Saturday, January 31, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Dear Readers,

There is this thing going around Facebook where people share 25 Random Things about themselves. In the spirit of the blog where I try to be as transparent as I can be, here are the 25 Random Things about me that I just posted on Facebook:

1. I'm turning 40 on March 15th and I'm not unhappy about it. If this is what 40 looks like, bring it on, baby!
2. I did kindergarten twice because of some mix up moving from one school to another.
3. My middle name is Rose.
4. My Jewish name is Shoshanna.
5. When I was 8, I imagined having a set of twin daughters and planned to name them Bonnie and Buffy. I have two sets of twin nieces, none of which are named Bonnie or Buffy, thankfully.
6. My mom died 20 years ago, almost to the day.
7. I've been imagining starting my own company for 15 years and have been reading books and magazines on entrepreneurship, marketing, business and leadership every since.
8. My older brother was always smarter than me.
9. I went to McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where I am from.
10. I don't really know 70% of my "Friends" on Facebook but appreciate their reaching out.
11. I don't eat pork, bacon, shellfish, cheeseburgers and never have.
12. I used to be in musical plays as a teen and loved it. Studied theatre at college (Marionopolis in Montreal).
13. This is my real hair color.
14. I've never had a 'long-term relationship' and am really, truly fine with it.
15. Three years ago, I woke up numb on one side of my body. Turns out I have MS but that was the worst of it. I feel great and the disease rarely affects me. Thank God.
16. I have become slightly addicted to coffee. And my iphone. And yes, Twitter.
17. I am happy 94% of the time. The other 6% of the time I am not remembering how fortunate I am.
18. I believe in karma. And God.
19. More than married, I wish I were in love. And he in love with me.
20. I am so happy I didn't marry the boys I 'loved' 10-25 years ago.
21. I would be an amazing, amazing mom.
22. When I think about how much I love my nephew and nieces, I cry.
23. I am ashamed of how little I have traveled.
24. I don't have an MBA and am happy I didn't spend the money to get one.
25. I speak French, Hebrew and a little Japanese.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why I'm Saying Goodbye Shorty

Dear Readers,

I've been nominated by various Followers on Twitter for the Shorty Awards in the "Brand" category. The Shorty Awards award those voted on by people on Twitter as the best short form communicators in their category. For those who don't know, Twitter is a social media platform that enables people and companies to communicate in 140 characters or less. I cannot say enough about how Twitter has enabled me to develop groundswell support for my company and gauge how my brand is affecting those around the country and the world. (Twitter has also enabled me to connect with my business heroes, advisors, Savvy Auntie Experts and much, much more. But more about that in another post.)

I didn't really pay too much attention to the Shorty Awards but appreciated all the nominations I was getting by my Followers on Twitter in the brand category. But things changed last week when I was notified by the people at the Shorty Awards that I was a finalist in the category and that there would be an awards ceremony in New York City on February 11 and..... and my ego kicked in.

All of a sudden I wanted to "win." Even though I am not sure I should win. After all, I think Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, should win if we're going to be legitimate about who is the best brand communicator on Twitter. But is not a finalist. Marvel is a finalist and so truly they should win. But they are not currently winning.

Over the last few days since the finalists were notified, has been neck-and-neck with Heard of her? I hadn't. Her profile says she's the "Creator of Action Wipes. Gr8 after a ride, hike, climb, camping, Burning Man, Coachella and more. “Your face is not a baby’s butt. Don’t wipe it like one”." And I started to think that "Martha Van" isn't a brand. It's a person. "Action Wipes" are the brand. And so I started to ask people to vote for me because "Savvy Auntie" is a brand. I even sent Direct Messages (private Twitter messages) to Twitter friends asking them to vote for me.

And the whole time I felt like an idiot. After all, the winner, in my honest opinion, should be Zappos.

And then I really felt like an idiot when I received a note from the people at the Shorty Awards that the price for the awards ceremony would be $60 (free for me as a finalist). So if I did win this thing, I would have to then go back to the same people from whom I asked for a "vote" and ask them to shell out $60 to attend.

This has gotten way out of hand.

I am really honored (I am serious here) to have been nominated. When people nominate and the vote for you for the Shorty Awards, they have to say why they are voting. And frankly, I was so touched by so many of the things that people wrote about me and my brand.

And that's more than enough for me.

I am spending way too much energy exercising my ego in the Shorty Awards. Do I really need to win this to be proud of the fact that in six months Savvy Auntie has the recognition and buzz that it does? No. It's silly.

While it's not fair to pull of out the race because it wasn't my decision to be a finalist (it was the voters' democratic decision), I am no longer asking people to vote for me, checking my stats or frankly, caring. Those who have voted for me, I have thanked. If I haven't thanked you yet, it's coming. Because that's the "win" here. The win is having people who care enough to recognize me and my efforts...and a way for me to say thank you. The best shorty award vote came from someone I don't even know: "
smarkowski: @shortyawards I vote for @SavvyAuntie in the Shorty Awards Finals for #brand because she asks politely and sends thoughtful thank you notes."

Awards programs like these benefit the companies that initiate the awards programs more than the people who receive the awards. It's a profit making and/or traffic driving endeavor that plays on the egos of small (and large) businesses like mine. It's not a fair awards ranking program. It's a popularity contest and the nominee with the most energy to aggregate votes, wins. Basically, they aren't fair in a number of ways.

The award I really want to win will coming up in a couple of months. It's the Webby Awards. I have no idea if Savvy Auntie is even a finalist yet. But I want that award because it will recognize the team from Syrup that worked so hard and so professionally with me to develop the brand design, website design and strategy, and much more. Plus, it's decided on by experts in the digital media field and not a popularity contest....other than the People's Voice part of the awards program...which is already giving me agita and I haven't even been nominated yet. The primary part of the Webby Awards is about the work that my team did and that is completely legitimate and I honor the opportunity for them to be recognized.

Here's more on the Webby Awards: The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. Established in 1996 during the Web's infancy, The Webbys are presented by
The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a 550-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities.

To be clear, I value the people's votes for Savvy Auntie in these contests more than anything. But I am sick about how it feeds my ego, making me feel like I am part of a high school popularity contest, and so I won't do it anymore. And I won't ask for your votes anymore.

Because that's entirely your decision.

Auntie Melanie

PS - Follow my brand life on Twitter at Please excuse all the "vote for me" tweets from the other day. :)