Impatient, Millennial Dad

September 13, 2014 — 1 Comment

I’m five months into fatherhood.

The days are long.
The weeks are short.
My sleep hasn’t yet recovered.
And I love every minute.

But, though Claire is constantly hitting milestones that are advanced for her age, I want her to be older now.

I don’t want to have to wait months and years for her to grow teeth (which she has already started), learn language, understand conversation, and effective communication abilities. I want that all now.

I guess you could blame this on me being a Millennial. I grew up wanting immediate satisfaction and resolve for things I put very little effort into.

But I’m also a college graduate, so I understand the importance of putting a lot of effort into something that takes up only eight words on my résumé.

I’m just anxious to tell Claire everything I see in her. I want to tell her about what it was like to see her after she was born, to change her diaper ten times a day, to cuddle with her when she woke up at three in the morning, and to see her smile back every time I smile at her. I don’t want to wait years. I want to tell her now—before my memories fade, before the routines set in, before she’s interested in more than just Mom, Dad, and the stuffed animal bunny that doesn’t have any stuffing.

And though I hate all of the waiting, I know it will be totally worth the wait when—in a few years and forever after that—I know Claire understands me when I say eight words that are more important than anything on my résumé: “You’re my daughter, and I’ll love you forever.”

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Memorial Day weekend means a lot more to me now that it’s also my anniversary weekend. I woke up that Monday relaxed and ready to spend time with my family.

As I got of bed and checked my phone, I had four notifications from marketers trying to get me to buy something.

As someone who has sent marketing emails, I have always been conscious of sending an email at the right time. But I also made decisions not to send people on holidays or other special occasions because I knew it was ethically questionable.

So on Memorial Day weekend, I felt conflicted—understanding the plight of the marketers but also wanting to be left alone on a holiday—so I just deleted the emails and went about my day.

On the Fourth of July, I woke up with five marketing emails in my notifications, and I was upset. Continue Reading…

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Two weeks ago, I made a trip to Washington, D.C. for #BestofSMS. Traveling normally stresses me out, but I realized that leveraging a few great apps can make things much easier. Here are the 5 apps that I won’t travel without: Continue Reading…

Last week, I gave a group of artists a full introduction to Twitter along with some recommended best practices. At one point in the conversation, I pulled up my Twitter profile and explained why everything is the way it is. In that moment, I realized something: I take my profile so seriously because I judge the profiles of others.

So I’ve decided to make a list of the four things I see (or judge) when I look at your Twitter profile. Continue Reading…

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When I first got a camera phone, I ruined several experiences for myself. I was so caught up with documenting concerts or family gatherings or things I saw on a walk that I didn’t get to enjoy them.

What’s worse? I never looked at any of those pictures after I took them.

So when Claire arrived, I told myself that I would document what I could when I wasn’t disrupting the moment and leave the rest to my memory. But I wasn’t convinced that I would stick with it.

This past weekend, that was put to the test.

A Prairie Home Companion

For Father’s Day, Claire—but mostly Erin—got us tickets to see the live taping of A Prairie Home Companion at Ravinia.

Now I’ve been a fan of the show for the better half of a decade, and I’ve come to have a huge respect for Garrison Keillor, the show’s host. The way he tells stories and weaves music in and out of everything warms my heart in a way that is only matched by nice, long hugs and watching White Christmas in the middle of December.

Just before the show starts, Garrison and female vocalist Lynn Peterson walk around the park to start singing, and…well, here’s the Facebook post I made about the moment:

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It was a great moment. A sweet moment. They sang “You Are My Sunshine,” “Down by the River,” and one other song.

And the whole time they were singing, I was thinking, Hold her with one arm and pull your phone out with the other.

But I didn’t.

I had this moment of clarity that holding my phone out to catch the moment would have interrupted it. All of the sincerity and heartwarming I was feeling in those seconds would’ve been sucked away, and there was no telling if it would return once it was gone.

And I’m so happy that I didn’t get my phone out. It was fun holding Claire during the serenade.

And if you were wondering about Erin, she was watching our stuff near the back of the park while all of this happened. She had no idea she was missing it.

A Changed Man

This whole experience has me hopeful that I won’t feel the urge to get my phone out to document every moment that I think might be important.

This may not sound like a revolutionary idea, but, being that I work in social media, it’s counterintuitive for me. I’m used to tracking important moments and sending them out across several platforms in as many types of media as possible.

My friend Andy put it best in his comment to my Facebook post: “I’m still convinced some of the best moments in life shouldn’t make it on social media. We’re not journalists, we’re parents.” So true.

I may not take pictures of Claire’s first steps or a video of her first words, but I’ll be loving every minute of it.

 


Okay, I’m sneaking this in. When Garrison was singing to Claire, there was an entire crowd of people around us, and most of them were taking pictures. I was secretly hoping that one of them would’ve posted their picture of Twitter or Instagram, but I haven’t seen anything yet. If you know someone who was at the show and may have taken a photo of us, maybe check with them to see if they got it…? Because that would be awesome and I would be very grateful.

A couple of years ago, the Logos Quiz Game app was one of the most downloaded apps on Apple’s App Store. People all over the world were racking up scores based on the brand logos that they recognized.

The app reminded me of small documentaries teachers used to make my class watch where kids my age identified logos faster than famous world leaders. And it was bad that they recognized Taco Bell but didn’t know FDR. And I was bad because I did the same thing.

(What my teachers didn’t recognize is that it was their generation’s job to stop that from happening. It was probably too late.)

Now that my generation is grown up (Millennials unite!), we aren’t loyal to any of the brands we recognized. Or, at least, we’re not loyal in the same way that our parents are. Continue Reading…

This past week was an interesting one for me. I had some very unexpected interactions with brands that left an impression on me, and I thought I’d share them.

First: The Follow-Up

A couple of weeks ago I heard about the start-up Fitbay. Their website lets you put in your size and body-type and then they recommend clothing based on the information you provide. They’re currently in beta, so you have to request access and get on a waiting list. Somehow, I got quick access (my profile) and I’m already loving the site.

So @Fitbay tweeted that they’re looking for a social media manager for their young company, and I gave them a retweet because I know there are several social media savvy people who follow me on Twitter and might be interested in joining a start-up. Not too long after, @Fitbay publicly replies to thank me for my retweet.

Our exchange went on for a few more tweets, and they even mentioned that they saw I’d participated in the suggestion area of their website. Not only did they follow up with me, but they made the effort to look me up. I felt valued as a user, and I’ll continue to rave about them for a while.

Second: The Shout-Out

Around the same time I learned about Fitbay, I read about another start-up called ReadingPack. They allow users to save web articles and share them as reading lists. I signed up (my profile) thinking that ReadingPack would be an interesting solution for my coworkers and I to share articles with each other.

Then on Friday @ReadingPack tweeted about my reading pack. I was completely surprised.

Granted this is something that they’ve started doing regularly with users, but I still felt awesome that their company is paying attention to their users, including me.

Third: The Cold Shoulder

There’s this really popular blogger/leader who I follow on Twitter. (Let’s call him Hichael Myatt.) He tweets probably around 80 times a day, and though I find that incredibly annoying, some of that content is relevant to me. So I follow him anyway.

One day last week, Mr. Myatt had a malfunction in his auto-tweet software, so his tweet had special characters in the message instead of the title of his recent blog post and the link that accompanied it. So a few fellow tweeters and I replied to the message to try to get Mr. Myatt’s attention. I even went so far as to include the title and link that his tweet was missing.

Here’s a link to my reply (Warning! My reply totally gives away who the real Hichael Myatt is.): link.

Ten minutes later, the original tweet was deleted and replaced with what should’ve been in the original tweet. Which is good and fine, and I totally understand why Mr. Myatt (or the person running his Twitter account) might’ve done that. But it was also an opportunity to show a little humanity, to reach out to some very concerned and connected users. Instead, he hit delete, erasing it from existence.

(This wouldn’t be so bad if this wasn’t the fifth time I’ve tweeted at Mr. Myatt when he’s tweeted for help on a topic. Never once have I seen him reply to someone who has replied to his tweets.)

Conclusion: The New Truth

Social conversation is the new marketing. It turns users into advocates, brand reps. And it’s way cheaper than advertising.

Brands need to be aware of the importance of conversation on social media. My three examples are interactions that I take as personally as if I had spoken with a representative in-person. And they can rest assured that I’ll be sharing their story, content, and brand with my friends, family, and followers.