What’s your theme for 2014?

I love Twitter. I get so many ideas, insights and inspiration from the people I follow. I met @trevoryoung in 2008 and he has since become both a mentor and a friend. Trevor posted his three words for the year, and a theme, over on his PR Warrior blog this week. I’m poaching the idea to share here.

My theme for the year is:


I’m undertaking a postgraduate course this year. It’s a 12-month Diploma in Digital Marketing starting in March. It took seven years to complete my degree and it’s taken me this long – nine years – to consider doing formal study again! I’ve completed short courses over the years, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and commitment of a longer course.

I want to learn through books still waiting to be read, including Trevor Young’s Microdomination. I want to keep practicing photography, guitar and singing. Oh, and learn more about web development, social media and management through experience…

My three words are:


I am a control freak master planner. I’ve had five year plans for as long as I can remember. Then I set one year goals to achieve my master plan. This approach to life has served me well because it’s helped me to achieve stuff. Like a degree. But it hasn’t really allowed for new – and dare I say better? – possibilities. So this year I’m going to attempt to plan less and trust more. Take more risks. Let go a little and see what happens. Although, I must admit, I’ve already booked flights to Italy for later this year. Grande!


Last year had a strong focus on personal development and this theme continues in 2014. It’s my seventh year of sobriety and maintaining emotional sobriety is the next frontier. I do regular meditation now and I want to expand this practice. I hope to continue developing Sun on my Parade and its community of women. I want to keep growing personally, professionally and spiritually.


I want to create more healthy, honest and respectful relationships. I’d like to have better boundaries, with less people-pleasing and fewer expectations. I need to start listening more and talking less. I hope to develop more humility and let go of some pride. I’d like to practice better self-care, get more sleep and exercise regularly. I want to become a better work colleague, manager, mentor and friend.

What are your three words for 2014? 

Reflections on 2013

It’s New Year’s Eve tomorrow and it’s been a huge year! Here are my highlights…

I conquered my fear of public speaking.

I was a keynote presenter at the Social Media Marketing in Tertiary Education Conference in Sydney. It was a tough gig – I was the final speaker on the final day. I was so nervous in the lead-up. But when I got on stage, I actually enjoyed it. I received wonderful feedback about my presentation ‘Managing organisational change in 140 characters’ and now I’m not afraid of public speaking at all.

My son finished school.

Forever. It’s been an epic 13 year journey that started at Hilton Primary School in Fremantle and finished at Caulfield Grammar School in Melbourne. He’ll go to University of  Melbourne in 2014 and I’ll figure out what the hell to do with myself now my child is raised.

My team won an award.

Swinburne achieved the second-highest Facebook engagement in Australia’s education sector (Social Pulse Awards 2013).  We also made the top 10 of largest brand pages. Not bad for a core social media team of two – Chris Wong and me. Chris undertook a 12-month Industry-Based Learning placement as Swinburne’s Social Media Officer in 2013. He is a talented, creative and hard-working digital and social media professional. He will complete his degree in 2014 and I cannot recommend him highly enough. Connect with Chris on Linked In or email chriswongstar@gmail.com.

I conquered my fear of performing music in public.

Overcoming my fear of public speaking inspired this. A community organisation I’m involved with held a talent night and I took the opportunity to conquer another fear. I played guitar and sung ‘Mad World’ by Tears for Fears and ‘Your Ghost’ by Kristin Hersh, on stage, to an audience of about 100 people. I don’t know if I’ll do it again, but it ended up being fun and I felt elated afterwards. Feedback was lovely – in fact one person described my performance as ‘mesmerizing’.

I launched Sun on my Parade.

After several years of wanting to do it, I launched a digital magazine for women celebrating the second half of life. Sun on my Parade is a work-in-progress, but I’m proud of myself for giving it a go. So, this post is also to let you know I’ll be busy building that platform in 2014, so I won’t be blogging as much in Summer’s notebook. I’d love you to join the Sun on my Parade community – we’re @sunonmyparade on Facebook,  Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, And if you’re inspired, I’d love you to share a story.

Best wishes for a very happy 2014.


A day in the life of a social media manager

You might imagine that being a social media manager is exciting, glamorous and fabulous. But here’s what a typical day actually looks like… 

7am: Morning alarm goes off. Reach for iPhone and attempt to read mention feed of company’s Twitter stream with sleep in your eyes, glasses off and no coffee. Manage to make out a couple of blurry tweets that need responding to. Decide (wisely) they are best responded to when you can actually see. And have had coffee.

7.10am: Lie in bed trying to picture that awesome piece of content you posted on the Facebook page in your dream last night. It was gold – hundreds of likes, loads of comments and shares galore!

7.15am: Give up trying to remember dream. You’re on your own.

7.20am: First coffee of the day. Good morning!

7.30am: Mentally run through your day. Remember that you still haven’t updated  the social media guidelines,  reconciled your credit card, or worked out what content you will be posting to support major marketing campaign. Feel mildly deflated.

8.30am: Catch train to work and respond to company’s Twitter mentions. Check email, Twitter, Linked In and Instagram news feeds. Try to check Facebook page but the app is so slow you give up. Post good morning shout-outs to favourite tweeps instead.

9am: Get to work. Second coffee of the day. You’re going to need it.

9.10am: Log on. Open Hootsuite, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, the company website, campaign website and editorial calendar in different tabs.

9.15am: Check your official Facebook page. Notice the Talking about This (TAT) figure has dropped overnight. Feel wave of panic. Immediately decide to boost today’s post.

9.20: Write to-do list to regain sense of control. Delegate as much as possible to junior staff member. Left with customer service, check what content we need for next week, source awesome boost-able image for today’s post, present on your social media strategy at a meeting, update budgeting doc, get Facebook competition site set-up, develop campaign schedule, edit Tumlbr post, overflowing inbox … start to feel slightly overwhelmed.

10am: Customer service time. Get sense of impending doom – then remember you can assign customer service to other teams now. Happily assign what you can. Think about what a smart, savvy, time-saving system you’ve set up.

10.05am: Spend 20 minutes drafting perfect social responses to the unassigned comments – corporate but authentic, friendly but polite, informal but professional, intelligent but not patronising. Post. Time is ticking.

10.25am: Reply to one of your favourite tweeps and include #YOLO. Think about how young, cool and hip you sound. Get distracted by an angry tweet in your monitoring streams.

10.40am: Spot a great post by a competitor in your Facebook news feed. Ain’t nobody got time for that… Feel another wave of panic.

10.41am: Go through editorial calendar to see what’s coming up and what needs doing. Try to spot the social media gold. Decide that funny Friday meme is the one to lift the TAT. Adrenaline kicks in.

10.50: Check in with junior staff member who is working on the meme. Have a good laugh and then start providing feedback. Realise you’ve opened with ‘this meme has to go really well, it’s really important’ and have a vague idea that you might be putting the kid under pressure. Start providing high-level strategic feedback like ‘make the grass greener’ and ‘the sky needs to more blue.’

11am: Go into a meeting. Try to resist the urge to refresh Twitter mention feed 20 times during the one hour meeting. Fail.

12noon: Need fresh air. Brisk walk to sushi shop and back. Stop and get coffee number three. Instagram it.

12.20pm: Wade through your inbox full of requests for content to go on Facebook and Twitter. Reply to emails and schedule posts in editorial calendar. Spend too long drafting diplomatic email saying no to a request for a Facebook post promoting the new chairs in meeting room 101.

1pm: Wonder if your boss would support you abandoning email and having staff tweet you content ideas instead. Realise your business is probably not quite social enough for that yet.

2pm: Realise you’ve forgotten (again) to update Pinterest and Google+. Hastily post content on both before anyone notices.

2.15pm: Someone tweets that a room has been evacuated and there’s a fire engine. Call Security to find out what’s going on and tweet back.

2.17pm. Someone tweets asking where they can access power boards. Track down answer via four phone calls and tweet. Get shirty response back about there not being enough power boards around the place.

2.30m: Check Facebook page and respond to random comments and one rant on the Wall. Refresh page to see if any new likes appear on today’s post. Feel momentarily smug to see five new notifications. Realise four of them are posts by others on your Wall. Feel deflated again.

3pm: Remember that you still haven’t updated the social media guidelines. Put it on your to-do list.

4pm: Find out the new company videos you want to post on social have copyright issues and can’t go on YouTube. Start trying to solve the issue.

4.15pm: Junior staff member tells you the grass is greener and the sky is bluer. He races off to take a photo of a visiting wombat at the Library. Social media gold – run!

4.30pm: Spot Vine video of wombat in Twitter feed. Watch it and have a laugh. Wonder why there is a wombat at the Library today.

4.31pm: Someone tweets asking why there is a wombat at the Library today.

5pm: Everyone else leaves the office. You get into a conversation on Twitter about the wombat that’s still going at 5.30pm. Someone emails you with questions about the videos that can’t go on YouTube. Leave office at 6pm and continue Twitter and email conversations on phone on train.

7pm: Check company’s Twitter and Facebook. Realise you haven’t thought about your own social media and personal brand. Tweet some links from LinkedIn.

8pm: Think you really should update your own blog. Start writing humorous piece without your glasses on.

11pm: Post it. Tweet it. Realise your *humorous* post may not actually be that great for your personal brand. Get distracted by sharing other people’s stuff. Eyes are blurry. Feels like 7am again.