Tweets for awhile on Twitter before realizing that we worked for the same company, and sat literally in the same area of the office. While I was reading her new blog post, I had no idea she was just a few yards away from me! It wasn't until she was talking to someone at her office about my Twitter account, that we put two and two together!

Reason to Follow: Kathleen is a sharp executive that provides a unique perspective on the executive lifestyle and leadership. She shares some pretty cool out-of-the-box Tweets, as well :)

Kelli Snedegar (@ksnedegar)

Kelli is one of my absolute favorite people, IRL and on Twitter. She was an intern at the company I was working for when my sister died, and immediately swooped in and became my best friend as I healed.

Reason to Follow: SO INTELLIGENT. This is one smart lady that shares incredible articles, as well as awesomely sarcastic Tweets. Love her.

Lisandra Carballosa (@PRntheCity)

Lisandra was my boss at one of my very first internships in Miami beach, while I was attending UMiami. She got me hooked on Cuban coffee and gave me a glimpse of what it's like to run the PR world in one of the hottest cities in the world.

Reason to Follow: She adds Miami spice to every timeline, and is wicked smart when it comes to PR tips. Warning, though, you might get insanely jealous of all the beach, Cuban coffee and  hunky guy pics that she Tweets out.

There you go! Once again, thanks for an absolutely incredible year filled with authentic, real conversations. You guys truly are the creme de la creme.

- Marji J. Sherman

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