Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What do you know about those around you?

Couple things from today.....

We have had a few things break around the house and had our fav repairman over to fix them. Since May (when we last saw him), he discovered that his cancer had returned, has had a hip replacement to remove huge masses of the cancer, had radiation for the tumors on his back and remaining tumors on pelvis, is doing immunotherapy treatment, and will have his next round of radiation on the 19th of this month to treat the tumor in his neck. He showed me photos of the masses and told me all of this while he worked away at removing an old fan. He's 54. He is optimistic that the treatments will give him more time. We also talked about how he couldn't be angry about his own prognosis when he'd go to the doctor and see young people with this awful disease. What an amazing way to start the day. Hearing his story really made me take a step back and think about my blessings.

This afternoon, I spent time with some of my fav gals for lunch and a movie. We saw Wonder. I pretty much cried from start to finish. My advice - go see it. Then see it again and make sure your kids see it. Everyone should see this movie. It's well done and will make you think about how you treat others. Given the news lately, we need to be having conversations about how to treat one another and we should be leading by example. Whether you have kids or not, you should treat others with respect and kindness.

I know we all try to be extra kind during the holiday season but maybe that kindness could extend in to the new year and beyond. Perhaps if we put down our electronics and connected with one another, the world would be less angry and judgmental. There is a saying that you can't hate me if you don't know me (or something similar) so if we took the opportunity to stop being so quick to judge others in all situations and get to know them then we might just start a movement.

Happy Holidays friends!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Taking our circus on the road....

There are many stages to Altman Family travels. This post describes our current situation.

One year ago....Altman wins Kiawah Island Marathon and we readily agree it will be amazing to come back in 2017.

Months out....Altman asks me if I really want to go. Me: Sure! We had so much fun. Altman agrees and signs up for marathon.

Still months out....Altman: still wanna go on that trip? Me (having forgotten the drive from our last vacation bc I may have dementia or intentionally block certain memories): Sure. Sounds great. A little break would really be good for us. And you know, "they" say we should be making memories with these guys.

Sometime close the last convo...Me: Are you booking someplace to stay for the trip? No hotels (or crappy motels). Remember, we DON'T do well in them. Altman: No problem. I will get us that great cottage from last time.

October....the Altman Family heads to Columbus for work and marathoning. Staying in the hotel is awful. I vow NEVER to do it again.

Getting close to trip time...Me: Man, I dread that drive. Maybe we should leave early and stay overnight someplace. Altman: Maybe so. Me: Looks up Airbnb rentals. Altman: Searches hotels and tells me he found a good looking place. It's halfway there and we could leave right after school. Me: I say okay. It can't be that bad bc we will hardly be there.

Days before trip....children are unbearable and cancel the trip 5 times.

Day before trip...I get really stressed bc there is no way we are ready to leave town.

Day of trip....children are out of control. They are fighting over the 2 DVD players and space in the back seat. I threaten to cancel Christmas.

Get to first stop....small one refuses food - again. Bigger buries face in tablet then begins to antagonize everyone by taking 45 minutes to eat a quesadilla. After dinner, kids prove that there is no reason the four of us should ever stay in a hotel. I threaten again to cancel Christmas.

Overnight and early morning....kids piled in bed on top of mommy while Altman "sleeps" solo. People slam doors in hallway making it impossible to actually sleep. Oldest wakes before his normal time at home....

Morning of first stop....kids prove again that we should NEVER stay in a place where there is only one room. Kids find Buddy the Elf in car and remember that he's watching them and they should be kind and listen to directions. Buddy is not effective.

Drive to destination....children continue fighting. We stop 6 times in three hours for bathroom breaks. For this trip, we get behind a school bus making afternoon stops while no youngest whisper screams that this is taking SOOOOOOO long. The whisper scream is bc mommy and daddy are exhausted from no sleep and have taken turns napping in car.

We finally arrive and hit up unfamiliar grocery store and buy tons of random stuff.

Altman is set up and working the expo. The kids and I are going to venture out in the rain on hopes of seeing ocean....it's forecasted to rain through Saturday.

Thanks to our sweet friend watching the house and our other pet children. Apparently, the pet children were fighting last night too.

At this point, I wonder if we should stop taking trips and just stay home. I suppose if we did then I wouldn't have any awesome content to keep friends entertained.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

#VolTwitter and the future of...well, anything and everything

Today was fascinating.

I check Twitter a few times each day and am probably more active during football season because it makes it easy to check scores and stay in the know. Today, I spent the majority of my afternoon watching and refreshing my feed as Vol Nation banded together over the potential hire for our next head coach. And their actions have changed the course of the direction of that coaching search and our future as a program.

Here's the disclaimer: This post is not about UT football, the potential head coach, or who said or did what withing UT's administration or our major funding sources. I am focusing here on communications and how Vol fans just proved that social media is a powerful force and we shouldn't forget that anytime soon.

I'm so old that there were only about 6 classes focused on PR when I was in college. In fact, my degree is a Bachelor in Communications with a Concentration in Public Relations. The majority of my classes were journalism based. To turn in assignments, we saved our work on a disk and then passed it to the person next to us. And those were the fat monitor desktops that took about 10 minutes to load and be ready for us and they were the newest technology at the time.

So, when I think of all the changes over the years in communications and how people provide feedback and opinions and news, I look at today's events as something that should be discussed in classes, among organizational staff and leaders, and PR professionals for months to come. I didn't learn in a time of instant news. I had to physically call people or meet them in-person to get information for class stories (or watch Judge Judy but that's a whole other story).

Seemingly #VolTwitter shut down efforts to hire the next head coach in the span of a few hours. I'm basing that on what I find to be good sports sources and things can always change.

Not only did the people of Twitter provide contact information for the current AD and encourage people to call/text/email him but they created a call to action for people to go to campus and protest. They posted pictures of the rock and then live shots from said protest and then as it moved from the stadium to the athletics building.

The whole thing started roughly midday with some information on the next hire and the movement took on a life of its own.

That's powerful.

We've seen many movements on social media over the years but I don't remember one that hit so close to home for me. Anyone who knows me will know that I love TN Football. I always have so this story is a big deal to me for many reasons. It's important as a Vol fan but it is also important as someone who still very much works in PR/Communications not just for my jobs but for my community service as well.

Folks were - and still are - tweeting and re-tweeting their disgust for the potential hire. National media personalities were arguing with Vol fans over the situation. Articles that were posted a year ago were easily found and posted on various outlets so that fans could understand the unrest. I read posts where someone was for this hire change their mind and realize that it wasn't just about football to the fan base.

To me, Twitter effectively put enough pressure on this coach and on the administration to stop the deal. Last time I checked, this person's name was mentioned in more than 55,000 tweets. He only has 8,569 followers when I checked this evening. He doesn't seem to be active on Twitter but Vol fans made sure that his name was mentioned over and over again to our AD voicing that he was not the right person for the job here.

Vol fans stopped the deal cold. Again, that's powerful.

If people on social media are passionate enough to create multiple calls to action and stop a big deal, they have changed the landscape for future coaching searches and so much more.

This isn't just a tale of a head coach search gone wrong, this is a tale that as a person or business owner, we have to understand the power of social media. We need to have communications knowledge or a team on staff or at least someone readily available to advise us when we are being mentioned on social media and how to handle it.

Today, we saw fans band together to stop the hiring of a head coach. Let that sink in. Vol fans stopped a deal between UT and the next head coach. Maybe I'm wrong but the perception from the day is that there was too much pressure on the candidate and the AD to move forward. Tomorrow may tell us a different story.

There's so much to this situation. Beyond the social media efforts, there are so many communications topics that could be addressed but tonight, I want you to think about the power of social media. I want you to think about the power of a tweet, a re-tweet, and the fact that anyone can pull old articles or share contact information.

Love it or hate it, social media is a powerful outlet and I believe it will only get stronger after today.

For now, I'm shutting it down and prepping for the week ahead. See you on the roads!

What do you know about those around you?

Couple things from today..... We have had a few things break around the house and had our fav repairman over to fix them. Since May (when we...