I’m quitting social media…but only for a couple weeks.
How I will survive so unwired? Suffice to say I’m plugging into a different net. And I know I’ll be able to get another fix, once my very short stint is done.
That wasn’t always the case. In 2005 I was mobilized for Iraq, when I returned home 18 months later, my little PR world had changed dramatically in a way that can be summarized in two words: social media.
In fact, I recall in Iraq, a couple of my soldiers discussing something called, “MySpace.” I had heard about it, but didn’t really understand what it was all about; so I asked.
“It’s a place to meet girls and party with them Sir,” I recall a young specialist saying.
Huh. No kidding? Meet girls and party. I’ll have to check that out when I get home.
When I got home, I had a wakeup call: social media was fast becoming serious PR business. I needed to ramp up quickly and then figure out how to get executive buy-in.
Fortunate for me, I had great teachers in Abbas and Ian. And Doug McClure? Though he worked for the competition, he also ran an impartial blog, and in hindsight, I’d say Doug was (and still is) an “influencer.”
I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to have had supportive employers. When I deployed to Iraq, my former employer, Managed Objects, sent me off with a company laptop and my first and only iPod. The iPod made it home, but the laptop? Well it didn’t survive; made in the sand of Silicon Valley, its silicon now rests somewhere in Middle Eastern sand.
Vocus too has been very supportive, which speaks volumes, given the challenges of juggling what is in essence, my two very demanding lives and loyalties. This is especially so, given my still fairly new role, as a commander. One of these days I’m going to figure out how to get my boss on a boss flight: it’s well deserved. I couldn’t ask for a better boss — and that’s not lip service.
Getting away is good: it reminds me what I take for granted; affords me the challenging of leading men of arms; grants me the humbling honor of caring for volunteers willing to put themselves in harm’s way for a cause greater than self; and quite frankly, it keeps it real.
As soon as the conference ends, I’m heading out. So yes, I’m quitting social media, but only for a couple weeks. So if these pages lay still for a period of time, you’ll know why. I’ll be back soon.
Note: photo of a still young, more fit, albeit prior-enlisted, lieutenant at Ft. Benning, Ga. circa 1998. If you’re interested in a firsthand account of a reservist on deployment, I made an effort to chronicle my experiences in Iraq here.