This morning I awoke and as I usually do, I checked my e-mail on my phone. One of my messages happened to be from Facebook. Instead of informing me that I had been tagged in a picture or that someone was requesting to be my friend, the e-mail detailed that my Facebook account had been logged into from a computer that had never accessed my account before. It instructed me to log in as soon as possible and answer a couple of questions on whether the source that attempted to log in was legitimate or not.
Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend Dierks Bentley’s “Country and Cold Cans” tour as it made a stop in Missoula. With the Eli Young Band as his main opening act, I had the date circled on my calendar for a long time.
About ten minutes later, it was my turn to meet Dierks. While walking up to him I composed myself and tried to block out the adult liquids that were in my system. I initiated the conversation.
DIERKS: Hi Brent, I’m Dierks. (Yes, even though I addressed him by his name initially, he said it again…mildly awkward).
**PICTURE IS TAKEN**
ME: Thanks for coming to Missoula. Did you end up hiking the M today? (I asked this because earlier in the day he had sent out the following tweet: good morning Missoula! so many possibilities today..hike the M, go fishing, take the jeep and a banjo into some back country,…).
DIERKS: Actually I didn’t get around to it. I ended up taking my jeep up Rattlesnake Rd.
ME: That’s awesome. That is where I live!
DIERKS: You are lucky. Beautiful country up there.
ME: Thanks for doing this Dierks.
DIERKS: No problem buddy.
Over the past six months or so, the Willy Wonka memes have taken over Facebook and the internet. I am sure you have all seen what I am talking about…there is a picture of Willy Wonka (from the old movie in 1971, not Johnny Depp) leaning his head on his hand decked out in his candy man costume with a creepy smile that would scare any parent with young kids. In the picture there is text at the top that says something that usually starts with “Oh, so you…….” and then at the bottom there is a sarcastic punch line. The jokes are a play on the real personality of Willy Wonka in the actual movie but usually make fun of present social norms. Many of them are really funny.
But honestly, using “K” in texts is bush league. Have the respect for the other person to at least give them an “okay.” At the bare minimum, double up and give your text recipient a “kk.” If you do decide to do the unthinkable, at least have the decency to give the person a capital K with a period at the end (i.e. “K.”). Using “k” is just a slap in the face.
It is cliché and unoriginal so perhaps I should try to cut back a little bit. What I think Wonka should have done though is call out the people who tweet lyrics and butcher them. Nothing is more annoying than incorrectly tweeting lyrics, in fact, it should result in the loss of Twitter privileges.
Thank you Condescending Wonka for bringing a little bit of humor and sarcasm into my life. Don’t get too comfortable around me though, I can tolerate reading your tweets but please save me the eye sore and get the hell off of my news feed. Don’t Blink.
The song “We Are Young” by Fun never really grew on me. In fact, I seemed to hate it a little bit more each time I heard it. Seemed to me like the group was trying a little too hard to be different. Also, it seemed like my friends who liked the song had an affinity for it because they thought listening to it made them a little more cultured when it comes to music. Seriously, just go listen to country.
Growing up in Spokane, whenever my family saw an animal that was not a cat, a dog, or some type of domesticated pet, it was a big deal. We just did not see wildlife that often so our jaws always dropped when we saw something out of the ordinary, such as a raccoon or a moose. Another animal that would immediately cause my dad to slam on the brakes and have all of us look out the window in awe was a deer. Seeing a bambi on a trip would all but secure the fact that we would be talking about the sighting for the remainder of the car ride.
I heard it all through my childhood, drilled into my head by my parents and teachers throughout the years: Think before you speak. I think I have taken their advice to heart and I try my best to not make any ill-advised or spur of the moment statements that result strictly from passion. As I am a very quiet person by nature, when it comes to face-to-face confrontation, I am pretty good at not making regrettable comments.
Because as part of my job I manage a social media network with over 100,000 people in constant dialogue about a very passionate subject, I see people make fools out of themselves all the time. Usually when someone makes a dumb remark, I will let the online community police it themselves and put the person in their place. After all, I am very fortunate to have a majority of classy, intelligent users who make up our audience. Only when someone makes a comment that is so off base and egregious will I step in as the administrator and set the record straight.
Once you have crafted your message, sit on it a little bit before pasting it into whatever social media platform you are using. When it comes to e-mail, my boss always says to wait a full day after composing an e-mail that expresses anger/disappointment/controversy before actually sending it. Because social media issues are a little more timely as dialogue moves much faster, I suggest waiting an hour before sending out your thoughts. I know this might seem like overkill for a 160 character opinion or a Facebook status comment but in reality it is not. Remember, you are dealing with your reputation.
Keep utilizing social media for the many good things it offers. Don’t feel like you have to be the first person to comment or tweet. Remember, there is no one sitting next to you with a gun to your head forcing you to immediately post something while you sit at your computer or dabble on your iPhone. Take it easy and take it slow. Don’t Blink.
Last Thursday was a very dark and sad day for my place of work, a day that negatively impacted myself and every single employee in The University of Montana Athletic Department. In what seemed like the biggest punch in the gut one could get, we learned that morning in a last minute mandatory meeting that our athletic director and head football coach had been let go. To see two outstanding individuals ousted so fast sickened us all. I will not address the reasoning (or lack thereof) or my opinion of the terminations in this post because I have absolutely no business doing so. However, what I will address is my admiration and respect for Jim O’Day, the man who served as athletic director for Grizzly Athletics for eight years. In this tribute to Jim, I want to share why he was such a great boss and an even better person.
In order to be a great boss you need the personal achievements that Jim undoubtedly had but you also need something else: leadership. Jim O’Day was a leader in every sense of the word. People gravitated towards him. Always visible and available despite a ridiculous schedule, there was never a doubt on who was running Grizzly Athletics. Jim had a gift for talking in front of people and whether it was in a meeting, a banquet, an interview, or a one-on-one conference, he spoke eloquently and confidently. Always encouraging his staff to keep checklists and stay on task, he offered us the guidance and resources to succeed. Leaders don’t limit their staffs, they let them grow and Jim did that. Despite having an unwavering loyalty towards his staff, he also demonstrated leadership to all of us by how he interacted with people who had different viewpoints and agendas from the athletic department’s. During times where I would have liked to just blow off a person, group, or entity that I felt was not worth our time or trouble, Jim would not leave them in the dark and would not allow us to either. He taught me how important it is for a leader to not burn bridges and to always nourish relationships, no matter how unbalanced or stressful they might seem.
The main reason why Jim was such an effective boss? (You know, besides being extremely effective, a great leader, a selfless servant, and a people person). It is because of the man’s class and integrity. No one can touch that…not the media, not critics, not a university president. Jim did what was right at all times. He never cheated or looked for a short cut. He was first to congratulate a coach or player who defeated a Griz team and he never looked to embarrass an opponent or adversary. Jim knew he was the walking billboard for Grizzly Athletics and he safeguarded it with every ounce of his being. In an industry where high profile athletic directors and head coaches take on egos and personalities that set them apart from others, Jim did just the opposite. Jim stayed true to his classy nature to the very end. In that terrible meeting he stayed strong the whole time, telling us to do the same and stick together. He didn’t take any parting shots, he didn’t criticize the decision. When he came down to say goodbye to us in the marketing department he kept it together when none of us could. Again, he echoed the same message, stay strong.
I miss the best boss I ever had. Don’t Blink.