On Social Media Marketing

Justine is a character in the novel, 40 Something and this is an excerpt from the novel.

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About Social Media Marketing

Gary left for work and dropped the kids off at school, leaving me home alone.

I work from home. I’m one of the so called lucky ones.

My daily task list pops up on my computer. Today is my day to analyse the data from last week. I like analysing the data of campaigns to see what’s working and what’s not,so I can efficiently allocate resources. It’s a lot of work testing, analysing, trying to figure out what people will engage with.

It’s a game.

I reserve Mondays and Tuesdays for content creation and scheduling it to automatically post. Wednesdays are for analysing, so that on Thursday, I can plan next week’s content. Fridays are for research. There is so much information online it can take all day to read it, analyze it, and decide what is relevant and what is complete BS.

Most of it is BS.

The noise online is deafening at times. Everyone is screaming look at me at the same time, it’s easy to miss relevant information and hard to get a message in front of eyes.

People share the dumbest things and ignore the most intelligent information. The amount of fear based posts and articles going viral, shows just how stupid the populous is. Most of the facts in these articles are made up, rumours, gossip, and lies. Still gullible people believe it and pass it around as if it’s gospel, just because someone wrote it on the Internet.

My least favourite social media posts are the ones about celebrities and their stupid lives. They are just people and they can’t even get a cup of coffee without someone making up some meaning about it.

A-list celebrity was seen alone buying a cup of coffee, does this mean splitsville for this Hollywood powerhouse couple?

God, who cares?

I guess the majority of those wasting time on social media because sites capitalizing on high traffic don’t offer up good content. They offer up sensationalized content, celebrity gossip, and complete mind numbing click bait garbage. People click on it, the sites get huge amounts of traffic to entice advertisers to pay the big bucks.

It makes my job harder.

I had one client suggest we attach a celebrity to his product by photo shopping the product onto a celebrity pic, which he stole off the web.

“Think of the hits we’ll get and the sales.” He said.

“We can’t do that.” I said.

“Why not? Just take this pic, paste the product in and viola, instant celebrity endorsement.”

“The photo is copyrighted, you can’t use any photo you find online. It has to be a photo you either took or bought.”

“Buy one.”

“It’s not that easy or cheap. Sure I could buy a stock photo for ten bucks, but a celebrity photo, that’ll cost thousands.”

“No one is going to care.”

“The celebrity will because they will want a fee for using their image and the photographer will sue you for use of his property. That’s two law suits.”

“The publicity will be great.”

My head began to hurt.

“It’s illegal, unethical, and bad taste. I’m not going to do it. And if you do, it’s time we rethink our arrangement.” I told him.

“What? You thought I was serious? I was just kidding, Justine. I know we can’t do it, but can you imagine the traffic if we did?”

He wasn’t kidding. I finally cut ties with him over another hair-brained scheme to use cat photos. His product has nothing to do with cats. I hate it when companies start using cat gifs and photos to attract attention, it’s inauthentic and screams desperation.

Clients like him, end up finding someone who will bend the rules, find the loopholes, and, for the short term, it works. Thing is, these same clients are calling me crying about how their website and profiles are blacklisted by search engines and the social media companies. They beg me to take them back, but by then, the damage is done and it will cost way too much to fix.

The only thing they can do is start over.

It’s like authenticity and integrity got lost on its way down the information highway. Everyone wants quick overnight success and my clients expect me to get it for them. They don’t look beyond last week to see the years of work that it took for big names to get overnight success. Not to mention, the foresight and luck.

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Phone Rings.

“Hello, Justine here, how may I help you?”

“Mom, I forgot my Math book and I need it for next period. Can you bring it?” It’s my son, Harper.

“I can, I’m totally able to get up, find the book, get in the car and drive it to you. The question is, will I?” I ask.

“Mooooom. You know what I mean. I need the book for class or I’m gonna get a detention.”

“Maybe you’ll remember it next time.”

“You know, other moms bring their kid’s their books.”

“Do they now?”

“Pleeeeeeease?”

Why do I go through this farce? I know I’ll end up taking him his math book. It’s what good moms do. We save our children from the evils of detention. We save them from their mistakes, just like Gary saves me from mine.

“What time?” I ask.

“In an hour. I’ll clean my room when I get home.”

“Riiiiiiiiiight.”

“No really. I will. Cause I won’t be in detention.”

“Alright. Meet me out front in an hour.”

“Thanks mom.”

“So, where is it?”

“Where’s what?”

“The book.”

“I don’t know. I think it’s in my room somewhere.”

“Be out front.”

I download the analytic data onto my computer, I’ll head over to the closest coffee shop and work from there today for a change of scenery.

Harper’s room is a disaster area.

I don’t even know where to start looking for the damn book. I put the dirty clothes, which are acting as carpeting, into the empty basket. I put the books on the shelf and carry all the dirty dishes into the kitchen. Where I discover the dishwasher needs to be emptied before I can put the dishes in it.

Always something.

Fifteen minutes have gone by and I still have to find the book and drive to the school. I rush back up to his room and look under the bed, on the desk, in the desk, and in the closet. I find lots of things I’d rather not, like the science experiment behind the desk that once might have resembled an apple or maybe a pear?

I make a quick trip to the bathroom to get some paper towel and cleaner, it takes me all of five minutes to clean up the mess. The carpet will have to be cleaned properly, another thing to put on my to do list.

I have to find that book.

The room is tiny. They build kid’s bedrooms so small these days that there isn’t any room in here to loose anything. OK, if I was a math book, better yet, if I was Harper‘s math book, where would I be? I strip his bed and then remake it. There are plenty of items that don’t belong in a bed, like video games and crumbs, but no math book.

Where the hell is it?

I’ve got fifteen minutes left to get the book and get it to the school. Maybe Gary knows where it is. I dial his number.

“Hey hun what’s up?” Gary’s chipper voice.

“Do you have any idea where Harper’s math book might be?”

“Math book? We were doing his math homework last night in the family room. Did you check there?”

“No. He told me it was in his room.”

“It should be on the right side of the computer screen on the corner desk. There might be a notepad on top of it and if he forgot his math book, his socials books might be there too.”

“Thanks, I really appr–.”

He hangs up before I finish my sentence.

I run down to the family room in the basement and there, on the right hand side of the computer screen, is a pile of textbooks. Math, socials, and science. I have ten minutes to get to the school.

 


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40 Something follows the lives of 5 women trying to figure out life in the 21st Century. Do you have any insights or stories you’d like to share?

For more about the series go to www.shannonpeel.com 

 


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

In her new Chicklit novel, Shannon Peel is exploring what it means to be a 40 something woman in the 21st Century. Each of the 5 women are personalities that we as woman are made up of in various degrees. We are too complex to be just one. 

For more about this novel and her YA Novel, THIRTEEN, go to www.shannonpeel.com 

 

 

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Round Out Your Target Market

Use Characterization to Define your Target Market

As a novelist, I create characters out of thin air and put them into different situations to tell a story. The more I know about the character, the more believable I can make their reactions, the more believable their reactions, the better the story. By using the same process as a novelist does to create a character, you can define your optimal target market.

A business uses one of two approaches when marketing their product, the shot gun approach or the targeted approach. The shot gun approach means getting in front of as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible. The targeted approach means understanding who will buy your product and focusing your resources on them. As you can imagine, the shot gun approach is very expensive compared to the targeted approach.

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How do you create a target market?

First leave the fear of missing out on business at the door.

The shot gun approach is based on the philosophy that if the message isn’t everywhere, you will miss out on sales. The target marketing method is based on saturating a targeted piece of the market and working out from there. Guess which one costs more money?

Understand your business, product, and service

To determine your target market, you will need to completely understand your product, service, and business, so you can tell them how your business can solve their problem or fulfill their need.

  • What does your business do?
  • What problems does your product or service solve?
  • Why should a person buy your product or service?

You must know your unique selling feature. I am always surprised when a business owner does not know why someone should buy from them and even more shocked, when they don’t know whom they are targeting with their marketing message.

Next, know thyself grasshopper.

Use the characterization method outlined below, to understand how you fit into the market and why you would buy from yourself. What do you, as a person, bring to the experience? This will help you to understand how you interact with your target market and why someone would want to buy from you personally.

Ask any business owner whom the best customers are and they will say, the referred ones. Similar people get along best with each other and it is easier to trust someone when they are like you rather than extremely different. By knowing yourself, you will be able to determine what characteristics in a customer are more likely to result in a positive experiences and referrals.

Now you can start asking questions about whom you want to do business with.

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Using the Characterization Method

Some characters are based on arch types, which are two dimensional and limited by expectations of the reader. They are made for a certain roles in specific story genres and for the most part are not based on real people and rarely grow or change.

In some stories the characters feel real, you can relate to them, you understand them and can see yourself being friends with them. They are flawed, learn and grow as the story progresses. These are the well-rounded characters that are created through a process of asking questions, creating back stories, and drawing from people in the real world. This is the kind of process you want to engage in to define a target client.

Start by identifying your favourite clients. If you don’t have any yet, think about the kinds of people you get along best with.

Traditional Demographics are Not Enough

Let’s start with the easy stuff, the obvious part of target marketing – demographic stats.

These include, Age, gender, race, profession, married, single, kids, homeowner, address, and income. Write down the general demographics your ideal client fits into, then take it one step further by asking why do you want to target that age, gender, etc and how will your product or service help them?

Now, round them out a bit more by looking at what they do. What hobbies does your client have? Where to they shop? Is it Walmart or Bloomingdales? Where do they like to eat, go for drinks, exercise, and vacation? Ask all the questions that will tell you what kind of buying habits they have, their recreational choices, and how they value their status or image.

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Dig Deeper

What values does your ideal client have? Values encompass things like, honesty, courage, leadership, and vision. The Internet has lots of lists to help you define a person’s values.

What does your client want most of all? Wants that are common are, security, fame, adventure, happiness and love. Once again you can do a Google search to come up with a list to help you.

What about your client’s morality or belief system? Things people passionately stand for are charities, causes, political views, religion, and world order. This is a starting target for your core ideal client, so though you may think this isn’t important, it is, because it will help you identify where your clients are.

What is the main problem your client has? This is where your ability to solve that problem comes in. Look deeper into the problem though, why does he have it? How does he communicate that he has it? Does he even know that he has it? When does your client’s problem become so critical they need your solution, yesterday? Understand how this problem fits in your target client’s life and what it looks like when he needs your solution.

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A novelist is determining the detailed characteristics of one character, not a group of identical ones, unless his book is about clones that is. The point is, don’t get so detailed that you will only target five-foot-nine, blue eyed, blonde haired, bombshells with great bodies. You want to keep your characterization general enough to describe a decent sized group of people. If you find your target market is too tight, loosen up your criteria, if it’s too large, tighten up your criteria. This is your target market and the size of your budget will help determine how large of a target you can afford to start getting your story in front of.

Now that you have your target market, how are you going to get your message out to them?

I have some choices for you:

Follow me on social media – I’ll be adding more posts to answer marketing questions.

Google – “Getting in front of a target market”

Let’s chat about your business and see if I can help you get your message out.

If you are in the Vancouver, BC Canada area, let’s have a coffee to brainstorm.


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

Shannon Peel is a Digital Marketing Specialist, writer, and novelist living in the Vancouver area of British Columbia.  Follow her on social media where she writes about marketing, writing, novels, single life, divorce, parenting, and adventures with her Mini Cooper named Tori.

Editing Social Media Copy

You Need a New Pair of Eyes

Your brain does funny things when trying to edit recently written copy, it sees what isn’t there. It knows what you intended to say when you wrote it and reads that intent, instead of what is actually in front of your eyes.

Then after a few days, when you reread what you wrote, the errors start jumping up and down while screaming at you.

Don’t feel bad, even the best writers in history needed editors. As Hemingway said, the first draft is shit.

I have re-written the copy for this post topic numerous times. There are countless ways to say the same thing. That is the beauty of the English language, two people can write about the exact same topic using very different styles, vocabulary, and tones.

Most times the errors that you make are not really errors, you only figured out a better way to write it. Here are some tips to help you write error free social media content.

 

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Use a Content Calendar

This can be as simple as writing all your copy using Microsoft word each day and save the document to post a week later. Each day you can set aside time to edit files before you manually post them.

Another option is to utilize a program like Hootsuite for writing and scheduling your posts online. An online scheduling program enables teams to work together by proofing each other’s work to ensure error free copy is within corporate standards. Individuals can use Hootsuite to automate their social media campaigns and proof them before they automatically post.

Find a proof reader

Better yet, find a proof reader who knows what they are doing.

A different pair of eyes will interpret your tone, intent, and humour differently. In the world of the written word, it is the interpretation of the reader that matters, not the intent of the writer. Just ask anyone how fast intent get misinterpreted by the reader when trying to have a text argument with their spouse / life partner / lover. Makes for good comedy, not good relationships.

Sometimes what sounds funny in your head is lost in translation, especially if your humour tends to the sarcastic side. The last thing you want is for a person to be offended by something you sarcastically wrote.

Ensure the proof reader is someone you trust and don’t get upset if they don’t like something you wrote or they misinterpreted your intent, that is the point of the proof reader to locate those parts that are not clear and might be taken the wrong way by someone in the virtual world.

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Get technological help

Invest in the program Grammarly for proofing your work for grammar and spelling before you post it. Your writing will improve as the program teaches you grammar as it suggests corrections to your work.

Don’t have the cash for Grammarly, an online program called After the Deadline does a similar job but at zero cost, remember you get what you pay for.

The free online program ProWritingAid analyzes your writing and produces reports on areas such as overused words, writing style, sentence length, grammar and repeated words and phrases. This is especially helpful to keep your writing interesting.

Be the Turtle, not the Rabbit

The main tool you need to ensure your posts are error free is patience. Don’t be in such a hurry to post, take the time to get it right because it is better to produce quality content, rather than, a large quantity of it all at once.

Even if you feel you’ve gotten to the race late, it’s how you run the race that matters more than when you started it.

Want more tips on writing social media copy and online content? It’s a click away.  


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

Shannon Peel is a Digital Marketing Specialist, writer, and novelist living in the Vancouver area of British Columbia.  Follow her on social media where she writes about marketing, writing, novels, single life, divorce, parenting, and adventures with her Mini Cooper named Tori.

Excerpts of the Novel 40 Something

Here a list of excerpts from the series 40 Something, a story about 5 women juggling careers, kids, family, and men. It’s a story about life, love, marriage, dating, divorce, technology, and finding oneself.

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There Must be More to Life

In the first chapter of the series, Justine contemplates about life at 40 and wonders if she’s missed something.

Click to read excerpt

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Online Dating Surprises: 

After being married for almost 20 years, Sophie has started dating again. She has her first date with a man she met online and he’s sent her a text to confirm.

Click to read the excerpt

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Date Night with Hubby

Rose is getting ready for a date night with her husband Gus. Will she be ready in time?

Click to read excerpt

Chicklit man hater

Date Changes his Mind

Charlie is excited about going to dinner with a man she met online, but did he change his mind or did she make a mistake?

Click to read excerpt.

Birthday party

It’s Just a Birthday Party

Justine’s son has been invited to an epic birthday party that makes her feel inferior as a mother. Is it really just a birthday party?

click to read excerpt

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Teenagers, Can I Give them Away?

Rose contemplates life with four teenagers in the house and wonders what happened to the wonderful, cute, and obedience children she once had.

Click to read the excerpt

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FWBs Are Fun

Lindsay’s thoughts on friends with benefits arrangements and how they fit into her dating life.

Click to read excerpt

Interested in getting an electronic copy to review on a blog, Goodreads.com, or Amazon leave a comment.

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Alone and Unloved

Recently separated Sophie is scared and alone. Will she find love again or is she, as her abusive ex claims, unlovable?

Click to read excerpt

Ebooks

Paperback

Includes all 4 ebooks copy-of-40something-6


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

In her new Chicklit novel, Shannon Peel is exploring what it means to be a 40 something woman in the 21st Century. Each of the 5 women are personalities that we as woman are made up of in various degrees. We are too complex to be just one. 

For more about this novel and her YA Novel, THIRTEEN, go to www.shannonpeel.com 

For more about this novel and her YA Novel, THIRTEEN, go to www.shannonpeel.com 

Online Dating Surprises

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Finding herself single after almost 20 years of marriage, Sophie is trying her hand at Online Dating. She’s new and unsure about what is appropriate, what isn’t, and shocked by what she encounters. Follow her and her friends as they navigate life in the 21st Century.

Excerpt from 40 Something. A book about life, family, children, marriage, dating, careers, rivals, sisters, friends, technology, abuse, love, and so much more.


Sophie & Dating

It is so weird to be dating again.

I haven’t dated since the early 90s.

It’s so different now.

Before a guy would pick you up in a bar, coffee shop or at school now, my friends tell me that is not how things work. Charlie says that no matter where you go, men don’t come up and talk to women. Go to a bar and no one says boo. Go to a coffee shop and all you get is coffee. Go to the park and nothing. I’m not sure if Charlie is right, but I haven’t met a man in the real world.

It’s all online now.

This online dating thing is a bit addictive. I spend so much time going through profiles to find the ones I like, I hardly get anything done. I read the guy’s message. I think about what to say. I type mine. Then I wait for his response. You’d think I’d get stuff done while I wait, but no, I don’t. I look at other profiles. I have conversations with other men. It’s kinda cool actually. I mean, I get to chat with guys I’d never dare talk to in the real world.

We spend hours messaging back and forth to each other. It feels like a waste of time because we never make any plans to meet, just message back and forth. Once they get to know me and my situation they aren’t too interested in anything real.

A date for dinner tonight.

It’s my first date.

Charlie was kinda pissed when I told her it was for dinner. She said I should only go for coffee because he might be a bore and I’d want to escape. Lindsay thinks she’s just jealous because I got a dinner date and Charlie doesn’t get asked out for dinner or even coffee.

Charlie is amazing. I wish I was more like her. I don’t understand why she’s single and has so many problems with men.

She is much prettier than me. Her face is very pretty. If she’d exercise and lose a bit of weight she’d be a knock out. Her body has a nice hourglass shape with really big boobs. I’ve got nothing for a chest, I could be a boy I’m so flat. She’s so smart. Has a good job and is so confident about everything. I don’t know why she can’t find a guy.

My phone just whistled to let me know I have a text message.

It’s from Al. He’s the one I’m meeting for dinner tonight.

Al: Hey we still on for tonight?

Me: Yes. I can’t wait.

Al: I’m getting off earlier so we can meet at 6.

Me: Sure.

Al: Great. What are you going to wear? Something sexy?

Me: I don’t know yet.

I have a cute dress that I picked up from a thrift store yesterday after we made the date. It cost me $25. I really shouldn’t have bought it, I shouldn’t be wasting money on dresses and stuff.

Al: I like a woman in a dress.

Me: Oh

Al: And high heels

Me: OK

Al: I love the colour red.

Me: Oh

Al: Are you going to want to kiss me?

Me: I don’t know. Maybe.

Al: Maybe? Ah come on hun. You’ll kiss me.

Me: Maybe. I have to go. I have things to do.

Al: Ok babe. I’ll kiss you lots tonight.

Me: See you tonight.

I don’t know him. I don’t know if I’m going to want to kiss him. But I guess. I mean he is buying me dinner. Maybe I will want to kiss him. I don’t know. I wish he didn’t go on like that. It makes me uncomfortable. What’s one kiss?

I guess I’ll find out tonight. I better get going, I do have a lot to do before tonight.

My phone beeps with a text message. It’s from Al and there is a pic.

Oh my god.

I drop my phone.

What the hell?

The phone whistles with a text again. I’m scared to look. It might be another pic. What if my kids had my phone? I cringe. It whistles again. I pick it up and check the messages from Al.

It’s another pic and message. I’m freaking out. I don’t know what to do.

Al: What do you think hun? You like?

Me: Why did you send that?

Al: It’s fun. Send me a couple of you spread open for me.

Me: No. NO. no.

Al: Hun it’s all good. It’s just flirting. We’re adults.

Me: I don’t think so and I’m not sure I want to meet.

Al: I was just testing you. Seeing what kind of gal you are. I like that you won’t.

Me: OK?

Al: You a good girl and I like that. I’ll see you tonight. Can’t wait.

Me: Ok.

I delete the photos of his naked, standing to attention thingy. I can’t believe he sent that to me. I don’t even know the guy and he sends me that. Why the hell did he send me that?

Read More Excerpts

Ebooks

 

Paperback

Includes all 4 ebooks and a bonus episode.

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Who is the story about?

Sophie is one of five central characters.

The Jaded one  – The one who is bitter about men

The Romantic one  – The one who is happily married

The Fun one – The one who parties and loves men

The Tragic one – The one who is hurting and lost

These are the characters I am starting with. I will draw from my life experience and the stories I read, am told, and other share with me to define the characters and their journey through life.

What do you think?  Am I missing someone? Is there a type of relationship or woman that you think I need to explore and add to the group?



Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

In her new Chicklit novel, Shannon Peel is exploring what it means to be a 40 something woman in the 21st Century. Each of the 5 women are personalities that we as woman are made up of in various degrees. We are too complex to be just one. 

For more about this novel and her YA Novel, THIRTEEN, go to www.shannonpeel.com 

Celebrating Rejection

If you are in your 40s, chances are you’ve been rejected. You’ve experienced disappointment. You’ve felt the pain of not getting what you want. People have disappointed you. You’ve struggled with hope. If in 40 years rejection hasn’t beat the crap out of you, you’re not risking anything, you don’t want anything, and you’ve quit.

In my thirties, I drank the positive thinking kool-aid and why wouldn’t I? People wanted to know me. Employers wanted to hire me. My kids wanted to spend time with me and my husband wanted to build a life with me. It was easy to be an optimist who could see the silver lining in everything and be content.

In my forties, the kool-aid proved to be sugar and food colouring. I lost my job, my husband, some friends, and my children grew up.  My life turned upside down and no amount of positive thinking fixed it.

Rejection begets more rejection.

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I’ve lost things in my life, which leads to more rejection because people are wired to associate with those who win and society perceives loss as something to reject. 

When asked questions about myself I need to focus on the gains and hide the losses, to not tell the whole story, which for a storyteller, is nearly impossible.

Attitude Change

Last year, when I got laid off, the HR person tried to give me hope with meaningless positive saying and quotes. However, I couldn’t handle one more meaningless, inauthentic, I really don’t care,”think positive quote.” My insides were being torn apart by fear and anxiety, I didn’t need to hear about doors, windows, and better things. At that moment, I needed understanding, support, and truth.

what-you-seek-is-seeking-you_fotor No one has a crystal ball. We can’t see into the future. Thinking positive, though important, isn’t enough. We must act. If we do not learn from our experiences, our fears are going to come true and placating someone with hope filled “positive thinking” quotes, with no basis in reality, blinds them to the truth. Better to tell a person about their strengths, rather than some airy, meaningless, quote.

Sometimes we fail and the reasons for the rejection can help identify obstacles to success. However, most times, we aren’t the right person for the job, not the right fit for a lover, not the right personality for a friend and that’s life. Deal with it, see it for what it is, and move on.

What are your favourite positive thinking quotes, share them in the comments section. 

Focusing on the positives in your life, remembering the good things about your character, and knowing you are great at what you do, are vital to achieving success after rejection.

Make a list of all the things that make you great. Ask friends to come by and tell you all the things they love about you. When others tell us why we are amazing, we tend to believe it more than when we try to tell ourselves the same messages. You might be surprised by how great you really are when others tell you what they see in you.

Positive messages based in fact and reality are different from delusional positive thinking sayings used to placate a person with hope about an uncertain future.

Life changes, sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst.
What doesn’t change is you.

I Got Rejected, again

I didn’t move on in the interview process and it hurt. It knocked me on my butt and I wanted to quit, to hide myself away, to drown in the doubt, disappointment, hurt, and fear. Instead, I analyzed what happened and talked to a career counsellor about my interview answers to try and determine where I went wrong.

I needed to find out how I failed to sell myself as the best option.

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Knowing I’d messed up, failed, wasn’t perfect, hurt more than the rejection itself because failure due to the mistakes one makes, is worse than being rejected for no reason at all. Yet, knowing an opinion about why I might have failed, is very helpful for the next time.

I need to know why in order to fix it.

Your mind is your greatest tool.

Rejection Tools


The pain of rejection can destroy us
. We must face it, deal with it, and learn from it. The following links have tools to help deal with rejection. imgres

Seek Rejection

Everyone gets rejected. Everyone feels disappointment. A successful person embraces rejection and keeps seeking it out.

The only way to go forward in life is to put myself out there. To be open to the pain of rejection and to embrace it as a sign that I’m living. I may never find success, but quitting is not an option.

I keep learning from my failures. 

Chicklit man hater

Charlie’s date changes his mind


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

In her new Chicklit novel, Shannon Peel is exploring what it means to be a 40 something woman in the 21st Century. Each of the 5 women are personalities that we as woman are made up of in various degrees. We are too complex to be just one. 

For more about this novel and her YA Novel, THIRTEEN, go to www.shannonpeel.com 

Disconnected in a Connected World

I have been thinking a lot about connections recently.

In todays world, we have the tools to connect on a scale that was considered science fiction when I was born, forty some odd years ago. Generation X started their journey in the dark ages and grew with a world that became more digitally connected and more isolating.

I remember watching a news broadcast, years ago, about Faith Popcorn and her theory on how our culture was going to disconnect through cocooning. It sounded like an odd idea at the time. How could we, as individuals, isolate ourselves from each other?

Well We Did

Video arcades, a teen social hang out, no longer exist because we bought our own game consoles.

Cinemas used to be a weekly treat, but they made way for video stores and ticket costs sky rocketed. Gone are the dinner and movie dates, they’ve been replaced with Netflix and chill.

Drive through options have extended our isolation into our cars where we pick up food, coffee, and groceries. Amazon and Online Shopping  keeps us out of stores and malls so we can shop from the comfort of our homes without ever chatting with a salesperson.

We have slowly been removing social hang outs for teenagers and they in turn, have no where to go. Most helicopter parents won’t let their kids ‘hang out’ anywhere because they might get into trouble. So, our children are learning how to stay home.

We Are Home Alone

1795684_666542126736269_214740821_n-2My bank account dictates whether or not I can hang out in coffee shops. With the skyrocketing cost of living in the city, my time in these establishments has started to dwindle. Even when I am in these places for long periods of time, I hardly meet anyone new. Everyone, including myself, is behind a laptop or looking at their phone, the two items that tell those around you – I’m busy, buzz off.

Not to mention I live in a city known for it’s isolation.  Dating in this city is near impossible, let alone finding people willing to invest in a friendship, especially with someone who is overweight. This city isn’t a fan of fat people. 

Work has even become more isolating as many people, like me, work from home. To save money, companies are opting for more remote arrangements for their employees. Making it even harder for people to connect with others and network.

Connected Online

Social media and online tools have grown over the last ten years to improve personal connections, to keep in touch, share our experiences with those we know and love. Are we really connecting though? 

I spend a lot of time online. Taking online courses, writing, posting on social media, tweaking my website, watching Netflix, dating and applying for work. I am chatting with people, virtually meeting new people, learning about people and telling people about myself.

Does this mean I’m connected though? 

What are your thoughts? Which generation do you think was more connected to friends and family in their forties, us or our parents? 

What to do

what-you-seek-is-seeking-you_fotorGetting out into the real world and saying “hello” to people on transit and coffee shops, is a start, which risks the one thing people fear – Rejection.

Volunteer for a charity or cause.

Text friends to see if they want to do something.

Go out into the world for a mini staycation adventure with your kids to build stronger connections with them. The bonus is getting acquainted with the city you live in.

Use Online Tools

Attend events advertised on Facebook.

Go to free seminars promoted on LinkedIn.

Attend meetups to get out of the house, and more importantly, out of your comfort zone. Learn something new while meeting new people.

Use dating sites to make real world meet and greets in a public place. This is really hard because most men seem to think a date is meeting them in private, but that’s for a different post.

Which online connecting tools do you use to help you get out and make connections in the real world? 

Make it a goal to smile more, get out more, and live more. Maybe you meet someone new, maybe you don’t. At least you lived.

 


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?

For more information check out her website. www.shannonpeel.com