Friday, June 22, 2012


{Photos by Doug Switalski}
I'm here to make a few confessions. Some of you may be able to relate, and some of you may think that I'm just crazy or something, but as a blogger and a small business owner, it's something that has been on my mind for a long time. Here are some thoughts On being connected. It may be a little disjointed so hang in there, I swear it all comes together.

When I get too busy, or when I have days like today too often (overwhelming and emotional...) I wonder if I am too connected. Do we, as a generation (or a community of young successful women, for that matter) make our complaints too public, take others opinions too seriously/personal, our personal lives too transparent, are we too comfortable with strangers because there is a screen of some sort between us? Do we share too much, or do we chose what we want to share? I know that subject has been touched on before, the perfect-life blogger syndrome. I won't go into that too much, You know how I feel. But I do have some unexplored thoughts on being connected.
AS A BLOGGER I tend to lean to the more personal side of blogging. I will throw in the random recipe or outfit post, but my blog is a pretty good reflection of whats happening in my life at the time, what I am doing (usually revolving around our business) and what I care about/love at that moment. It changes often, and I'm okay with that. I'll tell you when I have a cold or when I get an exciting email, or when I am hungry/tired/happy/sad/grumpy. It's a way to connect with people and also a way for me to share what's on my mind. I do wonder sometimes if it's too much. should I not have said something, will it hurt someones feelings if I say that I hate a certain movie that is their favorite or if I think something is dumb. I worry that somebody will read a joke I write on twitter and take it the wrong way. It's silly insecurities that make me second guess (or even go as far as delete) something I have said or shared. Am I being true to the nature of social media by self censoring and even altering the past? I don't really have a answer to that question.

There is an obvious {and deliberate} connection between who I am as a person {blogger} and who I am as a business. My twitter account is full of little pieces of my life, sharing link to things I love, promoting other businesses, my personal opinions on the weather in Chattanooga and Lays potato chips (hot right now and an excellent snack, in case you were wondering.) But sometimes when I take a step back and see the way others approach being a business owner and a blogger, it makes me question my approach. I also wonder if who I am as an individual has ever shaped the way a person judges our business. Is that a good thing or bad? I mean, do you know who Pizza Hut is? Or Anthropology? When "Anthropology" (whoever that is...) has a bad day, I bet they don't cry to their friends on twitter, but I guess, really, that's the difference between big business and little old us. At the end of the day, I feel okay about being myself in all aspects of my life. I mean really, how boring would my social media accounts be if they were only about sunglasses. Boooooring. But that's just me. I know plenty of people who keep separate accounts for their business and their personal life. I know people who hate twitter/blogging for personal reasons and only use it for business, and others who own successful businesses and only use twitter/facebook/blogging for personal reasons. What works best for you?
I always do everything to the 1000000th degree. I take too many photos, post too much on twitter (I'm not one to be constricted by 140 characters) and I used to be pretty connected on facebook, but that's become less and less lately. I like talking to friends on twitter and I enjoy seeing and sharing photos on instagram, even if it's just of what we ate or what my shoes look like. I like that shit. And I like seeing other peoples everyday stuff. I've talked on here before about how hard it is for me to maintain friendships. I am a homebody and I am incredibly self conscious. Even if I come across confident, I'm usually beating myself up over every word that comes out of my mouth. So, the friends that I have made through blogging and the Etsy community have really changed my life in a big way. I think that's the best part about being connected. I can text someone, or send them a tweet, or comment on their blog, and stay connected in all these ways since most of my amazing friends live so far away from me.

As for the business part of it. Oh, business. I am not a born and bred business person. I am an artist. Free spirit, right brain, procrastinator and professional mess maker. But, I have fallen into the role of business lady extraordinaire and baby jesus as my witness, I will do my best to be good at it. How the heck is being too connected related to this. Firstly, when someone posts a photo on twitter or instagram wearing our sunglasses, that they got their sunglasses in the mail, etc, I get giddy! It makes me so happy! I retweet, repost, like on facebook, and spread the link as much as I can. Because I'm stoked that you're stoked. That kind of social connection is perfect for me. It's a big party, celebrate! HOORAY! 
The part that is bad (and not even really bad, but more of a problematic aspect) is my addiction to please everyone, all the time. I wake up 2 or 3 times during the night worried about an email I didn't respond to. I check my email maybe 100 times a day. I also get about 100 emails a day. Never in a million years did I think i would ever get 10 emails a day, much less 100. And I have become obsessed with making sure they all get answered promptly and sweet as pie. Recently, I have fallen behind on it, and I'm almost glad - the speediness, not the sweetness. That is all me... But, really, not every email needs to be answered immediately, or ever, sometimes. It's a hard lesson to learn, but slowing down has been such a blessing to me. I suppose I am still ultra connected, and most customers say to me "thanks for the speedy/immediate/prompt/quick/etc response" and maybe that should be a lesson to me in itself......most people don't respond immediately to emails they receive at 4:45am........I'm a little crazy, I get it. But my point is, and this is more of a reminder to myself than to you or anyone else, waiting to respond to emails for a day will not make me a bad business person. I am not an automated machine....reminder to self. It's so hard to not being a connected business owner, 100% of the time. Harder than anyone thinks. 

The other aspect is learning to take time off and not check my email during a nice dinner with Doug. Leave my phone at home when I take Ollie for a run. I don't need to instagram/tweet everything. It's okay to just enjoy the moment and imprint it in my brain. Remember it and enjoy the now. Ah....i finally said it. This really is all about enjoying the now. Less stress. Happiness. If I have earned anything, it's that true friends can wait for me to respond to their texts, emails are not an urgent life or death thing, and dinner will be much more enjoyable if I leave my phone in my purse. Whew....that was a mouthful, I know, but I have been thinking about this for a while...especially as I get busier, my thoughts on being connected come up more and more...

I am curious on your thoughts on being connected. Do you live and die (and sleep and eat and shower) by your smart phone? Are you an email addict? How has it effected you life, in both positive and negative ways? What are your methods for finding balance in being connected? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 

And of course, you can always tell me your thoughts through twitter, facebook, email, flickr, blogger, etsy convos, texting, snail mail, smoke signals, carrier pigeons, etc, etc, etc....just kidding. I'm going to bed and keeping my phone turned off.



  1. I just got a smart phone a week and a half ago and I've definitely enjoyed checking instagram and what not but reading things on the little tiny screen annoys the crap out of me so I mostly play games. I try to make it a point not to check my phone every five minutes. I try to limit myself, especially when out with friends or family. I try hard to not be rude. I used to facebook a lot too but I've kind of dropped that. The only reason I still keep a page is to keep in touch with relatives that live far away, without really having to talk to them extensively all of the time.

    Knowing what to share and what not to share of yourself can be really difficult. I have so many posts that have remained drafts because I decided not to share them. Living with someone who is and will be ill for the rest of his life is a tough subject to talk about. Sometimes I want to share but other times I realize that I'm just not ready, and I may never be, to read the responses. It's a fine line, giving just enough of yourself but keeping enough for yourself too.

    And definitely, there is no reason to respond to emails immediately. Just send responses to the really important ones and save the rest for later, or never. People understand that you're busy and sometimes people send emails not really expecting a response.

  2. P.S. That bear artwork is amazing!

  3. Beca, I literally was just gushing over my iPhone in a post the other day. I can't get enough and until owning that thing twitter never even crossed my mind. Now I'm starting to fall in love with social media and the fact that it let's me peek into the lives of people I admire, and gain inspiration from (like you). It's also a great way to connect with a small group of my friends who have also caught the twitter bug. I'm becoming more and more ok with being connected all the time and a little bit of that scares me, but it's mostly just exciting. There's a big, huge world out there, and I kinda want to get to know it even if I don't have the money to travel very far right now.

    You are pretty great.

  4. i think that it's the social norm, especially as a business owner, to be super connected; it makes life easier.

    as far as being real, i know i've told you before, but i'll tell you again, people appreciate real people. sure, some bloggers with the "perfect" life might have their minion followers, but it's the bloggers who are real that readers truly appreciate and relate to. they want to see that a blogger has a bad hair day, or an argument with their partner, or a messy house, but also good days. and along those lines, sure people are interested in your business, but it's not all they want to hear about, and the blogs that only post pictures of what's new in their shop, or what has sold, never have many followers. no one likes a constant salesperson.

    i think you're doing everything right. i mean, sure, there are some people who can be assholes, but you know they probably act to others like that as well, so it's nothing you've done, but most of the people on twitter, the bloggers, etsy customers, etc. LOVE you because look at how awesome you are!!!

    just keep on doing what you're doing because i dig it.

  5. Here here! I wish there was a slow-clap emoticon, because you are brilliant. I think too many of us get sucked into the social media hole every now and again, fortunately it's easy to break free when you want to!

  6. I often feel the same way. I too need to find a way to leave my phone in my purse and enjoy the moment more often.

  7. Loved this. And I'm with you. It's like...I love it, but I hate it at the same time. haha aaaaand I just read Lauren's comment above about a slow clap, and I agree. God, I love Lauren. Anyway, I found myself experiencing major blogging burnout in June. I got so sick of always having my phone out, always having my eye in the camera, and I couldn't take it. But I guess the first step is to just realize that you're doing it--if you keep an eye on it, you can remember to find that balance.

  8. we are actually getting smart phones today (travis has been selling like CRAZY on ebay and wants one to check stuff) and i'm worried about it. almost everyone i know who has one is obsessed with theirs up to the point of rudeness/annoyance. i can't stand to go out to dinner with friends, or go to their house to hang out, and have them CONSTANTLY be on twitter/facebook/tumblr/words with friends to the point of ignoring what is happening right in front of them. I don't mind the occasional check in, but really, put it away for 20 minutes and talk to me! I actually got up and left a one on one dinner i was having with a close friend because he wouldn't get off the damn phone! i'm already obsessed with the internet, so i'm hoping i don't go overboard and become one of those.
    i'm obviously an sharer to. that is my favorite kind of blog, and that is why i love yours. i want to know when someone has a bad day, or when they see a new movie that blew them away, or what their shoe collection looks like, i even like seening tons of pet pictures (instagram is going to be the first thing i download!). i sometimes worry that i share too much. i stopped posting pictures of the outside of my house since i'm pretty open about where i live. i try not to post to many pictures of friends because i worry they might not want to be on the internet. i feel bad when anyone talks about putting down the camera and enjoying the moment. (i'm an over thinker like you too. i worry about emails i sent months ago being misunderstood or about not replying to a comment).
    i lost track of where i was going with this comment. but i think about it a lot too. i get annoyed when someone gets irritated with me for taking an hour to text them back (about something NOT important) because I was taking a shower or taking the dogs for a walk. less than ten years ago i didn't have a cell phone and didn't have to be connected every second of every day.

  9. I LOVE finding a shop on etsy that I love, then checking out their blog/twitter/whatever & getting a peek into their life. It makes me want to buy the item so much more. I love love LOVE that. Maybe there are some people that just want to see the business side, but I love to get to know the person making the product. It makes it mean that much more to me.

    I had a blackberry up until a few months ago, and it sucked. It worked well for the first year or so, and I would constantly check my e-mail on it. When I would wake up in the middle of the night, I'd check it, when I would be out somewhere, I'd be checking it, when I first woke up, I checked it. But I never replied to e-mails on my phone, so I would sometimes forget to reply once I got on the computer. Especially if I checked it in the middle of the night, I would dream about replying (I'm weird, I know, ha.). Then anytime I would try to use the internet, my phone would shut off. & take 14 minutes to turn on again. So I changed my plan to just phone & text. And now that I've got an iPhone, I still have that plan. When I'm at home I use my wifi, and some places have free wifi so I can use it there, but for the most part when I'm out with my phone it's just a basic cell phone with texting capabilities. I do take photos on it & sometimes post to instagram, but not always. And it's nice to get a break from checking my e-mails or instagram or whatever when I'm out and doing things. (But sometimes super boring when I'm at a doctor's office or something, ha.) Oh wait, I do play mahjong... but that doesn't use the internet, ha.

    Okay I'm totally rambling. Anyway, uh, yeah I'll just leave it at that, hahaha.

  10. I think about this fairly regularly, normally when I find myself being critical about someone elses moaning on twitter and take a step back and think about my own. I try and be positive but I think sometimes its good to have a good old moan. Right? Its a tricky one. Either way, I love you Beca and keep doing what you do. One of my fave things about finding lil stores online is getting to know the people behind them. I think to a certain extent there is being professional and their is being dull, I feel that if being yourself scares people off then they arent the kind of people you want in your store anyway.

    Ok by store i mean life but you know. You know?

    you know.


  11. You know....everyday I question why I should keep blogging. The one answer I keep coming back to is, what about my blogging pals? It really keeps me going. My two etsy ventures have all but failed and they were pretty much why I started blogging. It wasnt until I made friends with a fellow blogger who turned out to be living quite close by, that I decided not to pack it all in. Hopefully our new joint venture will work out better that my others :)

  12. reading this post as a fellow blogger-was nothing short of moving. seriously. I truly have a love-hate relationship with social media...and e-mail. You have to live your life and let all of that stuff be secondary. there are nights that I have to talk myself into sleeping instead of taking care of "it will get done when it gets done" is what the hubs has started telling helps :)

    awesome awesome post!

    so awesome that I shared it on my blog today (along with one other of your posts) for "Saturday link love"