Yes, I did have a Facebook account before this eighteen weeks whirlwind ride began. After all everyone was saying you have to be on FB to promote your business. Never mind that when I did try to promote my business it felt awkward and I was doubtful that it was having any positive effect.
OK – I admit I did have a Twitter account too. I opened it to help a friend with a promotion – though I was so clumsy trying to get my “Twibbon” I’m not sure that I was much help. I don’t even recall sending an actual “Tweet”. My Twitter account languished for over a year with one lone follower: my stepbrother.
Somewhere around this time I opened a LinkedIn account too. It sported an unfinished bio page until, well until very recently…
Fast-forward to the week before a BPM (Bestseller Profit Mastermind) retreat in beautiful Napa wine country with my book publisher extraordinaire, Alicia Dunams. She emailed me and asked if I could get some info together for her ASAP about my forthcoming book. She just found out that she was the “Friends of Ricki, Friend of the Week” and had to have a blog post about her top picks in health and fitness books by the following morning. Confused by what it all meant, I was at least smart enough to know that this would be advance publicity for my book and sent her the information she needed pronto.
Alicia is a “Friend of Ricki Founding Member” and at the retreat encouraged us to get involved with the online community formed by talk show host, actress and documentary film director, Ricki Lake and her team. It was all part of the approach for her new talk show that would be airing in September. – huh? I wondered. What, why, how?
On that first day of the retreat Alicia explained that as “Friend of the Week” she would be the guest for an hour long Friends of Ricki Twitter Chat and that we were all going to join her! At this point in time I neither knew what a Twitter Chat was or why I would want to know how to be part of one. We were all either complete or relative newbies at Twitter and especially new to chats… so we all scrambled to set up accounts or in my case find it and dust it off. It was like the blind leading the blind, but with Alicia’s directions we got to where we needed to be. We muddled through and had our first taste of a Twitter Chat!
My next venture into Twitter was jolting. Again thanks to Alicia. She told us we should follow all of the Founding Friends of Ricki and all of Ricki Lake’s staff on Twitter. Once home, I found the lists on Twitter and dutifully clicked “follow” after all of their names. I still wasn’t too sure about how to tweet meaningfully. I made a couple of awkward tweets.
Ding! A new email came in from Twitter: “You have a new follower.” Oh how exciting a follower! The first person to respond was some guy I didn’t know calling me “Beautiful” right off the bat. Oh great I thought – just what I need some Twitter person I don’t even know trying to come-on to me. I’d experienced my share of come-ons and as a happily married woman with two children it wasn’t what I had in mind. I obsessed over it – checking out the tweeter’s profile – looking at my profile to see if I was blindly opening myself to unwanted attention and back and forth wondering if I should ignore this first Twitter message or respond to it. Finally I composed a neutral sounding response and held a wait and see attitude.
That turned out to be a wise decision. I had jumped to the wrong conclusion. As it turned out the message not only wasn’t a come-on at all, but a sincere welcoming into the “Nest”. He was none other than the incomparable, well-known Social Media Darling, Stephen Dimmick of the Daily Dimmick, loved and respected by all. I now count him among my friends and have learned much from him.
Alicia gave me one more Twitter curve ball. Just before the launch of my book – like in the morning of – as if Alicia didn’t already have me feeling over scheduled with a book video trailer filming in San Francisco just before setting up for the book launch … She scheduled a Twitter Chat for me: Yoga4Moms. She asked the questions – I answered them AND I was supposed to “connect” with people who somehow found us on Twitter… Aye Yi Yi!
The book launched, it became a bestseller – I survived. Nose back to the grindstone, as I immediately had to prepare for and then go teach a weeklong musculoskeletal yoga therapist training course. The large pine trees, Lotus Lake and the serene atmosphere of the Expanding Light Retreat Center were a welcome change of pace. Eating delicious organic vegetarian food that I didn’t have to cook or clean up after also helped!
Phone service at the retreat center was sketchy at best. However, the wi-fi service worked well, so I was able to tend to my growing social media tasks in between teaching and meetings. The most I hoped for was to not get behind after the strides I had made with my SM contacts.
Naturally that turned out to be the week that The Ricki Lake Show through their Friends of Ricki FB Page asked us to send them one-minute video show pitches. Back into SM high gear! That meant in my precious little spare time I needed to figure out a show pitch (or two) how to video myself, post it and send it.
If that wasn’t enough I received a Twitter DM (Direct Message) from Dabney Porte – The Dabney Porte, Social Media Diva of Social Media Girlfriends, Social Media Manners, Girlfriends Talk Radio and Social Media Friends of Ricki Producer for the Ricki Lake Show. She wants to talk to me on the phone!
For this I had to find time to drive my car to Rajarsi Ridge and park in the cell phone parking lot at a time when Dabney would be available too. The show wanted permission to use one of my tweets, which I gladly gave. More importantly that phone call was the start of another new and wonderful friendship.
Not long afterwards back at home I met Bryan Moore, Director of Social Media and Britt Williams, Director of Ricki Lake MeetUps both of The Ricki Lake Show. Having “met” them on FB and Twitter before hand, we hit it off like old friends.
The next thing I knew I was “promoted” to “Super Friend of Ricki”. This landed me an invitation as a VIP Guest to the first taping of the Ricki Lake Show at the Culver Studios in Hollywood. I stayed at the Historical Culver City Hotel, infamously known for the escapades of the dwarf actors who stayed there during the filming of The Wizard of Oz. That adventure is a whole story unto itself involving several of my ABOW (A Band of Wives) friends, Social Media friends, and meeting many Team Ricki members and Ricki Lake herself.
I found myself surrounded by many of the Social Media Powerhouses that I had been observing, learning from and interacting with on line. Before this experience I would have never believed that I could have made such deep connections – both business and personal – from short Tweets, posts and comments online.
Time flies when you are having fun. I was soon back home working to develop my new website and business plan. It needed a lot of work…
Next thing I knew though, I was going to LA as a VIP guest when Alicia was featured on The Ricki Lake Show. After that trip, I settle back down at home to get caught up and get my business going with no more plans to return to LA for a show taping. Then Bingo! Another invitation from The Ricki Lake Show arrived. They invited all of the Founding Member Friends of Ricki and Super Friends to take part in an industry first – a show on Social Media where the audience tweets and posts about the show DURING the show.
There are two things that were significant about this invitation. Always before when going to the set of The Ricki Lake Show, they ask one to not bring electronics – an industry standard. Any cell phones, cameras, computers etc. are held by security until you leave. In this invitation they were asking us to BRING IT ON! They even said be sure to bring our chargers so we wouldn’t run out of battery charge during the show.
On the Culver Studio lot in the pre-show holding area it was a Social Media frenzy! Power cords and power strips were de rigueur. Photos were being taken and tweeted instantly. Excitement and mutual love was in the air, as we all felt connected as friends embarking on a historic journey. Once inside we did make television history – taking photos of the show and posting live as it happened. Even Ricki was caught up in the excitement as she took pictures of us and Tweeted live. She said it was the most fun she had ever had taping a show.
What was the other significant aspect of this invitation? Well there I was on National TV with Ricki Lake announcing the show and welcoming her audience of Social Media Experts – and me there among them! Not for a minute do I equate myself with the social media doyens. But I felt honored to be there with them as friend, colleague and budding social media adept.