Tag Archives: social media

The Other Side of the Couch – Tomorrow


I have always enjoyed reading the morning paper.  Having breakfast, sipping coffee and catching up on the news has been a pleasant ritual – well, sometimes not so pleasant, but at least a ritual – for many years.  I especially enjoy the “Funnies”, as my dad used to call them. I can remember in younger years being intrigued by the glamourous “Brenda Starr”, confused by “Little Orphan Annie” and her sidekicks, Punjab and the Asp, and entertained by the antics of Beetle Bailey and Lil Abner and Pogo.

I still enjoy the Funnies, having followed Gary Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” with relish since the 60s.  New entries into the art of creating an “aha” moment are “Breaking Cat News” by Georgia Dunn (commentary on the foibles of humans from the cat viewpoint), “Prickly City” by Scott Stantis, perhaps created as an antidote to Doonesbury, and the amazing “Pearls Before Swine” by Stephen Pastis.

Pastis is the master of the pun, and one often comes away from his morning minute with the groans that good puns elicit.  However, he also has remarkable insight into the sweep of history compacted into four panels – or six on Sundays.  It seems strange to write about all of these wonderful writers without including examples of their work, but because all is licensed and costly, none of it can appear in this writer’s blog.  Instead, I will summarize the panels that appeared in Sunday’s edition.

Panel 1 – 1987 – FCC – Do we really need a fairness doctrine to ensure the media will be fair?  We don’t.

Panel 2 – 2000 – School Board – Do we really need civics classes for these kids?  We don’t.

Panel 3 – 2005 – Senate Committee – Do we really need to be regulating social media companies like publishers?  We don’t.

Panel 4 – 2010 – Daily Tribune – Do we really need this many reporters covering government?  We don’t.

Panel 5 – 2015 – County Supervisors – Do we really need mental health funding?  We don’t.

Panel 6 – 2022 – Pig: Do we really need this much barbed wire around government buildings?  Goat:  We do.  Rat ( throwing a rock at said building) And that’s for faking the moon landing.

Here is the link to this amazing cartoon:


It is well worth seeing!

Mr. Pastis takes us step by step down the path that has landed us in this unimaginable place.  It’s just like the frogs that, when placed in a pot of cold water that is slowly heated, will not realize that they should jump out and as a result die.  We are the frogs, and the water has been heating for a long time. We no longer have agreement on basic truth; we no longer trust our institutions.  And our country is awash with guns.

The future is uncertain.  I do believe that the “the arc of the moral universe is long but bends toward justice” – MLK.  I wish that arc were not quite so long, and that I were more sure of where we are in that path.  Sometimes I hear the last gasps of a frantic and frightened group of people who can’t see beyond their fear of differences.   Sometimes I see a retreat into an imagined past that never existed but is somehow believed to be better than it ever was.  Sometimes it seems like the end of all that we have known.  At other times, more hopeful times, I look at the young people who are fighting for the planet, for the acceptance of different kinds of life styles and of different kinds of people, and I do see a possible future that is different from the one we are living.

So I will sing with Orphan Annie and Alicia Morton –

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
There’ll be sun

“The sun’ll come out tomorrow
So you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow
Come what may

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow
You’re always a day away”

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC/MHSP
Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 35+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts. Contact me at http://www.susanhammondswhite.com.
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Time for a Change

Recently the English Premier League announced they are considering a ban on all social media platforms effective May 1st.   The ban is being considered to protect footballers (soccer players) from racial and homophobic abuse.  Most footballers are teenagers or 20-something’s.  

Racial and homophobic abuse has always been a feature of sports from a segment of “fans”.  It’s on a par with the jerks who post revenge porn against their exes when they realize those women won’t put up with the selfish, spoiled brat behavior that mommy indulged all those years ago.  

When racial or homophobic abuse happens on the field, the footballing authorities can investigate, identify and ban the moronic player spewing hate.  When “fans” scream filth, the home team can investigate, identify and ban the jerks for life from attending games.

Social media abusers can hide behind avatars and fake identities. In some cases, abusers are based outside the country of their victims.  In other situations, the abusers deliberately, with malice aforethought, route their internet connections through countries that can’t or won’t prosecute the abusers.  

It’s time to stop social media abusers from using their cyberspace anonymity to avoid the consequences of their hateful, malicious actions.   The first step is to require all social media companies to authenticate the identity of each account holder just as banks are required to “know your customer” by authenticating the identity of new bank account holders.  Social media companies should also continue shutting down the fake accounts they find littering their platforms.

The second step is to enact laws that require social media companies to provide the identity of the abuser to the victim.  This process should be quick and easy and low cost. There are limited (at best) privacy concerns for the abuser because no one has a First Amendment right to spew hate and the threat of violence.  Foot-dragging on ID’ing the abuser is tantamount to enabling and condoning the abuse.

The victim can then decide whether to file a criminal complaint or to sue for civil rights violations or defamation.  That brings us to the third step. The civil and criminal penalties for engaging in hate speech and revenge porn on social media should be much more severe.  At a minimum, abusers should be banned from social media platforms until they can demonstrate they deserve the privilege of having an account.

Abusers who spew hate on social media are usually feeling insecure and afraid of social and cultural changes that they view as a loss of power and control.  Their fears make them lash out to try to regain control.  They’re counting on us being so scared of drawing their abuse or violating their free speech rights, or of secretly sympathizing with their racist, sexist, xenophobic comments, or so uncaring that we do nothing.  It’s time for that to change. 

About Norma Shirk

My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps employers (with up to 50 employees) to create human resources policies and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy.  To read my musings on the wacky world of human resources, see the HR Compliance Jungle (www.hrcompliancejungle.com) which alternates on Wednesday mornings with my history blog, History By Norma, (available at http://www.normashirk.com). To read my musings on a variety of topics, see my posts on Her Savvy (www.hersavvy.com).

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Building a Following: Attraction Rather Than Promotion, Part II

davidreneetennessean2001 copy

We are continuing this month with David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, indeed my better half and a very bright light.  Photo: Renee and David Bates, circa 2001.

When I asked David how he prepares for writing the newsletter each week he said, “I rarely know what I’m going to write about. I schedule time to write. I sit down and some thought comes or I think about what has transpired over the week and I begin typing. As the type goes onto the screen, that’s where I become inspired and, it’s important for me to have a deadline.”

People often tell me that they get several newsletters but David’s is one that they always read. David’s late friend, Rebecca Bain of Nashville Public Radio, told him that his articles were good though he needed to keep them brief. Mark Twain once said, “I apologize for the length of this letter as I did not have time to write a short one.” Writing with brevity takes time. Most weeks David keeps it to 350 words as his homage to Rebecca. He also tries to keep the self-promotion aspect low in newsletters. Topics are generally informational and not about promoting specific items.

Tracking outreach, he notes that about 1,500 people open the email within the first hour. People sign up for the newsletter through his website, www.batesnursery.com, or when they check out at the register and sign up for Bates Rewards, a loyalty program.

Regarding social media, Bates’ has Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr sites. David also co-hosts a weekly radio show, At Home with Josh Cary and David Bates, on WWTN 99.7 FM. He tries to coordinate all aspects of promotion across these formats.

Bates’ Twitter account has over 81,000 followers and Facebook has close to 3,000 likes. The Twitter following has more of a global audience and when he began in 2009 he said he didn’t really have any idea what he was doing. He spent an average of 2 hours a day for 2 ½ to 3 years building it.

He is committed to keeping viable content on social media. “Keep people engaged,” David offers. “Facebook has a decidedly more local audience. The up to date information is posted more to that site.”   When I asked him about whether he had delved into paying to promote on Facebook he replied, “Not yet.”

When asked what advice he would give someone who was just starting out with social media, he said that he would take his father, Earl Bates’ advice: “If you are going to copy someone, copy someone who has been successful. Don’t try to make someone else’s failure work for you.” David looked at what others were doing successfully and emulated their practices. Apparently it works.

About Renee Bates

Renee is an artist focused on growing a newfound ability to express herself through oil painting, recently leaving her role as executive director of the non-profit Greenways for Nashville to pursue art and product development. Renee likes being in nature, hiking, birding, and working in the garden. Married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, she appreciates that the legacy of the 3rd generation business was begun in 1932 at the height of the depression by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.

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Building a Following: Attraction Rather Than Promotion

Bates Nursery 1

David Bates is a nurseryman who grew up in a family business, Bates Nursery and Garden Center, begun in 1932 by a savvy woman, his grandmother, Bessie Bates.  He is also my husband of 30 years so this interview was convenient. I am awed by the way he made something where there was nothing and I thought you might benefit from how David embraced technology to expand his customer base with social media, and writing a weekly newsletter that is received by over 11,000 readers.

David had about 2,500 subscribers prior to 2009 and wrote only sporadically.  During a rough patch, after he had sold the business and then had to take it back, there were limited financial resources for conventional advertising.  He began looking for ways to expand his customer base.  The fact that customers tend to age, and with many of his customers in their early 60’s, it became apparent that there was a need to attract new and younger customers for the long haul.

Conventional at first, the newsletter featured only garden tips.  David needed wider parameters than exclusively writing gardening tips for the weekly newsletter. “Seasonal reminders are a good thing but I needed more content and began to inject more of myself into the newsletter, making it more personal.“  The newsletter has proven to be worth the effort, based on the response he gets from customers.  “I write them as though I am writing to one person.  When people receive it, my hope is they feel as though they are getting a personal note from me to them.  Consequently, I think people feel more comfortable with me and respond the way one friend does to another.  I am a person who has gone through a lot of bumps in life; the things I write about along those lines tend to be the posts I get the most response from.  They often don’t have anything to do with gardening.“

More on David’s writing process and social media in my next post.

About Renee Bates

Renee is an artist focused on growing a newfound ability to express herself through oil painting, recently leaving her role as executive director of the non-profit Greenways for Nashville to pursue art and product development. Renee likes being in nature, hiking, birding, and working in the garden. Married to David Bates of Bates Nursery and Garden Center, she appreciates that the legacy of the 3rd generation business was begun in 1932 at the height of the depression by a savvy woman, Bessie Bates.

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Social Media And How To Build Your Authentic Personal Brand

Social Media 3

The  women of HerSavvy met recently to learn more about using social media to build and enhance our business brands.  The session was led by a young adult, or digital native, who walked us through the process of using Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and the like.  To us digital immigrants, it was a bit overwhelming, but there is no denying the importance of social media in today’s world.  We all understand the need to, if not master it, at least know the basics.  And when it comes to business there are professionals to help us navigate that world.  The bigger issue for many of us is how, or whether, to use social media for our personal lives and where personal and business identities intersect.  The question also came up of how to be our authentic selves while at the same time creating a brand and where and when to set boundaries on our use of social media.  Just like Hollywood celebrities (or Barbara Mandrell) all of us are now under a bit of a microscope and can be photographed, quoted or otherwise “captured” by this wild new world.

Listen to our discussion on our latest podcast and let us know how you manage to balance your personal and business identities and remain your authentic, best self.  And thanks for tuning in!

About Barbara Dab:

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website athttp://www.zoneabouttown.com.

Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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