By Tabitha Makes
Read Tabitha Makes’ new short story published on Elephant words. Get inspired . Leave a comment, tell her what you think, and make a your own story.
About Elephant Words
Elephant Words (est 2007) is all about seeing how different writers respond to the same image. Every Sunday a new image is posted, and during the week new short writing is posted inspired by that image. The writing can be any format or genre, limited only by imagination!(And a word limit)
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It begins with anticipation. There is a subtle feeling that builds in your stomach but cannot be specifically defined. There is an anxiety, a need, a longing for freedom, to be carried shoreward. Yet you are still on land. You step into the water and paddle against nature but not to defy her, to join her. You continue until you find yourself in a vast expanse of ocean on all sides.
Then you wait, focused on the horizon but aware of your surroundings. You are unplugged, prepared for all of your thoughts, and completely hinged. Everything on shore, all of your surroundings, melt away.
The anticipation turns to hope, or for some, arrogance. You want to stand or know you will. You want every wave to be the ultimate ride. There’s a need to capture the ecstatic beauty you feel each time but can barely define. Every wave is different and, therefore, every ride is different. And then you see the ripple under the horizon. You watch patiently as the wave swells towards you, knowing when to turn toward land. The anticipation, hope, arrogance build and you paddle. You find the strength to match the waters speed and keep pace with the wave. You have to catch it as it passes without being left behind.
There is a moment when your anxiety and desire turn to an insanity. It builds and crests with the wave. You catch the wave and your mind lets go. You work harder than you ever have, fully engaged, to hold onto that ride. Falling is the enemy. But you aren’t thinking about the mechanics. Your mind is free, flooded with endorphins. You’ve been captured by the euphoric disbelief of what you have done. Standing on the water, you glide forward.
And finally the arrogance. You feel that you have conquered but also convened with nature. But you have not. Nature is too vast to know you were there. She has continued on without you. You stole a ride in but she won’t carry you back out.
There is a greed that follows. You have to own that feeling again. You turn back and continue until you have nothing left to give. In your mind, there’s an agreement. You will give everything in exchange for that ride, even if the ocean laughs at your demands. A subtle reminder of that freedom will never leave you. It remains in the corners of your mind where you can’t reach it. It will call to you. You want to go again and you will.
I think we can all agree kids are pretty slow.
They can’t draw worth a darn, they walk like drunks, and they definitely can’t talk right. No, I do not want “basgetti” for dinner.
They fail at everything they try. They fall down. They hit their heads.
They are ridiculous, persistent to a fault, exhausting, outlandish, wild, and sometimes downright annoying.
But that’s only because nobody’s told them to grow up yet.
“I think somewhere along the way, we just forget how to suck.”
This gem came out of a conversation I had on Anchor the other day.
“We forget how to suck.”
Yeah, I’ll say.
Our students are shuffled into “honors” and “remedial” classes on the basis of one test in middle school.
Our career tracks are dumbed down to “do this and then do it better and then do it until you die.”
Our hobbies are “frivolous.”
What’s the point of sucking when you could WIN! Winning, after all, is what life is all about.
Be an idiot
When Netflix tried to sell to Blockbuster they were laughed out of the room
“The Internet is a fad” people said, probably chortling through fat cigars. “You must be joking!”
I’m probably the worst with directions. I leave for a place and then pull up the map on the fly. If it’s wrong, I have no chance. If I think I know where something is, that’s a very good indicator I’m within 100 miles of an address.
Not quite as accurate as Siri, but hey.
Do you know what else I used to be terrible at? Writing. The pitch to my college newspaper had approximately one hundred million red marks through it. They let me in anyway because I had “potential.”
(As I later learned, it was actually because they had no staff. It’s fine, though. I’m not too proud to take pity).
I was terrible for a long time. Longer than I should have been. Recently some people have told me I’m not terrible, but now my definition of “terrible” changed so who knows if I will ever get over it?
Such is art.
Be a dreamer
It’s odd, because somehow artists have gotten caught up in this entrepreneurial fad. Like we can hustle our way to a creative breakthrough.
But dreaming is not productive. It’s not supposed to be. But we try and pigeonhole it anyway. We have brainstorming exercises or idea sessions or creative collaboration events or whatever activity fits the buzzword of the moment.
Do you know what’s funny about people who are dreaming, though?
They are asleep.
Unaware of the world and unaware of a problem. Indifferent to business and hustle and work. Incapable of worry or stress.
You can’t dream on purpose.
That’s the whole point.
Be an explorer
And here’s the thing about exploration — it’s hard.
People are trying to go to Mars now. That’s hard.
In the 1800’s people went through grizzly bears and mountains and dissentary and eating squirrels to make their way out West. That was hard. (Trust me, I played and beat the Oregon Trail. I get it.)
Frontiers, whether literal or figurative, are difficult to reach.
But almost always worth it.
Be a self starter
Nobody will take your art deeper than you can. Not a guru. Not a role model. Not a mentor. Not your boss. Not your spouse.
And that’s hard too. Because some days you won’t feel like it. Some days you won’t feel like putting in your 750 words or mocking up a new design orjournaling.
Also, it’s lonely. People start to identify you by your work instead of your being.
And you go deeper still.
“I don’t get it,” they’ll say.
And you go deeper still.
“You don’t have to do this all the time, you know,” they’ll say.
Nobody will make you do it. But you’ll go deeper still.
Be an outcast
Creative people generally don’t fit in. That’s okay though. At least we can all not fit in together.
Here’s an interesting thing about the Internet — you are no longer condemned by geography.
What are you going to do with that freedom?
Be a kid
“I want to grow up”
We were at summer camp, where Max shot an arrow for the first time, climbed a rope up a rock wall, and made a friendship bracelet for his sister.
In the same day.
He did all of these things terribly. By the end of the summer, of course, he was better at them. 3 years later, he was an expert, and didn’t remember ever meeting me.
But I remembered him:
“I want to grow up”
When he told me this, I laughed.
“Trust me. You don’t.”
Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You!
Ask, “What You Can Do For Your Country?”
repost from hootsuite.com by Laurn Taylor
With 42% of marketers planning to increase their use of Instagram this year, visual content is more important than ever to a brand’s marketing strategy. But for many brands, creating a captivating Instagram profile and generating high quality visual content can be challenging. To help marketers get the most impact out of their Instagram profiles, here are the top three marketing trends that any business can learn from, whether you have 300,000 followers or 300.
Many brands are leveraging branded hashtags to engage their community on social media, but these aren’t your standard #CompanyName hashtags. The hashtags are aligned with the overall brand instead of the product, and Instagrammers are encouraged to tag their photos whether the product is featured or not — for example, lululemon athletica suggested that users tag their workout photos with #thesweatlife, which has generated over 68,000 posts from their community.
By creating a branded hashtag, marketers create a win-win situation for both themselves and their community. Brands receive the benefit of increased exposure to new potential customers through an Instagrammers photo, and Instagrammers love to be featured on a brand’s profile for both the prestige and the increase in followers. When one of my Instagram photos got “regrammed” by Stumptown Coffee, we gained nearly 500 followers in one day! That’s a lot of motivation for the Instagram community to actively share your brand.
Herschel Supply Co has over 300,000 followers on Instagram and tags their product posts with #HerschelSupply, but they have generated more posts with their #WellTravelled campaign, which encourages their followers to share photos of their journeys using the hashtag.
Poler Stuff has not one, but three branded hashtags (#campvibes, #adventuremobile, and #beneaththebrim) that they place in their Instagram bio. #Adventuremobile isn’t directly related to any of Poler’s products, but it does speak to their brand persona of active, outdoor living, with over 40,000 posts shared by Instagrammers of their car in the wild.
You don’t have to be a large brand in order to have success with your own hashtag: 33 Acres Brewing Co, a small craft brewery, has about 4,000 followers and recently started their own tag #b33r and encourages in-store customers to tag photos with this hashtag over other ones. Without an “official” hashtag, it becomes difficult to monitor your brand mentions – for example, customers could be tagging #33acres, #33, #33acresbrewing, or #33acresbeer. But by creating and promoting their own distinctive branded hashtag, marketers can easily increase their exposure across Instagram while providing their brand with user-generated content for their Instagram profile.
Another way to market your brand on Instagram without posting product shots is to share lifestyle content that represents your brand’s persona. Marketers should monitor their followers to see what kind of content they are sharing, and then replicate that on their own feeds. Intersperse photos of your product with lifestyle photos that your followers can relate to, whether it’s oceans and palm trees or mountains and landscapes.
The Native Shoes brand likes to #keepitlite, so their feed features a ton of bright colours and different art that would be interesting to their community.
It’s not difficult to showcase lifestyle content that inspires your readers, and more and more brands are beginning to use Pinterest’s easy search to curate photos for their Instagram feed. For a small business like the online retailerAnewall Decor, they can supplement their own content with their favourite finds from Instagram and Pinterest (with credit, of course!)
With so many Instagrammers looking to increase their following, it’s easy for even small businesses to gain exposure to a wide audience by building relationships with influencers in their community. While many large brands are paying big bucks to partner with users that have thousands of followers, both small and medium businesses are still able to increase exposure by exchanging product for a giveaway, a promotion, or a small fee.
But be warned: simply sending free product doesn’t mean the Instagrammer will love it, and just because a user has a lot of followers doesn’t mean they’ll create captivating content for you. Take the time to ensure influencers are the right fit for your brand and that they’re excited to partner with you!
Make no mistake. Networking is a great way to meet a lot of business professionals at one time. Networking events allow people to put a face and personality to your business. But like everything, there is a right way and a wrong way.
If your networking persona is amiss you risk wasting your time and worse, wasting someone else’s. Follow these 10 guidelines to maximize and polish your networking efforts.
1. Be prepared. Bring a lot of business cards and stash them where you can easily retrieve them.
2. Arrive 5 minutes early. It will give you some time to relax.
3. Have a goal. Do you want two, three or five new contacts? Remember, a contact isnot simply introducing yourself, talking about your business, and then forking over a businesscard.
4. Rehearse your elevator speech beforehand.
5. Make the effort to go over to and say hello to new people, they are nervous as well.
6. Listen to people and their conversations and encourage synergy.
7. Take notes on the back of their business card, what you talked about, interesting facts about the person and so on.
8. Collect cards. Keep cards from those you think can assist your business and those you can help (pass along a referral, a book, etc.) People remember good deeds.
9. Have a plan with the contacts you made. At a minimum follow-up with an email or phone call and remind them how much you enjoyed speaking with them. Or, offer to meet for coffee, take it to the next level to learn more about them.
10. Have fun with it, be happy and ask great questions.
How about you? What’s your favorite thing about networking events? What about your least?
Your email database is the most important and valuable marketing asset you will ever own. Email is the most personal and direct way of reaching customers. It is opened every day and can help you reach your marketing objectives quickly.
Social media can be a great supplementary tool— to engage prospects and customers, build relationships with them and also generate leads. A lead is someone who visits your website and/or gives you their email. The more leads you have, the more sales you can possibly make. It is a simple and direct relationship.
Social media should be used as a means to extend your brand from the website. Your website should be the central hub of all your online marketing.
Here’s how you can use social media to grow your email list:
When doing contests on social media, think about how you can increase the number of emails you receive and not the number of people who “like” or “follow” you. This is because likes and follows are not directly owned by you, unlike your email database.
People who are more likely to be interested in your products/services will enter their email addresses. This enables spot-on targeting via email for your company, unlike receiving a like or a follow from people who might not be as relevant/interested.
2. Facebook tabs and apps
There are a number of tabs and apps available that allow you to capture emails right on your Facebook page. MailChimp is one such service.
Since other social media outlets do not have similar facilities, you can always link back to your landing page.
3. Twitter lead-generation cards
Users can easily and securely share their email address with a business without leaving Twitter or having to fill out a cumbersome form.
When someone expands your tweet, they see a description of the offer and a call to action. Their name, @username and email address are already prefilled within the card. The user simply clicks a button to send this information directly (and securely) to you.
To learn more about lead-generation cards on Twitter, click here.
In return for email addresses, you can give out subscriptions, a discount to your e-commerce store, an e-book or whitepaper, etc.
Giving an incentive of specialized/exclusive content via social media can be a great way to not only grow your email database, but also increase your visibility and show off your expertise to impress your customers/prospects.
By uploading your email list to Facebook and Twitter ad tools, you can exclude the email addresses of people already on your list — and narrow in on people who are fans of your page/followers of your account but not signed up for emails.
You can also use Facebook’s new look-alike audiences to go after people who are similar to the folks already on your list.
How do you grow your email list via social media? Let us know in the comments below.
Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King!
Thank you for sharing your dreams and having the courage to Imagining a better future.
Robert E. Schmolze
TELL YOUR DREAMS
client Authentic Babies
Social Media Strategy
MARCH 2010 – PRESENT
Marketing Director, United Imaging Woodland Hills, CA
- Create graphics and campaigns for marketing and sales needs
- Create and implement social media guidelines, newsletters, blog, and press releases
- Update and manage United Imaging and United Interiors website
- Track analytics for marketing and sales efforts for 20+ sales staff
- Budget, create, and purchase promotional material
- PowerPoint presentations, web and print proposals for clients, and internal use
- Coordinating production and distribution of sales materials
- Communicate with outside vendors for print, digital, and other needs
Mac / PC
Social Networking Strategy
CS5 HTML / CSS
Four color printing
Minneapolis College of Art and Design — BFA
Los Angeles City College
Los Angeles, CA
AA2BA Child Development Program
- Social Media
- Logo Design
Corina Haywood, Modern Milliners
Los Angeles, CA
- Business card
- Print catalog
Los Angeles, CA.
- Chatham University Press
- LA Organize
- The Baron Events
Redwood City, CA.
Shoes for skaters,
- Event planning
- Email Campaign
- Print advertising
Los Angeles, CA.
Skin care products
- Corporate identity
- Trade booth
Pit Bull Energy Drink
Los Angeles, CA.
- Promotional calendar for Pit Bull Auto Racing
Community Health Council
Los Angeles, CA.
Healthy Families Campaign
- Direct marketing mailers
- Pay check stuffers
- Corporate identity
- Power point presentation