Well, it’s the first blog post of 2012. Anna, Dad, and any other stranger who unfortunately stumbles upon this blog, I’m sorry that you haven’t had much reading material from me since, well, I began this blog. I’m a blogging failure – I admit it. An idea came to mind this past week through two specific events; I thought I’d make an attempt at sounding intelligent.
The first event…
Unless you live in a cave, you know Super Bowl 46 is being held in Indianapolis next weekend. (Even though I live outside of the city, I’ll probably use terms as “I” and “we” in reference to hosting SB46. I’m a proud fan, deal with it!) I love the city of Indianapolis and think it’s a great venue. Sure, we’re no Miami or New Orleans, we don’t have beaches or warm weather; but, I guarantee we have people working just as hard to make SB46 just as successful as any of its predecessors. One of the ways Indy is making SB46 unique is through a Social Media initiative, Social 46 as well as a Social Media Command Center location at Raidious. I don’t know all the details to Social 46, but I think I can give you a good summary. The Super Bowl planning committee selected 46 individuals, dubbed the Social 46, who are seen as highly influential and/or well-connected through Social Media, to help promote and spread the word of events leading up to and surrounding the Super Bowl. Makes sense, right? The group ranges from Marketing and PR professionals such as Meggie Dials, Kyle Lacy, and Chuck Gose to financial planner Pete Dunn to Scott Wise, a successful restaurant owner. There were obviously many more individuals on this committee, but these are people who I either know personally or that I have a great deal of respect for and follow closely on Twitter. I don’t know all the methods that went into selecting these individuals, but their Klout score, which basically measures your social influence, was one factor. Jay Baer, one of the Social 46, wrote a great article on the selection process for Social 46, the pros, the cons, and the ultimate purpose: to support and promote the city of Indianapolis and its Super Bowl activities.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, if you read Jay’s article, and the subsequent comments and discussion, you can see that some were upset or disturbed with how the Social 46 was formed. The selected individuals seem to be very hard-working, competent people, at least in the Social Media world, and therefore earned their spot on this committee. You wouldn’t hire Peyton Manning to play short stop for the Yankees, and you wouldn’t hire a sub-par blogger (like myself) or a hit-and-miss “tweeter” to promote the city of Indianapolis, especially at a time when all eyes are or will be on us. They wanted quality. They got quality. I’m sure there are many well-connected and hard-working individuals out there promoting the city, themselves, their companies, connecting with others, etc. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for everyone to have their cake and eat it too.
The second event…
Last Saturday, January 21, the world lost two men (I’m sure there were more, but I’ll be referencing two). The first, Joe “Joe Pa” Paterno (December 21, 1926 – January 21, 2012). If you didn’t know Joe Pa before early November, you probably do now because of how his career at Penn State came to a very unfortunate and public end (I am not taking sides on the issue – it’s just an unfortunate situation for all involved). Most people know Joe Pa as one of the greatest college football coaches ever. He served the Nittany Lions football program for 46 years. I’m assuming he’s one of few individuals to have held the same job for that length of time. To his family, friends, colleagues, and all that may have known him, I am sorry for your loss. The other man we lost last Saturday was Roy Arthur DeHaven (May 18, 1914 – January 21, 2012). If you do the math, Roy lived a few days past 97.8 years; another impressive length of time. Roy wasn’t a famous football coach. He wasn’t a famous “anybody.” However, he was my grandfather; he was my “Grandpa Roy” (we couldn’t say “DeHaven” when we were young, or maybe we were just too lazy?). Grandpa Roy’s funeral was yesterday (Friday, January 27), and the viewing the night before. We didn’t have quite the numbers that Joe Pa did at his viewing or funeral, but we weren’t expecting that either. I did have a thought at one time, “What if Grandpa Roy was some sort of former CIA or FBI undercover agent and a ton of former colleagues turned-up that we never even knew about. How awesome would that be???” Turns out, he was a Freemason, and that entitled him to a pretty cool ceremony. My grandparents spent most of their lives, at least as a married couple, in Albany, IN. Albany is a classic example of a small, Midwestern town. It’s nothing fancy, at all. But, it’s also one of those places where if you need anything from a cup of sugar to a spare tire, you could turn to your neighbor in confidence. As kids, we frequented the Dairy Dream, a classic, walk-up ice cream joint. And, when a McDonald’s franchise finally made its way to Albany, the town thought they had died and gone to heaven. Grandpa Roy had his own repair shop, working mostly with televisions and radios. He worked hard, for his family and community. I’m pretty sure he was never hoisted on anyone’s shoulders or had Gatorade dumped on him after repairing someone’s Zenith. He passed on life lessons, though, and loved his family. He made a lasting impact on many as was proved true at the viewing and funeral service.
The connection between these two events, at least to me, has to do with perceived self-worth. In the case of the Social 46, feelings were hurt and maybe egos damaged because they were not selected to “officially” promote Indianapolis. Could it be because they have too much personal investment in how they are perceived in the Social Media world? I can’t answer that with certainty, but I think that could be a factor. I know there are times when I love if I’m RT’d (re-tweeted) or mentioned by someone I admire or that has significant influence. Conversely, I have found myself disappointed if not responded to or included in Twitter conversations, Facebook posts, etc. In hindsight, that’s foolish. One – it’s selfish of me to put expectations on others, especially on Twitter or Facebook where I may not personally know them. Two – my personal worth, how I view and value myself – should not be determined by my Social Media interactions. How I lead my life – how I treat others, how I love my wife, friends, family, and strangers should be the measuring stick – not the number of mentions I receive on Twitter. In the case of Joe Pa and my grandfather, both were men that are no longer with us. They were humans, who made mistakes and had great successes in their own lives. Grandapa Roy probably couldn’t have coached a college football team to 409 victories and 2 National Championships. On the flip-side, Joe Pa may not have been able to hot-wire a motel TV so that he wouldn’t have to pay extra for his wife and children to enjoy an episode of Bonanza.
What I’m getting at is this: our worth is not determined by others. Our jobs, status, and scope of influence don’t determine our lives. Yes, those things may provide opportunities where we can greatly impact others. It’s about taking advantage of those opportunities, though, no matter how big or small, that pay greater dividends than any amount of Twitter followers, football games won, or televisions repaired ever will.
To the Social 46 – thanks for what you’re doing to support and promote Indianapolis during this awesome time. If we end-up hosting the Super Bowl again, I hope you’ll be tapped as a resource. To Joe Pa and Grandpa Roy – thanks for sharing your lives with the rest of the world. You made a difference in the lives of many. Rest in peace.
Thanks for reading this post.