Category Archives: Blog & Branding

Social Media and The Threat of Assumption on Our Brands

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Today I made a phone call that I have wanted to make for about a year. I called a blogger whom I had been a total jerk to, and whom I had hurt with my words, and apologized. I took full responsibility for my words and my actions, acknowledged how they didn’t deserve to be treated that way and most certainly did not deserve for me to treat them that way. I wasn’t expecting that they would accept my apology, much less that they would ask that we continue our friendship, but I was fortunate in getting both.

For me, acknowledging my bad behavior and wrong doing was essential in my journey to being a better person in life. I am OK with having people disagree with me, see me as someone who has strong opinions that they might not agree with, and even be a bit too much for them due to my strong personality. But what I never want to be remembered as or thought as is as someone who is cruel. That’s not to say that I will please everyone. There are people out there who will still see me as a jerk, and they might even be right. But when I can and where I feel I’ve behaved poorly, I have the responsibility to make it right.

What does all this have to do with social media and the threat of assumption on our brands?

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Figuring Out Where I Belong

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For a long time, too much time within the 5 year span of my blogging, I questioned whether I belonged in certain communities where more seasoned, professional writers would gather.

At some point blogging shifted away from being seen as this superfluous, casual hobby to something of value and worthy of consideration and merit. Those of us who embraced it as a career and acted so began to get on lists that were, until then, reserved for journalists. The tension in the air would often be so thick that you couldn’t help but notice. I had many conversations where journalists would question what it was I did…and how I made my money.

I hesitated for a very long time to call myself a writer. Though people were paying me to do just that. Though I often did so on an award-winning site – my own. But I felt that because I didn’t go to journalism school, and I didn’t dedicate hours upon hours to said career – although one could argue that in pursuing public relations, which is essentially under the same umbrella, and was basically in the same building as a lot of these courses in college, I dedicated some hours – I didn’t feel calling myself a writer was something I deserved, it was not a group I belonged to. I put out a lot of fires this way, “Oh no, I wouldn’t dare call myself a writer,” I would say to a questioning journalist, and I would see the seething judgement calm itself in their eyes. I knew my place. I was clear as to where I belonged.

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Condé Nast’s Choice To Stop Using Interns Might Help With Diversity in Media

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Julia Beck, friend and founder of Forty Weeks, shared this article announcing the news that Condé Nast will stop using the help of interns to avoid liability. Liability that it has faced due to the fact that they have allegedly abused the program (and the interns) by using them as cheap or free labor in a way that is, in my opinion, not surprising but also unacceptable. They are now facing the consequences of their actions. Instead of rectifying their behavior, they are simply eliminating their participation in it all together. You can read the full story here.

Of course, depending on your interests you will probably immediately think of your favorite Condé Nast publication (mine: Condé Nast Traveler) and wonder how they will be affected.

I had a lot of thoughts when I read this article.

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Multicultural Travel Bloggers: The TBEX Dublin Session

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When I received the email from Mary Jo Manzanares to present at TBEX Dublin this year, I cried. I am not too proud to admit that for a lot of reasons. First of all, I love that I can still get excited about things in a line of work that often tends to numb the senses from realizing how incredibly fortunate we are to be doing this, and second because it isn’t often that a person of color is asked to present at a conference not solely dedicated to people of color and as huge as TBEX. Until recently, no one really did. So, this moment was huge, especially because I wasn’t the only one.

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The Legitimate Traveler

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I am still on cloud 9 from my trip to Ireland, which I have to say was probably one of the best trips I have been on in a long time for many reasons: 1) I absolutely love the UK, 2) I got to geek out and talk travel blogging with like-minded geeks at TBEX, 3) I got some serious, sans kids, kissy face time with my husband, and 4) I got to explore a side of my husband’s heritage.

I mean, there’s a lot of serious awesome that happened during this last trip (more on that soon), but I am really happy to be home. I think the overall joy of being home hit me as I drove my kids to school yesterday morning, where I first really noticed how the leaves had changed during my absence and turned my quiet New Jersey neighborhood into a colorful fall wonderland. It finally made my heart burst when I was in the kitchen prepping to bake apple pies I had long promised my family while in between trips, and while my 6-year-old read his favorite stories to me.

Home. Grounded. Still.

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Too Old? The Follow Up & Answer

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Just yesterday, I wrote this. I will admit that I had pretty much started to give up, play that voice in my head of it’s not a big deal. My husband worried that I would draw negative feedback from “the industry”, asked if I had gotten any push back, if I had started to feel the impact of my actions – which was merely speaking out in frustration of a reality that affects so many of us in so many different ways but to a similar result.

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Too Old for Travel Television?

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Warning: this post may contain some ranting.

I was on a trip talking to a friend about travel, the business of it, the art of writing for it, the frustrations, the motivations, everything.

I love that I am myself in the work that I do. All the personality traits that I had to tone down while in corporate are free to come out and play when in travel. I am not in any way reserved or shy (well, yes, I am a little shy, but I fight it all the time and no one can ever really tell that about me), and adventurous and fearless (well, not really, I am often scared, but I fight it all the time so no one can ever really tell that about me).

I am, what they call, young at heart – or immature – it depends on who you ask.

So, in talking to my friend about travel and goals and dreams and aspirations, we touched on the topic of travel media – specifically travel television. I had mentioned to her that I knew of a travel network who was desperately looking to diversify their programming, and that it gave us (us being my fellow travel bloggers of color) a lot of hope because we were hoping they would notice us.

Then my heart sank at the realization that I might not qualify. Because I am 42 years old.

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Road Trip Adventures Twitter Chat with Onstar

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I have been sharing all the fun we had during our 2013 summer road trip adventure and of course, in the process, how much we enjoyed our Yukon Denali with OnStar features (check out Our Road Trip Experience with GMC and OnStar). We just love road trips, and this one was no different. We find them so rewarding and exciting.

Now, I want to share some of that excitement through a Twitter chat with OnStar, who along with co-hosts Jen Miner of The Vacation Gals and Mara Gorman of Mother of All Trips, will be discussing road trip adventures, tips, info, and more.

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No, I Won’t Vote For You…And Here’s Why

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I want to start this post with a story about an experience I had some time ago. I was invited by a reputable travel brand, one that I have enjoyed in the past and still do, to enter a contest that if I won, would make me their official blogger for the duration of a trip where upon arrival I would tweet, Facebook, blog, photograph, and spread the word about.

When I read the invite, I fixated on the part where it read “official blogger for major travel brand”.

Cue El Ego.

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The Role of Media & Diversity: Sticking Out Like A Sore Thumb

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I was at a press event with a little over 35 other travel writers, bloggers, and brand representatives. I was talking to a travel writer about Japan, extremely curious about it because it is one of the places my family and I want to travel to soon. I asked her what her experience was like. In my question, I was thinking about the food, the pace, the language challenges, and even the cost. She answered that it was fast paced, and crowded, and a bit overwhelming at times. But then she added, “It’s weird. Imagine sticking out like a sore thumb because you are the only white person around. It’s just unsettling.”

And as she continued to talk I wondered if at any point it would dawn on her that I didn’t have to imagine being the “only one” because I was, at that very moment in time, experiencing just that. In a room full of over 35 people, I was, in fact, sticking out like a sore thumb. And though I didn’t find the experience unsettling, I do find it interesting that no one else seemed to notice.

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