Women, Work and Family = The Enjoli Woman Venn Diagram

Warning: Anyone reading this that was born after 1980 might not understand the humor.

I saw all the uproar over Anne-Marie Slaughter’s recent Atlantic Monthly cover story “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” but mostly avoided reading much of it. It’s not a new topic (I touched on it back in 2008  in the first month I started this blog) and I wasn’t sure I had the energy for the debate. However, this week I went back and pulled up the original to take a look with new eyes.

What prompted me to do this was the email from my summer sitter saying she was heading off to college earlier than planned. This coming just a week after my husband had his second surgery in two months. While the two weeks notice came with an alternate plan, so myself and the other moms who share the sitter weren’t left in the lurch with another month before school starts, it did prompt me to reassess my family’s needs.

So, after several days of reading – hey, it’s more than an article, it’s like a freaking dissertation and all moms know how hard it is to find a large chunk of free, uninterrupted time to just read – I finally finished it today.

It’s definitely not as inflammatory as I thought it would be by the headline and the level of noise it created. Many parts had me shaking my head YES, rather than shaking it in sadness.

But rather than go through it point-by-point or try to give you the Cliff Notes, what hit me as I mulled it over in the shower this morning was a more humorous take.

Anyone familiar with project management, software development or graphic design will have encountered by now the famous Project Management Triangle – which tells us that while we may all want something done good, fast and cheap, we can really only get two out of three.

So today I bring you the Enjoli Woman Venn Diagram – ta da!Women-Can’t-Have-It-All_Enjoli-Woman-Venn-Diagram

I was about the same age my daughter is now when that commercial came out and it definitely influenced my ideas about what I should be when I grew up. Was I sold a bill of goods?

Maybe. But, I don’t think we just give up. Instead we all need to adjust. This statement from Anne-Marie Slaughter’s story put it well, I think:

“If women are ever to achieve real equality as leaders, then we have to stop accepting male behavior and male choices as the default and the ideal.”

That doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t even happen in a generation or two. But, I still hold out hope that my daughter’s generation might realize it.

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Shades of Gray in Auto-Publishing to Social Media

Recently a study released from HubSpot excited a lot of people when it said that companies that used a social media publishing tool to schedule their social media posts had 3 times as many leads as those that didn’t.HubSpot scheduling bar graph
There are at least 11 free services for scheduling social media updates. And probably just as many for-pay services. Although, just a couple of months ago Facebook took a shot at the business of those services that made scheduling there possible by integrating the ability to schedule posts on pages native to its administration tools. Some think this may become common on all social sites.

But many will argue that auto-scheduling goes against the authentic and transparent nature of what social media should be. There’s the chance that you could be lulled into paying less attention and missing out on important conversation. There have also been several high-profile goofs that happen with auto-scheduling. With the NRA’s errant tweet this week the morning after the Colorado shooting, many of us first assumed it was another example to use to preach against scheduling. It actually turned out to be less of a scheduling problem and more of a listening problem.

I’m not sure which is worse, but I can certainly see how either could happen to any of us who feed content into social media platforms.

So, where do I stand on auto-scheduling? Somewhere right in the middle. I use tools to schedule updates and definitely see the benefits. For example, the ability to keep content flowing while actually taking a vacation, or planning ahead for a product launch or other campaign.

However, when I have scheduled posts during a vacation, I also designated a back-up person who would be watching and listening to the account to ensure that no questions, comments or replies that came up would go unanswered while I was away.

I also think that at any time a good mix of scheduled and unscheduled posts is the best way to go – especially in Twitter where speed and real-time news are so important. No one person can post and monitor 24 hours a day, and I don’t think a majority of fans, friends and followers out there really expect it.

So, go ahead and schedule, I say. But, do so with awareness that it doesn’t mean everything can go on auto-pilot. You still need to be aware of what’s going on – be ready to pull a schedule post down before it goes out if current affairs change the environment it’s going into. Have someone else help watch things if you’re away. And mix in real-time posts that show your audience you really are there.

A Lamentation for Civil Discourse – The Dangerous Mix of Politics and Social Media

On this Fourth of July – Independence Day for us in the United States – I pause to contemplate how social media and has impacted Americans’ political discourse.

Unless you do not have a Facebook account, you have doubtless seen a side you hadn’t seen before of some your friends.  As many as 51 percent of social media users have posted political messages on their Facebook wall.

Why? If they’re hoping to persuade others to their opinion, it isn’t working. Only about one-third (36 percent) of social media users have changed their mind on an issue based on the political content a friend posted.

I enjoy a good debate, so I haven’t always stuck tho the old adage that we should avoid politics, or religion, in polite conversation. But it seems the “polite” part of the conversation has been lost. A debate, by definition, follows parliamentary procedure which is “based on the consideration [my emphasis] of the rights: of the majority, of the minority (especially a large minority greater than one-third), of individual members, of absentee members, of all of these groups taken together.”

I come at this topic today from a very personal point of view. Almost exactly a year ago, someone very close to me had the expression of political viewpoints come between them and a close friend. Because of the inability to respect differing opinions, and the inability to keep opinions out of conversation or within the some sort of rules of order, nearly 50 years of friendship was torn apart. A recent attempt at reconciliation clearly showed one of the two had no room for differing opinions in their life. Being caught up in it feels very much like being in this opening scene from the new series “Newsroom.”

How can we as a nation celebrating our independence today ever hope to change the statistics he quotes in that clip when we spend so much energy fighting each other? We must work together at some point. Someone must compromise.

Without staunch environmentalists, our planet could fall to ruin; but, without the equally fervent pro-development people, we might fall behind in business. Those of us in the large middle desperately do need those on the edges to shake us out of doldrums. But, we also need them to come together at some point in order to ever more forward.

Social media has made it all that much easier to broadcast our beliefs, but I don’t think it’s brought us much in the way of civil discourse.

Back across the pond from whence our founding fathers came, someone is trying to put some order to online debates. Politician Louise Mensch has created what she hopes is a rival to Twitter that aims to “cut out the irrelevant chatter that she says blights the microblogging site.

“We want to encourage people to have conversations rather than broadcast their thoughts,” said her co-founder Luke Bozier.

Interestingly enough, they first launched it only in the U.S., later opening it for users in the UK. Menshn may turn out to be, as Danny Brown says, a non-starter.  I signed up and noticed how quickly the spammers showed up, as well.  But, I do applaud someone for at least trying.

My plea today is for my fellow social media users, and Americans online or offline, to step beyond simply broadcasting vitriolic  messages, alienating anyone who doesn’t share your opinions and reading or listening to only those who say the things you like.

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.