Where’s Waldo – or rather Where’s Sarah #mynewjob

With 18 hours until I start my new job (the nerves are kicking in), I think it is now time for me to share with you where you’ll be able to find me starting Monday morning.

A number of you already know because either  a) you are a good detective or b) you have run into me at an event and I have shared the news with you.

Tomorrow I will start my new role as Social Media Specialist with the London Convention Centre.

I look forward to taking on this new role and cannot wait to get to know everyone a the London Convention Centre.

My primary responsibilities will be to manage website content (I’ll do my best not to break the website Echidna!), including the LCC blog, and to manage all social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).

I will fulfill other duties outside of these, but these will be my main responsibilities and the things you see me doing.

 

Here are all of the links:

London Convention Centre Website

London Convention Centre Blog

London Convention Centre Fan Page (Facebook)

London Convention Centre Group (Linked In)

London Convention Centre Twitter Account (@LondConvCentre)

 

I expect the number of fans, group members and followers to shoot up in the next week because all of you are going to follow me at work right? 

 

Feel free to send me a message to say hi, or to ask questions or make comments.

If you have any suggestions for content that you would like to see discussed on the LCC blog or on any of the social media platforms, feel free to send me a message via the @LondConvCentre twitter account or through my personal @Sadie_Liz account and I will see what I can do to address the topics that you suggest when possible.

Also if you have any favourite resources for any of the following feel free to send them my way, I would love to see them.

– Social Media or Social Media Metrics

– Emerging Technologies

– Conferences/Trade Shows

– Event Planning

– Presenting

– Business Meetings

– Wedding Planning

– Anything else you enjoy

 

Working at the LCC will mean that I am spending my days in London; this will allow me to attend more events and participate in more things happening in the London community. I have already started attending Geek Dinner (#gdldn) and I have joined Emerging Leaders. I look forward to getting involved in more things, including working with the Chamber again, and getting involved with the IABC and other community groups.

Hopefully being in London on a daily basis will allow me to continue to get to know the people I have met over the last couple of months (and maybe years for some) and meet even more great people in the London community.

I look forward to being a part of the London professional community!

Don’t be shy, if you see me in person or online, say hi!

 

 

Getting Started in Social Media and Overcoming Fears

Excuses. Excuses. Excuses!

People and companies are constantly coming up with reasons why they aren’t using Twitter or Facebook, LinkedIn or other sites and why they aren’t blogging.

“It’s a fad”

“I don’t get it”

“No one is following me”

“No one cares what I have to say”

“I have nothing worth saying”

“I’d have to check the legalities” (really?!)

“It could hurt our business”

“What if people say something bad about us?”

“I don’t know how to use it”

“It won’t do anything for me or my business”

“I tried it, but it didn’t do anything”

“It’s too much work”

“It’s too time consuming”

“It’s a waste of time”

“It will decrease productivity in my company”

Honestly, that is only the tip of the iceberg,  I have heard many more excuses for the resistance to social media.

First off let me say this, Social Media and Digital Communications is not a fad, it is here to stay, so either get with it, or be left behind. I know that is kind of harsh, but really, at this point, it is the truth. If you aren’t using social media and your competition is, odds are they are going to generate more new business than you are and they may even tap into your existing business.

One statistic I found said that 77% of the Canadian population is online. Presumably in areas with a higher population density (like London) that number increases. Based on another statistic I found a lot of those 77% of people are spending a fair chunk of their time on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. If a minimum of 77% of you clients are online spending most of their time on social networking sites, how can you possibly argue that social media isn’t for your business?

These are some of the tips that I have for people who aren’t yet using Social Media, or who are just starting out.

1) Start small. Sometimes companies will jump in both feet first creating accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and WordPress and who knows what else and then it becomes too much to handle and accounts go idle. Social Media is a use it or lose it medium. If you create a social media account you need to use it and keep it up to date and active. A dead or stale account can do more harm to a business or a brand than not having one at all (and no that is not an argument to not have a presence at all). Start with one or two accounts and learn how to manage them and then expand from there when you are ready and able to manage more.

2) Don’t worry so much. People seem completely preoccupied with all of the bad things that could happen in social media. One business I talked to said “What if I create a Facebook Page and people write negative or untrue comments?” I understand that this is a concern and a valid one, but you need to have more faith in people. Faith that there are a lot more people out there that want build you up, than those who want to tear you down. Also faith that if you’ve built a strong brand and someone says something negative, the people who know your brand aren’t going to buy into it and they will likely defend it for you.  Also in any business there will occasionally be unsatisfied customers, social media allows companies the opportunity to address those comments and exercise some customer services. If you aren’t online to defend your brand, then negative comments are left to interpretation. If you are online you can address issues and even if you cannot please that customer, making the effort to do so will show others how much you value your customers and what you will do to make sure that they have a positive experience.

3) People do business with people they know and trust. Social Media offers the opportunity for businesses to put a human voice (or several) to a corporate image. Sharing conversations with people who are following you, or who like your page helps build relationships. Blogging about something that is meaningful to you on your company website, even if it doesn’t necessarily relate to your business, offers people reading something human to connect with. If you blog about your kids, your pets, your hobbies, or a charity that is important to you, you are offering people access to you as a person. From there relationships can be built and sometimes those relationships can translate to business.  My philosophy on this is “build it and they will come” build the relationships first and when there is a need for the business, it will come.

4) Use tools and settings that make it easy for you to manage social media. Programs and sites like TweetDeck, Hootsuite and Seesmic allow you to bring together a number of your social media platforms in one place. You can watch feeds from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare and more all from one place, without having to sign into half a dozen different accounts and remember what the passwords are. Also take time to go through the settings for each of your social media accounts, it may take a bit of time, but it will save a lot of headaches in the future. Use the tools available, for example, Lists on Twitter are a great thing that few people use. Lists can be Public or Private and they allow you to stream the Tweets from the people that you follow into more manageable feeds. This can also be done in Facebook (Accounts) by creating Lists for your friends; you can stream your feed to view updates by certain groups only. There are many tools like this throughout social media, look for them, if you set them once, they can be really helpful.

5) Create a Social Media Policy for your company. Make it clear the expectation that you have for the members of your company regarding their use of social media. Make it clear who is responsible for what aspects of company Social Media. Create outline for acceptable content and behaviour. If you provide the people in your company with an organized structure for social media it will create cleaner more concise messaging for your company.

6) Have Fun! Enjoy the time you spend using social media. Get to know other people. Learn from other people or teach other people. Share interests. Talk, laugh and share memories or experiences. If you are enjoying yourself and what you are saying online (as long as it isn’t offensive), people will be drawn to you. It is like real life, if you are in a room with people, who are you going to go towards, the group of people laughing and enjoying their conversation, or the people standing stiffly in a corner barely carrying a conversation? If you are having fun, other people will have fun with you; a positive attitude goes a long way.

7) Turn virtual connections into real life connections when possible. Social Media is a great way to get to know people and create the opportunity to interact with them in real life. There several people now who I have followed on Twitter who I have since met in real life and I feel like I have created solid relationships with these people. There is now a person that they can attach to the virtual identity, which in my opinion adds more value to my personal brand both online and in real life. Conversations in social media can create relationships without a doubt, but there is still something to be said for human connection, it can strengthen the bonds and relationships that you have already built online. Being active in social media gives you a constant presence in the lives of the people who are connected to you, as opposed to real life connections that may only generate contact once or twice a year. Combine the two to create stronger bonds.

8 ) Say something. I think one of the biggest concerns I’ve heard, and one I’ve had myself is that I wouldn’t have anything to say that would add value. That was my reason for not starting a blog, or for starting it and stopping half a dozen times. I didn’t think I had anything to contribute, because there are many people out there smarter than I am and I didn’t think I had anything to offer that hadn’t already been offered. I realized though that I just needed to dive in and say something. It didn’t need to be world-changing writing, but it needed to be something meaningful or interesting to me. While we are all unique individuals, there are people out there who share our interests who will be interested in what we have to say or even if they aren’t they may care enough about us to want read it anyways. We all just need to have the courage to say something and not be afraid that the world is going to reject us, because not matter what some people may tell us, everyone has something to offer.

When Social Media No Longer Works Pt 2.

I wrote a blog earlier tonight called When Social Media No Longer Works addressing a pet peeve of mine and using the JLC as an example.

That blog, if you don’t wish to go read it, was about how organizations/venues/groups sometimes become an annoyance when they send out event invites for absolutely everything to the people who like or follow them.

I’d had that problem with the JLC (among others) in the past. Every time they announced an event I’d get an event invite. Which yes it’s an event invite, it’s really not hard to get rid of the notification and click Not Attending, Attending or Maybe, but still after the first dozen you get tired of them.

Now let me just say once again, I love the JLC and have total respect for their marketing and communication team. They do a great job with their marketing, especially their social media. Very few organizations put that much effort into their social media, answering questions, finding information, sharing information, asking questions, offering contests, engaging the audience in every way. How their marketing department works is probably why my resume has appeared in the department a couple of times over the years.

That post got me thinking about some of the mistakes that organizations make with their social media, or even their websites.

  • Stale Content / Lack of New Content
    It has always bothered me when I visit a website and return months later to find the exact same content. Websites should be informative and should spark communication. When there is stale information, it can be hard to put your confidence in it and it can make you wonder where else a company or organization is dated/lacking attention.
    Facebook & Twitter are more about the Lack of New Content. Information may not necessarily become stale, but there is a need for a constant stream of new communication in social media. Social Media is meant to be social. It is about engaging your audience and it is hard to engage your audience if you aren’t present creating a dialogue or the opportunity for a dialogue.
  • TMI – Too Much Information – if you tweet or share anything and everything you are going to lose your following. Tweeting or Sharing this way might be alright for personal accounts but, business accounts function a bit better when they focus on what they do best or things that are relate. Some information, while it may be entertaining, may not be valuable or relevant to those who follow what you are saying. Also if you post/tweet too much, you’re going to drown out everything else for your followers. You will make it hard for them to find other content that is important to them. Ultimately people will unfollow the few (you) for the greater good of the many if you are tweeting/sharing too much that isn’t relevant.
  • Broadcasting vs. Engaging – as I said, Social Media is social. Some companies start a Twitter Account and don’t follow anyone and post nothing more than links to their website or company focused updates or they create a Facebook Page and turn off the wall. Twitter and Facebook are about talking to people, or contributing content that can create a dialogue. These virtual environments are also about recognizing people, sharing information, growing ideas – in other words about establishing relationships and engaging communities. It is amazing the things that people can do if they engage in social media. There are a ton of initiatives that have gained momentum through social media, just in this area.
  • Forgetting – Creating Social Media and forgetting about it. If you are going to create a Twitter Account or a Facebook Page, use it. If you don’t use it it’s probably better to delete it, because a Facebook Page or Twitter Account that is not maintained is doing way more harm than good.
  • Lack of Response – If someone posts a question on your Facebook Page or @mentions you on twitter with a question respond to it as soon as possible. I had a recent situation with a local company, I tweeted them about a month ago with a question and got a response two days ago, this to me is not acceptable. Social Media has an expectation of immediacy attached to it. In Twitter I (personally) expect a response within 2 days at most. In Facebook, I give it a week at most to have a question addressed. After those periods of time I’m lost. I have either forgotten what I said, because it happened ‘so long ago’ or I’ve moved on to someone else who can answer my question. It’s basically customer service; how happy are you when you’re kept on hold for 2 hours? Or if you call a company and they don’t return the call? If it is a post on a Facebook Page that really doesn’t require a response, hit the “Like” button, that can show that you’re reading and paying attention to what is being said on your page.
  • Individual vs Community – Twitter is not really about the individual, well it maybe is, but only in the sense of the individual’s contribution to the community. If a company or individual on social media is all about hearing themselves talk (reading themselves write) there is no room for the community to participate. It is important to interact with the people around you in social media. Engage with what other people are saying, answer questions, ask questions, start a conversation or retweet a message. If someone you are following announces a success or something, congratulate them, share the success (if you think others who follow you would find it valuable), this builds a relationship; if you are there to support someone, they will be more inclined to be there to support you.
  • Listen! Twitter and Facebook are, in my opinion, a wealth of knowledge, Twitter especially. Some of the most interesting and intelligent people I know are people who I follow on Twitter (and if you follow me on twitter and are reading this, I probably mean you). The people I follow on twitter (and those who I don’t) come from a variety of backgrounds. It is amazing the knowledge and experience people have and who knows some of that knowledge and experience could help make your next project even better.
  • Over Following  (This is for twitter) – some people make the mistake of following everyone they come across. This is often in an attempt to inflate their following/followers numbers. If you are following too many people it is hard to filter the conversations and find the hidden gems that could be relevant or beneficial to you. If you do follow a lot of people, I highly suggest you use Lists and categorize the people you are following. This way you can focus on certain streams at certain times and follow along or participate in conversations.

These are just a few of the things I have noticed over time, but I will continue to add tips, tricks and mistakes for social media on this blog, heck I may even (or will likely) make some mistakes myself. I am by no means perfect, but I’ll keep trying to get close.

When Social Media Marketing No Longer Works

This Blog entry will be about a social media pet peeve of mine that has to do with Facebook, “Like”ing and Events.

I am a firm believer in social media marketing. I think it has brilliant potential to reach audiences and connect people. That being said social media marketing only works as long as you are not annoying your audience.

This Blog post will look at something that the John Labatt Centre (and other venues) does in its social media marketing that bothers me. Now let me preface this by saying I love the John Labatt Centre (JLC) and applaud them for embracing social media in their marketing efforts. I have on numerous occasions purchased tickets and attended events at the John Labatt Centre.

I follow the JLC on Twitter and it’s great. I find out about events and concerts and get to offer suggestions when they ask the twittersphere who they should bring to the JLC next. So I have really have no issue with the JLC on twitter.

I “Like” the JLC on Facebook. In a number of ways I’m fine with how the JLC uses their fan page, but there is one aspect of their Facebook marketing that irks me. It’s their use of Events.

Every time that the JLC announces an event (often several at one time) they create an event page for the event and send an event invite to every person who likes their page. I’ve heard that FM96 is guilty of this too, along with other venues, groups and organizations in other locations.

I get the purpose of setting up an “Event Page” for a concert or event happening at the JLC and I don’t have a problem with that. Setting up an event allows people to RSVP and connect with other people attending the event. It allows the JLC to make announcements and updates for the event and from an evaluations standpoint the Facebook Event Page allows the JLC to do a quick analysis of the event attendance: who is attending, male, female, age group, who is interested, who isn’t interested. This information helps them to potentially streamline their other marketing efforts for that event to maximize exposure to the appropriate demographic.

My problem is that the JLC is sending out event invites for (seemingly) every single event. The JLC announces an event, or announces several events and I have little red notification flags and a scrolling list of events running down the right hand side of my Facebook Homepage. I think “Yay I have a message”, or that a friend has invited me to a party and most of the times it is just another JLC announcement that, as of late, means very little to me.

I “Like” the JLC page, so that I get all of their updates. When they announce a show through a wall post on their page, it shows up in my feed. When the JLC shares something it shows up in my feed. If it’s in my feed I can read it (and click on a link) if I want to or  simply scroll past it if I’m not interested. If it’s an event invite I have to clear the notification and RSVP to the event and it’s still in my list of events even after I RSVP “Not Attending”.

Now it’s been a while since I’ve created an event (and maybe this isn’t the case anymore), but I’m pretty sure there is a “Share” Button on the event page, so if the JLC creates an event and clicks “share” that story will then appear in the home feeds of all of the people who “Like” the JLC (providing stories haven’t been filtered by users). It simply appears in the feed, there is no notification, there is no event appearing in the event panel of my homepage, and there is no need for me to RSVP to it if I’m not interested. (If this isn’t an option, my apologies, but I still find these event invites a bit annoying.)

I have no issue with being invited to things by my friends, but being ‘blanket’ invited to absolutely everything a venue or radio station hosts annoys me. My friends are at least inviting me to things they think I will be interested in attending. An organization doing these mass invites though are inviting me because they’re trying to fill the seats and make money not because it is something I will likely be interested in. These mass invites are somewhat off-putting to me and they make my mouse wander towards the “unlike” option on a page.

The JLC hosts a lot of events throughout the year, several events each month typically. Smaller organizations that run a couple of events a year can probably get away with sending out event invites. A large venue such as the JLC that has numerous events annually (attracting diverse and differing groups),  will end up annoying its audience with these never-ending event invites.

The worst part is that it is a catch-22. I want to “Like” the JLC so that I can find out about events, see announcements and interact with other people who attend events, but I don’t want the notifications and event invites every time there is a new event. It makes me want to “Unlike” the JLC and simply rely on the twitter updates (that often get buried in my feed).

Like I said though, I love the JLC, it is a great venue that has brought in some great acts. I have great respect for their marketing department as well, they do a lot of great work, it is just this one little thing that bothers me. The JLC by no means is the only “Page” guilty of doing this, I’ve had friends complain of the same thing from their favourite radio stations or venues in their area.

Social Media is a great communications tool, but it no longer works (or isn’t as effective) if you’re annoying your audience.

My Dream Job

The phrase “dream job” has for some reason always thrown me for a loop. People ask me what my dream job is and I blank, or ramble on in a wishy-washy kind of manner.

I don’t know why defining my dream job trips me up so much. Maybe I’m afraid if say it out loud someone will take it from me, which is ridiculous because if I don’t say it out loud, no one is taking it from me, but I am keeping it from myself.

I think part of it is that I often been told that my dreams are unrealistic or childish.  For a decade now (since high school) my focus has been on finding a career and job that I love. I do not want to be one of those miserable people who dreads going to work on a daily basis and who lets their dislike of their job negatively impact every other aspect of their life. I want a job that makes me happy, but others have told me that I need a job that makes me financially stable. I don’t see why I can’t have both.

I want to be the person that looks forward to waking up each morning and going to work. I want to be the person who can’t help but brag about how great their jobs is. I want to enjoy the work that I do and feel like it is making a difference or helping someone else to be or do the best they can.

That’s what I love about technology, it has the potential to help people be or do the best they can. Technology has the power to bridge gaps and connect people in ways previously inconceivable. It is not the technology itself though, it is how people use the technology that gives it power.

I’ve had a computer in my house my entire life. I’m 26 (almost 27), so I’m not part of the generation where this fact would be the norm. My grade 8 graduation class prediction (by my class) was that I would be a computer programmer.

Well that didn’t happen, I fell in love with media and journalism in high school and followed that path to Brock University where I studied Popular Culture. While I was at Brock I met a 3M Award winning Professor named Barry Joe who taught classes on Computer Mediated Communications, which in 2003 was something still relatively new. It may not have new, but it was still somewhat ‘niche’ it hadn’t grabbed a hold of the mass market yet.

These classes combined the two things I loved the most, technology and communications. This was the path I saw my career heading down, I wanted a career in digital communications. During my post-secondary career, at both Brock and Fanshawe I was an advocate for Virtual Educational Environments. I believed that digital communications in an educational setting helped to elevate the academic experience. The traditional education model was Professors Lecturing or Dictating information to their students. Digital environments helped to collapse the educational hierarchy and allowed students to take control over the direction of their education. Digital environments offered students freedom, which gave them the confidence (often through anonymity) to ask questions and present ideas that they were otherwise hesitant to verbalize in a real life classroom

So what is my dream job?

Social Media Coordinator for the Toronto Blue Jays would be great, but since that probably isn’t in the cards (at least not yet) my dream job is:

  • A job where I can help others (or a company/organization) achieve their communications goals through the use of technology (website, social media), and possibly traditional communications.

Arguably that would be an ideal position for me, but I wouldn’t mind a position that included that either or that included any/all of the following:

  • Communications Planning
  • Social Media Planning
  • Writing/Researching/Interviewing
  • Web Content Management
  • Event Planning
  • Graphic Design
  • Client Relations/Facilitation
  • Media Relation

In additional to these things I would really like to work with a company/organization that has a strong corporate culture. By that I mean work within a company where people know each other, interact with each other, help and support each other.  A place where people yes get their work done and are professional, but also know how to laugh and have fun. A company that is not only engaged internally, but engaged externally in  community initiatives or projects. A place that encourage continuous growth and development.

So if you know of any jobs that fit this description please feel free to comment below. Or if you have a job like this available, I’m your girl!

Past Projects – Part 2

This goes back to 2008 and yet again another post-secondary story, this time from Fanshawe

CC&PR Orientation via Social Media

Every year the Corporate Communication and Public Relations class (or half of it) at Fanshawe runs a program orientation for prospective students. I attended it the year before I entered the program and was lucky enough to be on the project the following year.

The summer before I started the program I created a Facebook Group for the 2007-2008 CC&PR class and sought out other people who were starting in the program. I was a bit of a social media nerd, so I used that to my advantage to get to know some of the people in my program before the first day of class. This kind of through the faculty off when we got to Fall Program Orientation and most of us already knew each other, which had never happened to them before. The Facebook Group was a great tool for us throughout the year. We used to it track what projects were due when, set up social outings, joke around or help each other.

So when I got put on the spring orientation project for the class of 2008-2009 I immediately thought to create a Facebook Group for them, like I had for my class. I figured it would be a great tool for those of us running orientation, for prospective students and for the actual class of 2008-2009. When I set up the group for orientation I invited current students, alumni I had connected with and Faculty. All of which were given titles in the group so prospective students would know who was faculty, who was alumni, who was a current student and who was a prospective student like themselves.

When we were drafting the invitation for the orientation we made sure to include a the name of the group and how to find it on Facebook. A number of prospective students joined the group and asked questions of the faculty, alumni and current students. It gave prospective students a real opportunity to connect with people who’d already gone through the program to get the best idea of what to expect. It also gave them an idea of the type of people they would be experiencing the program with.

When I created the group I thought it would be a great addition to the actual orientation that we were holding at the college. I figured that we’d probably have a couple join before orientation, but that many would join the group after the orientation to connect with the people they had met there.  ( I know I’d wanted to connect with people after my orientation the previous year).

This was not the case at all though. The Facebook Group I created as an ‘extra’ to orientation became the orientation after London was hit with a massive snowstorm the day of the orientation. The day of the orientation the area got nailed with the worth snowstorm of the year. It took me 3 hours to drive from my house 20 minutes west of London to Fanshawe College. When I came out of the college I had to kick a path out of the snow so I could drive out of the parking lot, I drove 20km the entire way home and still ended up in the ditch.

Anyways, the day of orientation a large part of my orientation team was not able to make it through the snow and only 5 or so prospective students made it through the weather to orientation, a far cry from the 40-ish we were expecting might attend.

My team had worked so hard to put together orientation and we were upset that only 5 or so of the prospective students were able to reap the benefits of our hard work.

That’s when I really made a push for the Facebook Group I’d created. Another message was sent out to prospective students and I had the chair of our department direct potential students to the Facebook Group if they contacted her. 

I spent a fair amount of time on that Facebook Group answering questions of potential students. I also discovered Slideshare during this project. Slideshare is a web-based site that allows you to upload Powerpoint presentations or PDFs for people to view (in case you are unfamiliar with it). I uploaded all of the materials my team had created for orientation to SlideShare and posted the links to the Facebook Group for people who weren’t able to make it through the snow to orientation. 

I kept control of the page until the following school year started and then gave it the class of 2008-2009 to do with as they wished.

It seems like a really simple idea, and truth is it was. Levering social media, really what could be easier, but it impressed my teachers and helped the prospective students. I’ve had a couple people from the 2008-2009 class who commented on it when I met them, which was awesome.

I have recycled the idea as an alumni. I created a group on LinkedIn from Alumni from the CC&PR program. The CC&PR program is more than a decade old now and has a diverse group of alumni working in various jobs in various locations. The group hasn’t reached it’s full potential yet, but it is a great collective of alumni from the program, that I now feel like I have some form of connection to, even if it is only through LinkedIn. Hopefully once I have more stable job and feel like I have some wisdom to offer I’ll be able to spark some more conversations and really tap into the knowledge of the talented CC&PR alumni, which will hopefully help all of the alumni to keep learning and growing in our chosen profession.

Twitter Jays – Arencibia Under Attack #jays

I just read an interesting/infuriating comment on Facebook regarding the Blue Jays rookie catcher JP Arencibia. There was a post from the Blue Jays organization regarding the auctioning of one of JP Arencibia’s game used broken bats (a bit odd, but hey someone will pay good money). One of the comments (not that different from some others I have seen) said ” … [Arencibia] blocks followers on Twitter whose comments he doesn’t like. The young man is childish and immature.”

I’m sorry, but that comment is ridiculous. I’ve followed a lot of the chatter towards Blue Jays players and the people who have been blocked, aren’t really innocent, so I don’t blame Arencibia for his actions.

One, there’s probably a mandate about that kind of situation in the league’s social media policy. The whole act in the best interest of the team and of the league, do nothing to negatively represent the MLB … so on and so forth.

Two, I think that Arencibia’s actions are completely respectable. Let’s think about this, say you’re on your twitter account and someone follows you only to mention or message you talking trash about you or your family, what exactly are you going to do? Personally I would block the person, wouldn’t most people? I would not bother engaging with them, because honestly that would do me no good. Engaging would only feed the troll and bring me down to its level. Now some people would bite back at someone who is taking pot shots at them or their family, but based on what I’ve seen I think JP Arencibia is a pretty classy guy. Also Arencibia is a professional and a role model. There is a time and place to defend yourself and there is a time to walk away, and Arencibia blocking trash talkers to me is the same as walking away, which I respect. Engaging could do serious damage to his career and his personal brand, not to mention the team, league and charitable brands he’s a part of.

Three, Arencibia is a professional baseball player, with huge expectations on his shoulders. It is his job to come to the ballpark everyday and do his very best. Again lets look at this in a different context. If you got up and went to work everyday and were berated by people (who really have no first hand understanding of your job) telling you that you’re no good at your job and are worthless as a person, how do you think that would make you feel? How do you think those comments would impact your attitude or your ability to do your job? Now you can sit there and say you wouldn’t let it affect you, or argue that JP Arencibia is a public figure and a professional athlete making millions of dollars a year, but the heart of the matter is that he is still just a man not impervious to the sticks and stones people throw at him. I don’t care who you are, if people are telling you day in and day out that you’re a screw up and not worth it, it’s going to start affecting you. As a professional athlete things happen; professional athletes make errors and go through slumps and they beat themselves up about it, more than anyone else possibly could. Athletes have to work hard to keep their confidence, because if they go on the field without it, their opponents will capitalize. The best way for anyone to keep their confidence is to block out all of the negative comments, only leaving room for the positive ones.

So people can sit there and call Arencibia immature for blocking the negative nellies out in the twittersphere, or he can be commended for having the maturity to do his job and have some class while doing it.

As fans we tend to think we have the right to complain when our team or a player screws up and Twitter has made it easy for us to take our complaints directly to the players. Players like Arencibia are CHOOSING to be on twitter, are choosing to give fans access, are choosing to engage. Players don’t have to be on twitter with clearly identifiable verified accounts, but they choose to do that for their fans and for the sport. I applaud players like Arencibia for putting themselves out there in that way and I give them credit for handling the naysayers in a mature and professional manner. Furthermore I thank Arencibia for not letting the actions of a few ruin it for the many. He could have easily said ‘screw it’ and cancelled his twitter account when hundreds of people laid into him over a base running error, but he didn’t.

Fans forget that these professional athletes are still only humans. Humans who make mistakes, humans who have emotions and humans who are making huge sacrifices. These players are hard enough on themselves when they aren’t living up to their potential. Anyone who’s been watching this season has seen how hard this year’s team is on itself. I don’t know that I have seen this much passion in a Jays team in a long time and it is something I can’t help but respect. I feel bad for the players when they are so hard on themselves, but I am so proud of them for caring that much about the game, about the team and about the fans.

I will continue to watch all of the Jays games and support the Blue Jays til the bitter end. Sure I will be frustrated at times over bad plays or missed opportunities, but I will always support my team and believe that they will triumph. I will continue to follow them on twitter, and make them trend nationwide whenever possible. I will continue to hope that people will realize that their idolized players are only human and that words hurt and they make an impact. We are fans and we are here to pick up our team when they are down. We are here to have faith in our boys of summer, when they have lost faith in themselves. We are here to talk trash of the Yankees and Red Sox in honour of our boys in blue.

So with that, LETS GO BLUE JAYS! Time to get the Rays back on their losing streak and give die-hard Jays fans something to really cheer about!