Seven years ago, I went offline. Ok, that’s not completely accurate. I maintained my social media accounts for personal use, I didn’t shut down my Facebook page, and I’ve done digital and social media marketing for companies between then and now. But for someone who was ALL over the internet earnestly trying to become a thought-leader back in 2011, my social media marketing peers would likely say that I disappeared without a trace.
Do they even know who I am anymore? Maybe.
Do they think that I have cutting edge things to say about marketing 2.0 (or whatever number we’re on now)? Probably not.
But that’s ok with me. I maintained this website and domain because I thought there might be an opportunity for me to use it again. And here we are.
My last job in a strictly social media position was 7 years ago. I attended meetups, industry networking events, conferences and nearly any other related shindig I could get into. I live blogged them in exchange for a ticket, which turned out to be amazing advice from my first social media boss! I opened up and then hosted a Beer and Blog chapter in my city. I became low key famous in the local circle from the bloopers of regular Follow Friday videos I did with a coworker, and loved every minute of it. I was in it. Until I wasn’t.
I began to feel like all I was doing was finding information other people had written and regurgitating it in my own voice. I felt cool, but somewhat empty.
A few months before it all ended, I helped raise $20,000 for St. Baldrick’s when my office mates banded together to get our heads shaved. It was amazingly liberating to have the comfort of my waist-length hair revoked, and soul-elevating to send a message of solidarity to those affected by cancer.
This was the beginning of the shift.
Then I saw a video made by the sister of a social media friend about an organization that was still (6 years after Katrina) rebuilding houses in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans. I was hooked. I had to go. And, right after I got laid off, I did.
I spent three months living in a volunteer house with 20 other people, sharing a room with 7 in make-shift bunk beds without railings. I met and befriended volunteers from Mexico, Italy, Qatar, France, South Korea, Turkey and more. I built a staircase into a house with bricks I laid myself.
From there, I moved with a volunteer friend to Seattle, sight-unseen. We both lived and worked in a hostel, where we again lived in bunk beds and worked surrounded by people from all over the world.
Eight months later, I boarded a plane by myself to Thailand, where I volunteered for a recovery community 30 minutes outside of Chiang Rai. Then Vietnam to meet some college friends. Then New Zealand, where I worked for another hostel, made dear friends with housemates, and traveled the country.
So far in my life, this time spent in the house in New Orleans, the hostel in Seattle, the foundation in Thailand, and traveling around New Zealand were where I felt most myself. I was me, and it was working. Except, not for money.
I came back to Seattle, and took a tourism sales job for an attraction icon. As cool as it was (and it was!), I longed for something more meaningful to me. So I got a job at a bootstrap nonprofit serving as the head of operations and communications, and did some fundraising campaigns too. Then I burnt out.
So I’m working a bridge job to calm and reassess where this marketing thing will go. And that’s where we’re at with this blog. Let’s see where it takes us.