Dear readers of my blog, I love you so much. Just had to share. Yes, even I have feelings sometimes… Usually none at all or REALLY intense ones. This is one of those “I LOVE YOU AND EVERYONE SO FUCKING MUCH!!!” moments. I would not be here if it wasn’t for all of you. ALL OF YOU.
I landed in Austin for SXSW last night and today is Day 1… I have been dreaming of this for months. Actually, possibly over two years since learning about this glorious experience while at my agency in hopes we’d be going down. Speaking of, I want to clear a few things up that I’ve held back on discussing out of respect for myself, my career, and the people involved. I’ve had countless people ask me what I “do” IRL or what happened to SCB 1.0, or why did I quit my agency, or “so you’re just a blogger?” Yeah… I’m actually a social strategist, content producer, copywriter, analytics nerd, editor, and whatever else they call boss ass bitches these days. Fucking duh. Like it’s hard?
Let’s back up so you get the full story: I was a Communication Studies major and Business Administration minor (and on the Women’s Tennis team) at Seattle University. I graduated in 2011 and wrote my capstone research paper (you can read it here!) theorizing how social media would affect marketing and how brands communicate with their audience. I graduated… and started working in finance.
I realized, while studying for my Series 7 and Series 65, that this was not where I wanted to go with my life. I wanted to be in social. Point blank: numbers don’t excite me. I’m good with them, don’t sell me short – I built a reporting algorithm for my agency to determine a post’s effectiveness regardless of reach (which obviously varies – for various reasons). And I get a brain boner thinking about digging qualitative insights out of mass amounts of quantitative data. But I didn’t give a fuck about what they meant or why they mattered, I couldn’t find a connection to it, I couldn’t do it. I needed to get out.
I wanted to work in social, in a new digital space that WAS very exciting to me. Like, I hate people, but I really love social media. I created @CrossfitProblms and @StoneColdBetch in January 2012 and wrote and grew them specifically, demonstrating my skills in social strategy and management. I connected with this agency because one of my friends was a project manager there, and you bet your sweet ass I put those accounts on my resume. What else did I have in my defense? A comm and marketing degree? Groundbreaking. Admin skills? Good with numbers? I was as basic as they come on paper… I went for the betchy, ballsy shock factor.
And… I was obviously offered the job. Before getting off the line with who I was talking to, I heard, “there is one thing. Your offer hinges on you deleting your “StoneColdBetch” account by tonight.”
So, you want to say I’m worth hiring, but you want me to completely shut down an idea that I really thought was a good one. Well, you guys are at a company and I do want a job, so okay. I naively deleted SCB and started at my agency in August 2012. Guess where I went the first weekend of my new job? Vegas. Guess what I didn’t have? An anon, to house all of my betchy and inappropriate tweets while I’m out living my awesome life.
I didn’t make “an anon” to hide anything about me, I just wanted to be a faceless voice to be more accessible to people. So, I tweeted everything from my personal Twitter handle, and came back to the office to get a scolding – and was basically informed that I could “keep an anon” as long as I didn’t, you know, talk about it. I was briefly thisbetchlife or something before settling on @QueenSCB because I had *locked myself out* of SCB – and forgotten the email and password associated. I felt hopeless. I scrambled around to find people who I followed before and slowly started to rebuild my community.
In the meantime at the office, I first started work doing content and social for Microsoft Azure. Rational still handles their digital marketing and I am VERY proud to have been a part of the Azure team. Yes – I am a complete nerd. Nerds are hot. Being smart is possibly the most attractive trait one can have – a compelling, stimulating conversation will get my pants off faster than your stupid practiced lines ever could.
I wrote campaign content for a few Azure partner campaigns, and at some point we were placed on Microsoft’s “global social media approved” agency list of vendors or whatever the fuck that list is. Doesn’t matter. We got a bunch more campaigns that I had to write, and I was also “gifted” the Healthy Paws Pet Insurance account to manage. In the fall soon after being hired, I was transitioned from Azure to my first *real* account to handle on my own! That was KRIS Wine. It became my baby, because I no longer had SCB. I got a fatty raise and nice Christmas bonus. All seemed to be going exactly as I hoped.
Come January 2013, I became Editor of the Microsoft Azure blog AKA where my life started to go downhill and I became a soulless bitch. It was thrown onto my already overflowing plate as though it were a gift, and I was so drunk over my manager telling me about my value that I completely missed the parts where she tried to fuck me over and completely disempowered me.
There was a LOT of bullshit that happened between January and when I finally left the company in August… I had been waiting for ~4 months for something to happen, where it wouldn’t be my fault and I’d have a legitimate reason to quit and keep my own reputation. I wasn’t going to let any balls drop no matter how many they tried to make me juggle. Finally, my account exec threw me under the bus and my manager – boss – the FOUNDER and face of this company – told me that “I sucked at asking for help when I was spinning out,” in reference to a strategy deck I was asked to build. Maybe I wouldn’t be spinning out if she had ever showed me a strategy deck before, or was around at all to mentor me instead of leaving me to fend for myself and learn everything on my own, but apparently, I sucked.
You know what sucked? Realizing that someone who I truly respected and looked up to as a powerful, independent woman with an impressive career is really just a bitter bitch who felt threatened by me from the first day I came in. I wasn’t her hire. I know that now, but I couldn’t then. That meeting, that deck, and that day created the perfect storm to give me a full blown panic attack – I’ve only ever had one before. Mariah (my work wife) gave me five seconds of guidance and I stayed up all night (panicking, spinning more, rebuilding the deck) to present a shiny, new, upgraded social SEO strategy to show my boss.
“We can’t show this to the client. And now you’ve used up the rest of the project hours doing this.”
I decided I couldn’t take another paycheck from someone who I couldn’t respect and clearly had absolutely none for me. Case in point was the next 1v1 I had with her, to discuss that I’d be leaving… As we were a very small, “lean startup” team, I’d be leaving my accounts in the lurch, and offered to stay more than two weeks, possibly a month, so they could find an adequate replacement. I went from being support on one account to completely managing two, running the Azure blog, and writing campaign content for their partners in my free time. Realistically, there wouldn’t be one person to replace me. One simply just cannot replace the Betch.
My boss seemed to think otherwise, as she likened me to “just a resource” and that they’d have no problem replacing me. Oh, I’m just a resource? And you want me to actually finish all my work before leaving? K. Here’s my year-end KRIS deck, it’s a defense of community management and shows you how my content created virality and therefore responsible for our Facebook growth with such a minimal ad budget. Enjoy trying to find another resource who can deliver those results. Good fucking luck.
I left in August 2013 and haven’t looked back. I do know they fired my first two replacements, each only lasted about 6 months. My work wife now manages a team and was more of a mentor and manager than my boss ever was. I had both of my accounts reach out to me independently, offering me FT in-house positions. I really enjoyed my clients and the work I did for them, but all I could think about was reviving the idea they made me shut down, because I knew I had something there. And LOOK AT ME NOW!!! Look at this Queendom. Look at all of you. Started from an anon Twitter, now we here.
SXSW will be the first “professional” event I’ve ever attended by myself, as myself as a strategist and “as StoneColdBetch” as an influencer. My career has once again shifted. I do not aspire to be the person who defines the social strategy for some global brand, but it took me months to figure out how to define myself and the work I’m doing now. For a while, when people asked me what I did I’d discredit my blog and work in social, leaning on my agency and tech background so people would take me seriously.
I mean, come ON. I have “betch” in my brand and purple hair. If you looked at SCB on Twitter, you’d think I’m just an overprivileged white girl. And that’s what I love about it. Because in real life, I’m just me. And everyone’s reaction to me being me is like a fun little social experiment in perception and impression management. I’m smarter than I look and much more capable than most people first give me credit for. I’ve learned to stop caring that people don’t expect much from me, based on just what they “see.”
I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined in the last few years and my life is 100% completely as I want it to be. For now. And I don’t know what it will be like in three years. If you asked me three years ago I had the plan to take over my dad’s company and be married by 25. Fuck that idea, right?
I stopped trying to control every element of my life. After I quit, I became more open to opportunities and stopped trying to plan every next move. All of my previous “moves” had been motivated by expectations, and I just wanted to take advantage of my opportunities. I got back into my SCB Twitter account (after writing like, 30 passwords and crying after one worked. For real. Do you know how important that handle is to my SEO?!) and started my blog. I didn’t really work on it very hard for a year because I was so burnt out… Come January 2015, this year, I knew it was time. Stone Cold the Betch was ready to return.
This time I wasn’t going to let anyone or anything stop me. I have been on a psycho warpath for the last two years. I’ve been testing content, pages, ideas, bits and pieces of the Stone Cold Vision to see what will work best where and how. I’ve been trying to figure out what I want the content to be on my site, because fluffy vanity posts that are “easy” and/or about me give me more anxiety than say, creating an entirely new conversation about mental health to generate awareness… Oooh, I think I see some good direction in here. And I needed a deadline, one I couldn’t keep pushing back as a means to refine and continue experimenting and trying new ideas. SXSW is that deadline. I’m here and ready to prove it to industry peers (but mostly just myself) that I am really, really good at what I do. I’ve been fighting to build myself back up after the crisis of confidence I experienced after months of dread and work stress and then being told that I suck.
It took a lot longer than I expected and more work than I hoped for, but I finally feel myself again. I feel like myself, and I feel strong both about the work I do and the purpose of why I’m doing it, which I lost while at the agency. I don’t give a flying fuck about how many people saw my tweet, shared my post, or like me. Period. I do give a lot of fucks about making an impact. I became so detached from the community and personal audience aspects as I “got better” and “got more” work, and lost what I loved in the process.
KRIS did so well because I wrote all my content with the moms of America buying $12 wine in my heart and in my head. That’s why it did so well. Because as a community manager, I connected with my audience and knew them and felt them and understood what they wanted to see from a brand perspective. That’s what social media is SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT: Connection.
I care about the one person I know my post had a positive impact on. I care so much that I sometimes can’t write because I get in mental fights with myself over trying to write something that’s for you guys to understand properly or that I write that’s my voice and my message and my thoughts. Like this. I haven’t looked back at this and probably won’t because it’s clearly an emotional piece of my life that I’ve been sitting on and holding onto for years. But I’m done now. I’m letting it all go. I only want to be taking advantage of new experience and opportunities and not be held back by the shackles of a screen. So here we are, IRL, at SXSW. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, but I’m here, and even more so, I feel good enough to be here, like I deserve it. I’m proud of myself. I’ve made a lot of progress and taken myself further than I ever expected. Every day I wake up and am excited by the idea I really don’t know what might happen to me. There’s so much possibility and opportunity for the taking if you’re open to it. I want it all, plan to get it all, and am just getting started.
This is a really long-winded piece and if you made it this far from all the initial I LOVE YOU READERS!!! now I really fucking love you. I hope this clarifies questions people have had about me and why I’m here. None of you knew all of the shit going on in my life, but still liked me anyway. Twitter was like this escape where I could just be who I was at a time where I didn’t like myself or feel good about what I was doing, and no one cared. It gave me the freedom to work on myself, and look where that has taken me. So thank you Twitter, thank you to my followers, I literally mean that I would not be here if it wasn’t for you guys. Not just because of traffic and the mass amount of you that makes me an “influencer,” but because when I was at the lowest point in my life, alone and unsure what to do, I always had Twitter as a support.
I’d keep writing and being emotional but I actually need to go show my face IRL and debut myself as Stone Cold THE Betch. I’m going to hit publish now, and I haven’t looked back at this post. I don’t really want to. Let me know how it is? Ps. You’re all amazing. Don’t forget that.