Change is hard. It requires adaptability and flexibility, which is tough when you’re used to something and comfortable with it. There’s been a lot of talk about change this past week. I’ve been talking with a colleague about change behind the scenes at the museum she works at. Some people are adapting better than others. I like to say when you’re cleaning, the mess always gets worse before it gets better. It’s all about toughing it out, trusting that it will get better.
Another topic that relates to change is Facebook, which announced this week that it is making some pretty big changes to the site. Mashable does a pretty good summary of the changes. But one of the changes is a doozy – a complete overhaul of personal profiles into a format called Timeline. What is Timeline? I’ve seen it called a “social scrapbook” or “curated biography.” But the basic thing you need to know is that your profile will soon show all your activity on Facebook as blips on a sort of historical timeline. For me, that goes way back to 2006, when Facebook was still limited to colleges. Yikes.
I’ve seen a whole array of responses to Timeline, from “the greatest thing Facebook has ever done” to many angry tirades on Facebook itself. Instead of joining in on either side of the argument, I find myself more interested in how strongly people react to change, especially when it involves something they use all the time.The loudest reactions usually start with anger, and progress somewhat through the five stages of grief. I even found a really great article on SimplyZesty connecting the five stages with how people react to changes in social media.
Like most people, I’m a little wary of what these changes mean. I also know it will take a while to get used to. But I also know that eventually, inevitably, I will get used to it. Facebook has seen major changes before. I might not like it at first, but I’m the kind of person who likes to sit and wait out the upheaval, trusting it will get better.
I wrote a few months ago about a struggle with writer’s block. At the time, I had written the blog entry simply as a means of trying to overcome the writer’s block. Turns out, I had the right idea. I’ve been reading social media guru Seth Godin’s blog, and he wrote just this past week about how to overcome writer’s block. To summarize a bit, he says that practice makes perfect. He recommends writing often, daily, if possible, without worry if the writing is good or not. After a while, the writing gets easier, and hopefully, the quality gets better too.
I’ve found this to be true for myself. When I am regularly writing press releases (in the “marketing speak” zone, I like to think), I find that it’s a lot easier to sit down and churn out a document. And after the first few releases, it gets a lot easier to have it turn out closer to what I was aiming for. You know that feeling, where you get the phrasing right on the first try? Ahhh….satisfying. But if I haven’t had a chance to do a lot of writing for a while, it becomes like pulling teeth. I have to force myself to sit in front of the computer, while I stare at a blank Microsoft Word screen.
Writer’s block can be like procrastination – you know what needs to be done, but you can’t – or won’t – do it. Sometimes I end up overcoming procrastination by doing another task that needs to be done, even if it isn’t first on the productivity list. All I end up doing is getting satisfaction of working on a task that needs to be done, without relieving the pressure of crossing the most important thing off my list. But even that small dose of satisfaction is enough to nudge me towards doing what needs to be done.
Which reminds me – I’ve got a PowerPoint presentation to work on.
Since I’ve never had formal marketing training, I sometimes lack the confidence to stick to my guns at work. But every now and then, I remember that hey, I’ve been doing this for a while now, so there’s a good chance that I’ve got the right idea. It’s times like these where I have to fight the urge to stand up and say: “Trust me! I know what I’m doing.”
A big part of any job is common sense. Does it fit in with what you are doing? Your mission? Does what you propose follow the general practices of your field? Pretty basic stuff.
But sometimes, it is more than just common sense. I’m a self-described marketing nerd, so I do a lot of reading up on current trends in the museum field, in non-profit marketing, and particularly social media. (I was a history major in college, I can do a lot of reading.) After a while, you kind of learn to trust your gut. Digesting all that reading, best practices, how stuff works and how successful it is, can make approaching marketing somewhat intuitive.
I’ll be honest, all that operating by gut can lead to appearing impulsive, shoot-from-the-hip, or reckless. I react pretty quickly (and strongly) sometimes when someone brings up an idea (mobile app, anyone?). I get it, I look like a kid who doesn’t have formal training and who got stuck doing this marketing stuff because I was the most comfortable using Facebook (sound familiar?). But I’m the only one on staff keeping an eye on trends, and at some point on-the-job experience needs to be taken into consideration. If you’ve got even an ounce of passion about what it is you do, then you’re going to do that job to the best of your ability.
Trust me, I know what I’m doing.
I know what you’re thinking (well, probably not, but it’s what I’m thinking) – isn’t it a little soon to have writer’s block? I mean, this blog is barely 2 months old and already I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel? Not a good sign.
Well, every now and then I choose to be an optimist. I choose to believe that this is simply a case of blog and marketing overload. At work we just moved the administrative offices to our new location, leaving myself and three other coworkers behind. Somehow I had forced myself to believe that since I wasn’t moving, I wouldn’t be impacted much. Oh how appallingly wrong I was.
Of course, as should have been expected (I really think it was a case of willful ignorance, on my part), chaos has ensued. And, like the ostrich I can imitate so well, I had stuck my head in the ground while deadlines were looming.
So now here I am. My head has been flooded out of the hole it was stuck in, and now I stare around me, bewildered. Somehow I’ve managed to get deadlines stacked on top of deadlines, and oh yah I’m supposed to be focusing on packing up the archives, too.
I guess this post about writer’s block has instead turned in to a bit of therapy. Breathe deep, stiff upper lip, show up tomorrow, put my head down and hit the ground running. That’s all I can do, right? Unless I find a way to procrastinate and write about writer’s block again.