Tag Archives: Authenticity

Coming Out of the Closet

Coming Out
Photo cred: DeathToStockPhotos

“I am a writer.”  It took me decades to admit this publicly.  For years I had written in secret, filling up stark white notebooks and leather-bound journals with my words, short stories, and poems.  I had received awards for my writing as a child and was placed in gifted writing programs in high school.  When it came time to choose a major for college, I went with my other passion: human behavior and science.  I set upon a course that would lead to a career in psychiatry; a path where story and humanity intersect.  What happened along the road that led me to a business career is a story for another day…  The important point is that I re-discovered my voice as an adult and took up my pen once again.

Words poured out of me like a geyser and once again I began to fill up .doc files on my pc, having traded my pen for a keyboard. I entered into an enriching relationship with a local feminist writing academy and it was here that I could stand up and say, “My name is Michelle and I’m a writer.”  I began the process of setting aside my love for the short story format and embarked upon writing a novel. Halfway through the story, I became enamored with an emerging industry that was changing the world and turned my focus into building a social media marketing consulting firm.  I believe that social media is the quintessential conduit for bringing story, human behavior, and science (analytics) together.  I had discovered my passion, but in the process of helping companies share their brand voice, their stories, I lost the time to work on my own.

I truly believe in Karma and the universe putting people and experiences in our paths for a reason. I recently had lunch with an amazing writer whom I first met via Twitter. We shared our stories and she encouraged me to find the time to write. Just a few days later I received an email from a writer that I do not know (not sure how I got on her mailing list) sharing a heart-felt and inspirational post. At the bottom of the post was a message about the difficulty in finding the time to write with a link to a book she had just written on the subject.  Her words chilled me and inspired the post you are now reading.  Here’s what she said,

It’s not an easy thing to take time to write. The world says that writing doesn’t matter much. Our families and jobs need us. We have to make money. The ugly voices in our head tell us we’re not good enough. There are a ton of reasons why we choose to not write. . . and yet, if we are writers, we must find a way to the page. Over and over again.”

So once again I am coming out of the closet and claiming my title. Thank you universe for sending me people and  stories that inspire and move me to action.


Got Passion?

Are you in touch with what drives you?

What keeps you up at night? I’m not speaking of the stressors that prevent us from drifting off into sleep because our minds are full of worrisome stuff, rather what are the fantastic ideas that are percolating in your brain bursting to get out?  Those thoughts that come to you in the calm of your day represent the tiny, yet powerful voice you should be listening to.  Within the myriad of possibilities swirling in your head resides your place of passion. Take the time to jot some of those ideas down and put them into motion.

You won’t regret it!

Facebook Friend Pages Privacy Fail

Facebook Friend Pages
Facebook Friends Reveal ALL

Woke up this morning remembering a post that flew by my radar screen yesterday.  You know the ones, where something catches your eye, but you don’t have time to read it. You keep the tab open on your browser hoping to get back to it and then Mozilla crashes and you can’t do a restore and it becomes lost in the ever-flowing river of new content across your screen.

In this case I was hoping it was just a bad dream from the night before.  Googled the keywords ‘Facebook-New-Friends’ and discovered this lovely post from the Facebook Blog written yesterday (10/28/10):  Telling the Story of Friendships No dream but a potential real-life privacy nightmare!

Writer Wayne Kao states:

A few months ago, I began a small project to build a page devoted to friendships. A few interns and I started a prototype during an all-night hackathon, and then one of our designers jumped in. For all of us, it’s been a labor of love.

Basically Facebook has created a way for all of the interactions between ‘Friends’  including comments, pics, videos, events you have RSVP’d for, etc. to be depicted in one place.  Very similar to the Wall-to-Wall conversations that you could see between friends that you were also attached to.

So I see this as major voyeurism with huge stalker opps and a good reason why you should choose your Friends wisely.  I realize that we are all responsible for the content that we put out and that a basic assumption should be that absolutely nothing is private on the net, but there are still those moments when you are alone with your phone or pc screen and you forget that there is a whole big world out there watching you….

(And don’t even get me started on the teens & young adults who post like they’re in the lavatory….)

So take a look, check out the new Friends Pages and let me know what you think.

Facebook Groups: It’s the End of the World…

It’s the end of the world as we know it…….

Perhaps I’m being a bit melodramatic here, but I certainly feel a cosmic shift due to Mark Zuckerberg’s launch of the new Groups tool on Facebook. Membership in various Groups (all professional at this point) is thrusting my personal Facebook profile out on the world for all to see.

Because “Friends” can automatically add me to a group, due to their personal connection with my private profile, I am now visible to others in the group. Yes, I can remove myself from the group and receive this pop-up nasty-gram from Facebook that makes me think twice about hitting the ‘remove’ button. But these groups are extensions of organizations that I am a part of in RL and virtually on LinkedIn.


Leaving a Facebook Group


Why so paranoid? While I have many friends who claim they maintain a combo persona on social media sites (Personal/Professional) and spout rhetoric that this practice makes them completely authentic and transparent. I disagree.  These self-avowed combo profiles read more like professional profiles to me. Their personal comments, status updates and choice of links all scream professional and industry-related content.

My personal profile talks about real things in my life:

  • My family
  • My church/faith
  • My friends from 4th grade
  • High school antics
  • Correspondence with relatives that I never knew
  • Pictures of my children’s awards/first day of school/braces removal
  • My poetry
  • My short stories which can be shocking
  • My fail moments
  • and yes, some industry posts & links

I wouldn’t wish my personal profile on my worst enemy!  My friends, family, and close colleagues put up with me, or at least dial me down in the Facebook algorithm. Some of the stuff I say is what you would say to your best friend at a back-yard BBQ and NOT what you would necessarily say to the CEO of P&G at a business dinner. There is a DIFFERENCE!

And that, my dear Blog friends, is the critical disparity to which I will not acquiesce.  I want you to know about what’s going on in the realm of social media; how it’s revolutionizing the way we communicate and interact with each other and the repercussions that we will reap in the future.  I don’t think you give a flip that I’m a former PTO School Board Secretary and Girl Scout Leader and that my daughter scored a perfect 99th% on her high-school entrance exam.

So the cultural shift for me is that my Facebook personal profile which has been hidden from Search Engines and within the Facebook platform search (except for Facebook Friends) and even has the ‘Send Me A Message’ option disabled, is now being found by many ‘Friends of Friends’ within these Facebook Groups. And I now have the unenviable task of explaining why I won’t accept a Friend request.

If you want to connect with me on Facebook, I invite you to find me here on my FB Business Page or join me on LinkedIn; otherwise marry one of my many cousins and get an instant entrée into the personal side of my life.

It’s just business as usual…..

Disabling Facebook Places to Maintain Location Privacy

Privacy is still a huge issue making the internet rounds today, especially in reference to location based services. Foursquare, now nearing three million members, has added some privacy measures of its own in advance of their partnership with Facebook Places.  Both foursquare and Gowalla launched their services a little over a year ago at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in 2009.

Fast Company does a great job of discussing the differences between these two geo-location-based start-ups in this post. Location-based services were the main topic of discussion at the March 2010 Cincinnati AMA Interactive Marketing SIG meeting. You can read Rob Bunting’s post here.

Facebook users are already a little suspect of the social networking site’s seeming disregard for privacy measures. Facebook rolled out the location based service, Facebook Places last week with little warning on the site. You may have seen some unusual posts in your news stream in the last couple of days indicating the location from which people are posting their status updates. I saw one from a newly found cousin of mine that stated that he had  checked in from home. Clicking on the link took me to a map of his location. The red balloon seemed to be pointing to a cemetery. Not sure if he lives near one or was just being funny, but it certainly got my curiosity going. It made me wonder whether he knew that his location was being updated into the Facebook newsfeed.

Facebook Places Privacy Settings
Image via C3: Creating Connections Consulting, LLC

Learning how to set the controls for location-based posts might be a good thing to do as Lifehacker points out in this post, He mentions that your friends can check you into places without your knowledge.  This could make for an embarrassing moment, especially if your friend list includes colleagues or even your boss. Your location can also be shared with your friends’ applications which is another way to lose control over your privacy.

The Facebook Blog states:

When your friends check you in, it is as if you have checked in at that place yourself. You also will appear checked-in to your friends.

Take these steps if you would like to disable the location ability on your Facebook account:

Facebook Places Privacy Settings
Image via C3: Creating Connections Consulting, LLC

Step 1:  Go to Privacy Settings under the Account Tab in the upper right hand corner of your screen

Step 2:  Click on Customize Settings on the bottom

Under Things I Share:

Step 3:  Go to ‘Places I check in to’- and choose the setting most appropriate for you: Everyone, Friends, Friends of Friends, Custom (meaning you can block people) which also includes an Only Me option

Step 4: Go to “Include me in ‘people here now’ after I check in”. This is visible to friends and people checked in nearby. Leave the Enable box unchecked if you don’t want to be included.

Facebook Places Privacy Settings
Image via C3: Creating Connections Consulting, LLC

Under Things Others Share:

Step 5:  Go to “Friends can check me into places”. You need to actually indicate Disable or Enable with a check otherwise the default option will occur.

That’s it! Now you can update from any place and your whereabouts will be unknown.

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin~  2010~All Rights Reserved

Cross-posted at Cincinnati Social Media Examiner

A Road Less Traveled

Spoiler Alert:

The following post has absolutely nothing to do with social media, so if that’s why you are here, then flip to another post. Otherwise sit back, grab a tissue and plug into the longest post I’ve ever written for a blog.  In being fully intentional and in the moment, the subject of a previous post, I decided to be fully authentic and transparent and share a personal side of my life and my deepest thoughts here on these pages…..

Feeling incredibly blessed in my life and truly glad that I took the path less chosen and walked away from an incredible career with Procter & Gamble. Friends and family thought I was crazy as I had spent the most amazing 15 years that took me all over the country on countless adventures for the company, but I felt a bigger pull. Here is the purposeful poem I included in my letter of farewell to all my colleagues within the company:

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

The road has come to a new fork demanding contemplation.  What is rending my heart in a positive, yet bitter-sweet way today is that I stand on the cusp of a change. Tomorrow my baby graduates from eight years of Parochial school.“So what!” you say, “Kids grow up- get over it!” My journey has been an intentional and focused one.  I never grew up with marriage and family on my agenda- never got the parental message that I should focus on meeting the right guy. I always got the message that I could change the world and do and be whoever I wanted to be.

So I did just that and years later when I did have my own children, I wanted to bestow upon them every aspect of nurturing that would help them grow to discover their strengths and talents. Being somewhat of a Type A Over-achiever personality…ok, not somewhat- Class A overachiever, I was used to running sales territories, sales campaigns and sales personnel as well as my own life quite successfully.  When I decided to walk away from my career and get rid of all the “extra” people helping me run my life:  the nanny, the gardener, the housekeepers, I turned my leadership and organizational efforts to the business of building my own personal brands: my two kids. I focused on creating experiences for my children that included the best educational opportunities from Kindermusik to Little Gymnastics to pre-school art classes and pre-school experiences to help them learn to socialize with others.

All for you....

I read to them before they were born and instilled a deep love for literature and reading.  We had trips to the zoo; to the Children’s theater and to the Art Museum.  We played in the sand at the local parks and in the Kids Zone at the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Children’s Museum.  We even traveled to nearby cities like Indianapolis, Chicago, Columbus and Cleveland to experience first-hand the wonders of their local children’s museums and zoos.  Speaking of zoos, I can’t tell you how many times I have ridden the red train around the perimeter in the Cincy zoo and stood in awe of the giant polar bears swimming through the windowed pools.

As I write this I realize, that what I did, was give the gift of TIME to my children.  I left an incredible career with P&G when they were 3 and 5 years old.  I walked away from working in a leading area of the company: New Business Development.  I wanted to be in control of my children’s lives, not the nanny, not the Kindergarten, not the babysitter.  I walked away and I will never, ever forget it.

Years later, I turned down opportunities to work for fabulous global CPG companies to run my own business which allowed me to call the shots and maintain flexibility.  I wanted to be there when they came home. I wanted to hear their news.  I wanted to help them sort out issues- to be all that they could be.  This sacrifice of self, and for those that don’t know me really well- the statement “sacrifice of self” is truly a verbatim statement for someone who is known to be some-what self-centered and slightly narcissistic like me.  This giving up of self to focus on other has created two of the most incredible kids on the planet who have achieved great things in their short lives.  Way too much to share in writing (we’d be here all night), so I’m just going to bullet point some of the highlights:

My son

  • Straight As through Jr. High and 2 years of High School at a very challenging private school
  • Eagle Scout
  • Scholarship for Community Service Work for 8th grade
  • Aubrey Rose Foundation Scholarship for Community Service for high school
  • Earned the Magis Award for Academic Excellence in the study of World Cultures
  • Made Mock Trial Team for 2 years
  • Finalist for 2010 College of Mount St. Joseph Writing Contest for Sophomores

My daughter:

  • Straight As her entire academic career
  • Massa Scholarship for 8th grade (stewardship)
  • Scored 99th percentile on the Private High School Entrance Exam and won scholarships to all 3 schools she applied to
  • Received the Fr. Schroeder Award from the IHM Boosters for being the top Academic Student Athlete -2010
  • Named 2010 Anderson Student of the Year by the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Played seven different sports, 2 which were select/club organizations over the last 8 years- usually doing 2 sports/season (couple of times 3- yeah, I know CRAZY!)
  • Percussionist in School Band
  • Thespian/performer in just about every school play and Talent Show

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

I will be sad tomorrow when I witness the final school mass; the final time she will sit with her little first grade buddy; and I will remember her first grade days that seem like they were yesterday. Mass will be followed by the little ones singing a special song to their big buddies and we parents filing out of the church to watch a video packed with photos and memories of our kids over the last eight years.

So yes, tomorrow is a huge day for me.  A turning point in the road, but more than that, it is one hell of an affirmation that I did the right thing 10 years ago when I put myself and my career aspirations aside.  Because you know what??  I have been paid back in spades.  The close relationship I have with my kids and the ability to talk about anything and everything with them in a mature and intelligent way is worth its weight in a forty ton truck of Tide.  Pass the Puffs, I’ll need them tomorrow!

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference…..

Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin 2010 All Rights Reserved