Yellow Flowers

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At a social media breakfast I once attended, the owner of the local yoga studio shared some insight into her social media strategy. “If I post an inspirational quote — ‘Yoga is the journey of the self… to the self… through the self’ — I get a lot more engagement.” She got progressively funnier, confessing her own twisted “rock star yoga” sense of humor, the type that belongs to the “namaste, bitches” school of thought. We can be authentic on social media, she explained as the 10 attendees munched on scones from a local bakery, but we should also curate which sides of ourselves we choose to represent our business and our brand.

Her number one rule of social media read: listen to your audience. Your customers will tell you what they want by engaging, liking, commenting, sharing, or ignoring. Facebook, happily, gives you tools to track that behavior. “If I see that my photo of yellow flowers got more likes than any other photos of flowers, I know that people prefer yellow flowers,” she said, quickly adding: “That’s not true, I’m just using that as an example.” The point is not to treat your Facebook page as a billboard, screaming at your audience without engaging them as customers, she said.

The breakfast was a semi-regular event. The organizer, a force of nature unto herself, brought together business leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs — including many, it seemed on this particular morning, in the nonprofit field. When filling out the requisite event survey, one answers questions about contact information and the existence of a business plan, then:

“Your reason for attending?”
“Curiosity.”

Standing outside before the early morning event and aiming her phone toward the east, the organizer commented that she will never get over how big the sky is in Texas. It was a particularly beautiful sunrise, and lingering outside to admire it also allowed one time to notice the exquisite landscaping outside the yoga studio. An otherwise indistinguishable strip mall was adorned with [forgive me, I did not inherit the green thumb] flowers that looked like giant dandelions gone to seed, the ones that I always call bird of paradise but are actually something else, and what I’m fairly certain are yellow cannas.

On to work and bureaucracy and TPS reports (not really) and idiocracy. One of the more interesting aspects of the morning: some publicity for Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, in which she discussed the connection between creativity and curiosity that she discovered when writing her previous book on “that action-adventure subject: gardening.”

And also this: A Stong Towns article entitled “Beautiful Ditches,” bemoaning the “nature band-aid” and decked with a header image of yellow flowers. “Yes, after spending billions destroying the economies of small towns and inducing a financial train wreck in our suburbs, we’ll now pretend that somehow we are making a difference by planting some trees.”

Finally, the annual chamber of commerce banquet, where the tables inside the convention center were decorated with yellow flowers. When the event was over, they told us to take home the bouquets.

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