Social Media Burnout or I Don't Really Care What You Think

Along with my short list from the other day of some of the reasons for the lack of posting here, there’s this.

Some days, I just don’t care about other people’s opinions. Even when they agree with me, their need to assert it on the Interwebz just seems tiresome.

(Cue mass unfollowing from Twitter.)

I don’t feel this way all the time. If I did, I would just quit social media (cue cheer from certain corners!). As examined in this well-written post by Carpetbagger, the way opinions and positions are so very diametrically oppositional is wearing.

And it’s not even November yet!

I can pinpoint this feeling exactly to the day the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act was being revealed. I actually (briefly) unfollowed a couple of people because if the law was not upheld I did not want to view or participate in their particular brand of gloating. Even if it was very subtle. I just did not want to deal.

(I’m not proud.) (I did refollow them.)

And due to the persuasive presence of social media (in my life, anyway), we are (I am) awash in Other People’s Opinions. All. The. Time.

Then we had the Aurora theater shooting, and the horror expressed over the fact that there were children in the theater at a midnight show. (None of our business! Not our children! The parents didn’t take them to the theater to be harmed. What happened was the fault of one very sick person.)

For the record, I had two — TWO — very interesting and civil conversations on social media (one on Twitter and one on Facebook) with two people with different opinions than my own. To sum up: they asserted that if citizens had been able to carry concealed weapons, the carnage in the theater would have been less. I asserted that I strongly doubted that. We all had our good and valid reasons for our positions, and no one called each other reductive, nasty names.

Of course, the general parent judging that goes on all the damn time in general. Over it, and I still get sucked into the debate. If not directly by commenting on it, at least I read things that piss me off. Gotta learn to NOT CLICK.

Then the whole gay marriage/Chick-fil-a flap. I was dismayed to see some people in my social media circles supporting Chick-fil-a on their so-called “Customer Appreciation Day”. But that’s their right. It’s my right to never set foot in there again. It’s the beauty of the free market/democratic society! You get to say what you want, give money to organizations you want, and I get to boycott you!

Let’s review, real quick, the “freedom of speech” clause. It’s pretty straightforward: The government cannot censor speech. That’s it, in a nutshell. The government can’t shut down a newspaper, TV channel, or Internet site. The government can’t hack your blog and crash your servers.

Can you be fired from your job by mouthing off about your employer on Facebook? Yup. You can say whatever you want, but in some cases — not related to government censorship — there are consequences. If Dan Cathy wants to give money to organizations that work hard to suppress civil rights of a minority, he is free to do so. I am free to not eat his waffle fries.

In all the hoopla, this article from The Daily Beast was my favorite. It’s written by a gay employee of Chick-fil-a, and I honestly hope that if you are on the wrong side of this issue, it gives you pause.

Sometimes, it’s good to read things on the Internet that make you mad. It’s good to read stuff you don’t agree with. I think it’s important to know what others think and why. Just keep in mind that your next move should be to think before you type an angry, hate-filled comment. If you can’t think of anything that’s not flaming with anger or filled with hate, then don’t say anything. You are free to disagree — you are, even, really, free to be utterly uncivil online, I have to admit there’s no law against being an asshole — but do you really want to be the troll in the room? Hate has never, ever ever, in the history of the world (to my knowledge) changed someone’s mind for the better.

Some other things that drive me up a wall, in no particular order:

1. Being passive-aggressive online. If you have something to tell someone, tell him/her.
2. #vaguebooking (or #vagueTweet) This one probably bugs the majority of social media users. If you have to wait to tell us something, then wait!
3. Truly random, all-over-the-place posting. I know the Internet is the Wild West of communications, but sooner or later, if you want to do it right, you’ve got to find a theme, a niche, something you care enough about to regularly talk about. [Edited to add: The nature of Twitter is random, and I understand that. However, after a while, you start (if you are “good” at it) to talk about a few topics regularly. Yes, there’s going to be randomness. I guess the type that I’m talking about is navel-gazing randomness with no rhyme or reason, or totally goofy mental vomit. I’ve gotten to know people from Twitter, and when you are all over the place, it’s hard to have a conversation with you.] 4. Sponsored posts. These less drive me crazy than make my eyes glaze over a little bit. Confession: I don’t read sponsored posts, not from Babble, not from Big Name Bloggers, not from other writers I regularly follow online. I’m sorry, it’s nothing personal. I just see “This is a sponsored post from XYZ”, and I click on the next thing.

Do other people’s opinions wear you out? What do you do? Should I take a social media timeout? Until after the election?! (Not really, not going to happen.)

Twitter: What is it Good For?

I ask a lot of questions on Twitter. A lot.

Someone mentioned that using Twitter instead of Google to find information was an attention-getting tactic.

To which some people replied, “Isn’t Twitter in general a way to get attention?”

But I digress.

I do not use social media professionally. I am not a brand. I am not marketing myself or my writing or a company or a non-profit.

Which is not to say, especially when it comes to my children’s school, I wouldn’t like to use Twitter in such a way — to market, to communicate to a specific audience, professionally. And I do post my blog posts to Twitter.

If asking questions on Twitter is attention-getting, I am guilty, in spades.

But I do use Twitter for information. It’s so very efficient! If I throw a question out there, such as, “What is superfine sugar? Is it confectioners’ sugar?”, I get anywhere from one to five answers. (My favorite answer to that question the other day was, “It’s really, really good-looking sugar.” h/t @onedamnthing.)

If I google that phrase, I get more than 300,000 results, and many of the results are ads that take me to a particular brand page (which, go SEO!) or recipes. I would have to sift through those results. When I ask on Twitter, not only do I get an answer, but I also learn, for example, that while I can buy superfine sugar, I can also get the same effect by putting regular granulated sugar in a food processor.

Plus, a lot of time when I use Twitter to ask questions I’m at home, and I don’t sit in front of a computer at home. I am running around with my kids, or cooking dinner, or cleaning up, or whatever. So I use my pocket friends and their stores of knowledge. My pocket friends are very smart, very patient with me, and pretty willing to answer my inane baking questions. (I also asked about self-rising flour recently. In case you didn’t know, self-rising flour has nothing to do with yeast.)

(Phrase “pocket friends”, h/t to @tehamy and @jayesel — I’ve seen them both use it. Or maybe one of them says “pocket people”. Anyway, you get the idea.)

Search engines very much have their place. Google and Bing are a great resources, and I do use them quite often professionally and casually. But if I want information quickly, Twitter is the place for me!

When you need an answer to a question, where do you turn?

The Thing I Didn’t Tweet About

Last Friday, Dan, the children, and I headed to Erie to celebrate Christmas with my parents (aka Nonna and Pap-pap).

On the way, feelings of intense grief began to surface.

I reached for my phone to tweet something about it. Something like, “Suddenly really missing Gabriel.”

And then I didn’t.

I put my hands back in my lap, and let the feeling engulf me. I cried a little. I turned to my husband and told him the way I was feeling. We held hands. I said, “I would think I would be over this feeling by now.”

I didn’t mean I would be over being sad. I’ll never stop being sad or missing Gabriel.

The grief continued on and off throughout the weekend. For the first time in a long time, it wasn’t just feeling a little sad that my first son wasn’t with us. It was grief, painful and sharp, keener than it’s been… probably since Kate was born.

I didn’t tweet about my grief for one reason.

It wasn’t because I felt I would be ignored, that my grief for my son would fall on deaf ears. My followers are in many cases my friends as well, and they wouldn’t let me down. They would reach out to me (virtually) in my time of grief. Of this I have little doubt.

It wasn’t because I wanted to hide my grief. That I didn’t want to talk about my baby loss (as Dan termed it this weekend “baby sadness”) at what is supposed a joyful time of year — about the birth of a baby. It wasn’t because I thought I would be raining on people’s Christmas or holiday parade.

I didn’t tweet about my grief because I needed to be with my grief. And I needed to be with my grief with my small group, primarily my husband, of course, but I did talk about the way I was feeling with my parents after dinner on Christmas Eve.

I don’t know what factors contributed to the resurgence of my intense feelings, whether hormones, exhaustion, or stress, or why some of the music I heard made my sentiment well (“Coventry Carol” and “Gabriel’s Message” from A Very Special Christmas album were definite triggers, as well as a couple of tracks from A Christmas Together – John Denver & The Muppets). Although I consider myself very blessed in my marriage and my other three children, something about Michael being a year old perhaps made me feel Gabriel’s loss more keenly.

And, let’s face it, what I love Twitter for (besides my tweeps) is the immediacy of the medium. You have a thought or feeling or question, and you can just shoot it out into the ether and be done with it. And then you can check your @’s obsessively to see if anyone agrees, disagrees, or has the answer. It can be used for conversation, for soliciting good prayers and thoughts (something I had just used it for the day of Michael’s ear tube surgery), for checking in with other tweeps. I have never made any secret of my fondness for Twitter, but it’s not necessarily for dwelling on things.

I had to do that with my grief. I had to sit with it, share it with the people who were physically present to me, work through it. By Christmas Day, I really felt much better — not just because some of the external factors were resolved. I had had a couple of nice days with friends in Erie (and beer), and with my kids and parents, and I was more rested.

I also processed my grief, recognized and acknowledged it. It surprised me in its timing and intensity. I thought those high waves were far behind me; clearly I was mistaken. And that’s okay.

I hope you all had Merry Christmases and Happy Holidays. And if you had grief, I hope, like me, you had the time and space — or took the time and space — to go through it. Many well wishes and happy thoughts for you all.

Request

I can list all the usual suspects when it comes to being thankful in 2011: a healthy and growing family, a successful practice for my husband, a job and health benefits, good friends, and so on and so forth.

I’ve been missing some of my IRL friends, lately, the ones I don’t get to interact with on social media. It feels almost ungrateful because I’ve made great friends through Twitter, many of whom I get to hang out with occasionally IRL. But I want Hope and Michele and Nikki and Jen and Dawnan and more to join Twitter (my Social Media Platform of Choice![tm]) too. Some of them are on Facebook (as am I) and some are good about posting updates (much, much better than I am). I just like Twitter best.

I mean, I’ve been meaning to email Hope for *ages*, and I just haven’t. I feel like a bad friend. I miss her, and want to tell her we’re coming in for Christmas, and let’s go have a drink, and so on and so forth… and, yeah, I’m posting here about it instead. And don’t even get me started on N, who is my oldest friend in this world, who won’t join Facebook (why not?), but gleefully stalks others through her sister’s account. (Bad N.)

I don’t want them to start blogging or invent personal brands to promote over Twitter or anything like that.

I just want to talk to them again. And somehow, this — i.e. Twitter — has become how I talk to people now. Which, either, I’m doing something wrong or I’m a totally 21st-century woman. I haven’t decided.

Why do you do what you do in the social media realm?

Project Food Budget: Week 6

Food Budget Piggybank

Yee-haw. Due to the fact that we shopped very little in the past week (too busy!), we are way under budget!

Grocery actual = $25.93
Eating out actual = $41.00

Which is good, because I am blowing up the budget in the next few days.

It’s Flora’s 7th birthday tomorrow. I have a friend and her daughter coming in from out of town; my parents are coming Saturday; I am hosting dinner and then a sleep over (for the girls) on Saturday evening; and Sunday we are having people over for the Steelers game, plus cake and ice cream.

Tonight we are going out to eat. I have too much cleaning to catch up on to cook and clean tonight. The menu from Friday to Sunday looks like this:

Lentil soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Gnocchi Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Rotisserie chicken
Quorn nuggets
Stovetop mac ‘n’ cheese (for the kids)
Salad
Peanut butter butterscotch Rice Krispie treats

Slow cooker ox roast sandwiches (courtesy of Nonna)
Crudite tray
Cheese and crackers
Santa Fe Soup with tortilla chips
Cake and ice cream

Add some staples to the party food, and I’m thinking we’re looking at around $250 in groceries. Plus another $100 in alcohol (just beer and wine).

And you know what? I am totally cool with that. It’s a party!

Budget:
Groceries = $250
Alcohol = $100 (2 cases of beer, 4 bottles of wine)
Formula = $25 (this should be our last formula purchase, *fingers crossed*; we didn’t buy any last week)
Eating out = $50

Let’s go see how everyone else did!

* Emily Levenson
* Dairy-Free Cooking
* Test Kitchen Tuesday
* Acquired Tastes
* Fit Flexitarian
* Warm As Pie
* Katy Rank Lev
* My Inner Healthy
* Little Blue Hen
* xox, b
* What da Health?
* Project Food Budget 2.0
* Ignition Nutrition
* A Nice Heart and a White Suit
* Because Hobbies Happen
* Primary Focus Health Coaching
* Chicken Tender
* Fresh…A New Chapter
* Whole Living Gal
* Chandeleah
* Two Eggs Over Easy

++

In case you are looking for something to do this weekend, my friend Jen England (@JenEngland) is promoting the On the Spot event at Howlers on Friday Nov. 11, from 6-8:30 p.m. On the Spot is a non-profit that helps girls in foster care or financially unstable home situations get feminine hygiene products, as well as helping boys and girls get things like deodorant and shampoo. Middle and high school are hard enough without worrying about this stuff!

An an added bonus, On the Spot events are always fun! They will have their usual cookie table (potato chip cookies, baklava, sour gummy worm rice crispy treats, and more) as well as terrific auction items for the paper bag auction. Admission is a $10 donation or $5 and a box of pads. Howlers is at 4509 Liberty Avenue, Bloomfield, and more information about the project can be found here.

Return to PodCamp Pittsburgh

I know I mentioned this before: I am going to PodCamp Pittsburgh this year. It will be my second PodCamp.

And, er, I’m doing three sessions in a row on Saturday.

Technically, I’m only doing one session solo. The other two sessions are panel discussions with some awesome people: @michaeldpound, @lisaj77, @funkydung, @techburgh, and @askthedivad. We had a meeting last night at my house to hammer out a few more details.

And I’m quite excited. Also, I think Mike has a picture of me perched on a little blue chair looking quite excited. (Ahem. Cough it up.) I promise not to go on (too much more), but PodCamp is one of the reasons I am waking up at 3 a.m. even when a kid is not. I have a lot to do. (Another reason is my sister’s wedding. I have a lot to do for that, too. It’s all good.)

Looking over the schedule, I wish I could go to every single session. I’m especially interested in the podcasting sessions, because that is something my husband would like to incorporate into his business. I’ll have to watch the videos later I suppose. Or make Dan come with me.

Side note: Because of his profession, being present on Twitter and Facebook would be… tricky to say the least. He is on LinkedIn, and at this point we feel that’s most appropriate.

Back on point: If you are interested in any or all of the following, you really should come to PodCamp: Pittsburgh social media, SEO, podcasting, blogging, new media, journalism on the Web, talking to people, listening to people, social media and journalism, social media and non-profits, and, er, #craftbeer.

Did I miss anything?

Are you going? You should go!

You Really Want to Know?

I’m sure he didn’t mean for this to happen, and I’m especially sure he didn’t mean this to happen on a so-called “mommy” blog, but I turned these questions from Justin Kownacki into a meme.

Hey, it’s a slow day.

Although, knowing Justin a wee little bit (we met at last year’s Podcamp Pittsburgh), he probably doesn’t mind. If nothing else, Justin wants to make people think.

1. What did the 18-year-old me think the current me would be doing?
Entering college, I thought I would be an international journalist (preferably in the USSR, now Russia — yes, Russia. I took two years of Russian and everything) OR a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. The 18-year-old me may be disappointed at where the current me is career-wise, but given the love in my life, I think she would be quite pleased. Although she would probably think I’m crazy for being knocked up again, too. (And no, it was not an accident. So there.)

2. What is the idealized version of me?
Whatever my husband thinks it is.

On a more serious note: Ideally, I am more patient. Ideally, I make more money because of my career choices and/or because I manage my (our) money better. Ideally, I sleep less and accomplish more. (Or conversely, I have less to accomplish — because I have a live-in maid, natch — and I can sleep more). Ideally, I am far more organized. Ideally, I have a master’s degree in some type of writing. Realistically? I’m doing the best I have with what I’ve got.

3. What have I believed all my life without questioning?
I cannot think of one thing I haven’t questioned, from my faith to my day-to-day parenting decisions. Maybe the fact that the world is round. I’m pretty sure I haven’t questioned that.

4. Where haven’t I been yet?
Geographically? The list is quite long. My next international trip will be Ireland. But there are other “places” I haven’t been in the figurative. Debt-free, for example.

5. What’s one thing I don’t know about my own parents, or grandparents, or kids?
I don’t know how my paternal grandmother felt about her two miscarriages or the loss of a teenage son to leukemia. I’m sure there are things I don’t know about life inside my parents’ marriage, and that is probably for the best. As to my children, at almost-6 and nearly-4 I probably know as much as I ever will about what goes on in their little heads. Kate, especially, still talks in stream-of-consciousness, almost literally, as she starts as soon as she wakes up. “I had a good dream. About Foe-wa. About me and Foe-wa and monsters, friendly monsters, all playing together.”

6. How am I sabotaging my own success?
Holy cats, where do you want me to start? My middle name should be hesitation — or maybe fear. I’m not sure. I stop myself all the time. I tell myself I’m being practical.

7. Why do I pay attention to the stimuli that currently monopolizes my time?
Well, a lot of that stimuli for me is kid-related, actually. Where it isn’t: Reading books relaxes me; and social media makes me feel connected. So there.

8. What were my ancestors doing 100 years ago?
My Italian ancestors were already in America 100 years ago —  although Leo and Flavia were recent immigrants. My maternal grandmother (the recently deceased Olympia) wasn’t born yet, but two siblings of hers were (one sister and one brother). I think they were living in Conneaut, PA, soon to move to Erie (to get away from the Black Hand, if family legend is to be believed). I’m less sure about my Irish ancestors — my paternal grandparents immigrated in 1927 (Pap-pap) and 1930 (Grandma) and met and married here in Pittsburgh. I don’t know what their lives in Ireland were like, although, again, according to stories I’ve heard, Pap-pap was probably kicked out of the house when he was done with 8th grade. I imagine my Irish ancestors were pretty poor farmers for the most part.

9. Which opportunity would I most want my child to have?
I hope my children have the opportunity not only to travel but to live abroad. A six-month college program, a year abroad for an employer, charity work, or just the cliche backpacking through Europe. If something like that comes across for my children, I hope they take it.

10. Whom can I help?
Another endless list. From an angle of helping through social media, here are my thoughts: I have a dream of helping my children’s school and my church with social media marketing. That’s hard for a lot of different reasons: the pay would not be great to start; there is reluctance to have a two-way dialogue in the Catholic church (it’s got to get better, or it really is going to get worse for the institution); and, you know, time in general. But I keep thinking and talking and hoping. In the meantime, I blog about religious and political issues that are important to me. I also think another way I help —  or can help in the realm of social media — is by being open about my experiences as the parent of a still baby. I think talking about Gabriel helps not only other parents who have suffered loss, but helps people who know those parents. At least that’s one of my hopes, and one of the reasons I write about my first son.

Week 30

I went for a non-stress test (NST) this week, and it was (aside from traffic) extremely uneventful. The doctor we met (briefly) said as long as my AFI (amniotic fluid levels) stay in the normal range, we don’t need more NSTs. Which is nice, because traffic really was a total bear. I better not need to be rushed to the hospital during rush hour because that’s not gonna happen. Although, as Dan pointed out: “That’s what ambulances are for.”

The doctor asked an interesting question or two regarding my history to which Dan and I did not know the answers. (We have to birth in a different hospital this time around.) She wanted to know what kind of testing I had undergone given my history (fetal death — a term I hate — and low fluid levels). I honestly didn’t recall any kind of testing, aside from increased sonograms with Flora and Kate. After Gabriel died, we did have some testing done on him (not an autopsy) and I gave a few vials of blood. I think they were looking for genetic components or clotting factors, something that would tell us WHY Gabriel died. But nothing was found either in his tests or mine that was conclusive.

I have officially moved into the third trimester. Sleeping is difficult — I have to wake up to turn over, and I am HOT. I can barely sleep with a sheet over me, and for a woman who likes to burrow into covers (sheet, blanket, comforter) that feels weird. The heat we had a couple weeks ago was torturous. My feet swelled significantly for the first time in any of my pregnancies ever. (Makes me wonder how all the tweeps I know whose third trimester was comprised of the summer months did it. Without losing their minds.)

In terms of energy, mine has dropped from the second trimester. The second trimester is, simply, the best. I am usually seeking out my (hot, uncomfortable) bed by 9:30 at the latest. Nothing so far is as bad as the first trimester. Yes, I am achy and tired; I have seen a chiropractor, and I am doing some stretches to help my back. Some days I am voraciously hungry, but I can’t eat too much in one sitting. Most of my meals seems to be some kind of whole grain with cheese, fresh tomatoes (this baby LOVES fresh tomatoes), and dip (hummus, usually). Honestly, I think I have had hummus six times over the past two weeks. I am trying to get lots of water (helps with those AFIs) — or lemonade. I could drink lemonade four times a day (except for the sugar).

I haven’t gotten my results from my gestational diabetes test; I figure no news is good news. I see my midwife again next week.

If I had to sum up the way I feel physically most days right now, I would tell you my ass is numb and my feet hurt. But emotionally, I feel good. Eager to meet the baby. I have fleeting anxiety, and I do want to see a woman Dan & I went to before Flora was born. She specializes in traumatic birth experiences, and it would be nice to have a session with her again.

++

And speaking of tweeps (we were, a minute ago), we’ve been welcoming babies like crazy in the ‘Burgh-based Twitterverse (links go to their Twitter feeds; for birth stories, click on their blog links there):

@epsnider and her family welcomed Gideon.
@Onedamnthing and her family welcomed Colin Scott.
@Jayesel and her family welcomed Audrey Grace.
@Mindbling and her family welcomed Jones Dylan (formerly and still known as Mavbling).
@TehAmy and her family welcomed Xander.

Did I miss anyone? And please remind me of middle names. I couldn’t track every thingdown on Twitter; I kept getting a fail whale.

By all Twitter reports, moms, dads, and older siblings (where applicable) are all adjusting well and feeling good, and all pictures indicate that Le Bud had better be damn adorable because he’s gonna have quite some competition for cutest Twitter baby. If I weren’t already knocked up, my ovaries would be exploding from Teh Cute.

ARGH!

Subtitle: I don’t understand why more schools don’t use social media.

Mornings have never been my favorite time of day. As of late, of course, they have become more problematic.

But I thought — I thought — I was doing okay this morning.

Granted, I didn’t wake up until 7 a.m., but I’m making up hours as I go along at work anyway. So I figured I’d just suck it up, and even drop the kids off at their respective schools.

It is Flora’s last day of preschool at St. J’s. I actually managed to put a barrette in her hair to keep it out of her face, so I felt on top of things.

Not so much.

Now I am not the most attentive of mothers, and by that I don’t mean I ignore my children. I just… I don’t have baby books; I don’t have scrapbooks (although I have lots of scrap); I don’t save every single piece of art and school work that they have ever done (probably one out of every, oh, 15-20?). I try to be good about taking lots of pictures and video, but mileage varies.

But when it comes to school stuff? I downright suck.

On the plus side, I seldom (never say never) forget to send my children to school without food. I pack pretty healthy lunches of stuff they like; Flora gets a snack and a drink box for preschool three days a week. When it’s their birthdays, I send in cookies (usually of the Eat’n Park variety; a baker I am not).

I am pretty good about permission slips for field trips Flora’s class goes on. I even usually take a day off to accompany her to the pumpkin patch around Halloween. (A field trip I will be going on for two more years, as Kate moves through St. J’s pre-k program.)

However, I am terrible about things like show and tell. Out of 10 months, I may remember to send something with Flora half of those. (Thank goodness they only have it once a month.) I completely spaced on school pictures this year (Dan saved our bacon there). And when stuff like baby photos are requested for the end-of-the-year DVD, you can bet I’ll forget about it.

To top things off, I dropped Flora off this morning at 8:10 a.m.

She didn’t have to be a school until 9.

I did not have a clue.

And do you know why?

Because I do not read paper.

I just don’t.

Flora comes home three times a week with her backpack filled with paper. Drawings she’s made, letter papers, school “work”, and, yes, class newsletters, calendars, permission slips, and so on.

I glance at most of this, tack the monthly calendar on the bulletin board, decide if I’m going to hang anything on the ‘fridge, and throw out everything else.

I am an connected mommy, a social media mommy. I read emails; I read tweets; I have a blog.

Schools would serve parents like me much, much better if they had active blogs, Twitter and/or whatever-is-replacing-Ning accounts (Facebook is too big for private K-8 schools, I think), and used emails.

Am I alone? Am I alone in having schools that don’t do this?

I understand that resources is an issue — probably THE issue. I’d be running my daughter’s school’s social media program… if they could pay me. Alas, they cannot (they almost closed this year, as a matter of fact), and I’m simply not in a position to quit my job and volunteer to do it.

I consulted (for free) with the volunteer who does run their marketing “department”. We actually — she, rather — did set up a Ning account for the school looking toward boosting enrollment and fundraising activities. We also talked about changes to the schools’ Web site to make it more interactive, and even about blog possibilities the school should explore (providing they stay open).

She was told to pull the Ning site down — which is a whole ‘nother post.

My point is: I don’t read paper, but I would read emails or Tweets. Given the proper time and incentive, I would even pursue that more with the school, because I am sure I am not the only one. (Well, I was the only parent there before 9 a.m. this morning, and that may have as much to do with the fact that I don’t usually do the morning drop-off, so it’s something my husband may have been told, and failed to pass the info along.)

What do you think? Should even small schools actively pursue engaging parents through social media? (I say, resoundingly, yes.) If cost is an issue, how should schools address that? Should I talk more to schools in my area about budgeting for it and/or how to use their current resources (i.e. office administrators, teachers to blog, etc.)?

Or should I start reading paper?

Me Time FAIL

So after all that crap about being out of time at work and in the hole and yadda yadda yadda, about a week ago I discovered I had nine hours of vacation time to use by today or lose.

I was pretty stoked. I mean, I haven’t had nine hours of time to burn in a long time. I thought I would schedule myself a pedicure, do some shopping for myself. I wasn’t going to clean or do laundry.

The place I used to get my pedicures doesn’t do them anymore. Plus, it’s cold today in Pittsburgh (*shakes fist at Mother Nature*), so flip-flops are not appealing.

And I had to deal with some messes at home. I mean, those dishes aren’t going to clean themselves — and neither is my dishwasher since it’s broken. Plus, I really had to put a (teeny-tiny) dent in the ever-present office mess.

Eventually, I went out to lunch (Chipotle FTW!). And I wandered through a couple of stores, but frankly I didn’t feel like shopping. For clothes, anyway; I did end up with two pairs of shoes and some make-up. And now I’m back home waiting for laundry to come out of the dryer. In about 40 minutes I go pick up the girls.

I’m clearly doing something wrong.

I DID get to spend some fun time on Twitter for a change. Although I still haven’t discovered who-all is knocked up. (I have, however, heard from plenty of people who are NOT.)

I guess I’ll have to try some other time for me time. It’s a shame that I squandered today. But the arts-&-crafts drawer is neat now — we can even close it; and my kitchen is clean (until dinner time). And I folded some laundry.

Me-time may have been a loss, but I think the house won.