Tag Archives: Barack Obama

2009 in Review

I think it’s important to take time and reflect on one’s year. Unfortunately, it’s something that I only manage to formally do about once every three years. In any case, below is a survey that I’ve previously filled out in 2006 and 2003.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

I began contributing to a 401k. I know that’s not exciting, but doing so really solidified my identity as an adult.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

In the past, I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions — I try to better myself every day so in some ways what others do at the beginning of the year, I do throughout. However, I do think there is a lot of value in writing down the ways in which one tries to improve. Keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post on the things I’ll try to do better in the coming year!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes. My maternal grandmother passed away in January 2009. It was an event that rocked my small family to the core and I don’t think we’ve yet fully recovered. (Read Dealing with Death in a Digital Age.)

5. What countries did you visit?

Although I did some travelling, it was all domestic. (2009 took me to Florida, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and of course back to Massachusetts.)  I am looking forward to getting back to really exploring the world in 2010 – I already have planned trips to the US Virgin Islands as well as Mexico and have a grand European vacation in the works!

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

As of now, I have no idea where I’ll be in 2014. But this year, I think I would like to give more thought to the direction I see my life taking in the next five years. Regardless of whether I choose to carry out my plans, I think having long-term goals is something that I lacked in 2009 and would like to define in 2010.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

The obvious one is January 6th, which was the day my grandmother passed away.

I think another day that will remain with me was January 20th — the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama. I am fortunate enough to live in DC and was able to “attend” the Inauguration. The feeling of excitement and of hope was palpable and an amazing thing of which to feel a part.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

This is a hard one. I’m not sure if this is my biggest achievement, but I recently took part in Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University. I participated in 15 webinars and then took an exam on the material that was covered, becoming a certified Inbound Marketing Professional after passing the exam with a score of 100%.

It was very satisfying to seek out a program that allowed me professional development, to feel like I was learning and exercising my brain, and then to pass the exam with a perfect score and have something to show for my work…

9. What was your biggest failure?

Ugh. I joined a gym this past year but was definitely not as diligent about going as I should have been.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No. For that I am thankful.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I bought a computer which was great until the hard drive crashed taking all my pictures for 2008-2009… I also bought a healthy amount of airplane tickets.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I have a friend with whom I became much closer this year and she was someone who was a much needed source of support and encouragement this past year. That certainly merits celebration.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I would never embarrass someone in a public space like this, so I am skipping this question.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Unsurprisingly, the majority went to pay my rent. I would assume most adults answer this way.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My visitors and my travels.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Hmmm… How about “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? sadder. (At the end of 2008, I had a very positive outlook and was genuinely excited for adventures that were in my future. Unfortunately, 2009 was a hard year for me personally, so while I am again optimistic for the things to come in 2010 there is a part of me that is forever changed by this past year.)

ii. thinner or fatter? fatter.

iii. richer or poorer? richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

While I think that I do take advantage of the fact that I live in DC, I would have liked to have explored the city more. This is something I’m recommitting myself to in 2010.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Sleeping. Seriously, I could have gotten a lot more done if I had been able to sleep less.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

I’m spent Christmas Eve in New York and then took a bus back to Boston on Christmas Day. That evening, I ordered Chinese Food and went to see The Blind Side with my mother.

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?

Yes.

23. How many one-night stands?

None. Never.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

Desperate Housewives.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. Hate is a strong word.

26. What was the best book you read?

I have to say that reading Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations helped me wrap my head around the way marketing, communications, and organizing have all changed thanks to the Internet and the emergence of social media.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I can’t get enough of Lady Gaga. Owl City is pretty great, too.

28. What did you want and get?

I had a grand plan of flying back to Boston in August to attend CountryFest featuring Kenny Chesney, an annual tradition with some of my friends in Boston, spend a week on the Cape with my family (another annual tradition) and then fly back to DC in time to  attend a wedding of a college friend. Thankfully, everything worked out and I was able to do all three. 🙂

Also, now that I’m thinking about it. I really wanted/needed to get new glasses. It was a very long process but in the end I came away with a pair that I love.

29. What did you want and not get?

I am extremely grateful to be at a point in my life where I don’t feel like there’s anything material that I am lacking. However, as I mentioned earlier, something that didn’t happen for me this year was finding someone with whom to share my happiness and success. (Read On Being Single.)

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Blind Side? I Love You, Man?

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 24 this past September. I celebrated at a local bar with a big group of friends the weekend prior and then went to dinner with a small group of female friends on the actual day.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I have a job I enjoy, great friends, and a supportive family. I feel fortunate to never be lacking in ways to spend my time but as I’ve mentioned, having someone special in my life would have made my year more satisfying.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Attempting to stay current on recent trends but with an emphasis on comfort. Professional yet fun. And well put together as much of the time as possible.

34. What kept you sane?

My friends. 🙂

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

None. I’ve never been one to “fancy” celebrities. I prefer to spend my time on realistic endeavors.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Marriage Equality. (Read Sexual Orientation Equality: The Civil Rights Fight Of Our Time.)

37. Who did you miss?

My grandmother.

Also, everyone I left behind in Boston.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I’m going to cheat on this one a little bit. I met one of my coworkers in September 2008, but we became very close in 2009 — She is a great mentor, friend, and source of support to me.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

Stop when you are at your happiest to take the moment in. It will become what sustains you in the hardest of times.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

In Repair by John Mayer and Closer to Fine by the Indigo Girls are two that come to mind.

An Interview on New Media (Part Two)

I was recently interviewed by Alexa Lee of The Daily Universe, Brigham Young University’s student newspaper, for an article she was writing about twentysomethings who are successful at using new media as business ventures. I have provided a sneak peak of the article below.

(Please note: This is the second in a three part series – Read part one and come back next week to read two more questions that I was asked along with my answers.)

What do consumers want from new media?

New media has without a doubt shifted the consumer to corporation relationship. Before the emergence and, now, the continuing widespread adoption of new media, consumers were not empowered to speak about their experiences with different companies and their respective brands. Now, everyone is a journalist, a food critic, a photographer… Consumers want to be, as a whole, more active in their relationships with brands. If they don’t like something, they now expect that the company will listen to their complaint and do something about it.

A recent example of this was AT&T’s pricing structure when the new iPhone 3GS was released. AT&T customers thought the proposed prices were unfair and protested – through Twitter and blog posts. In the end, AT&T relented and modified its structure. That sort of interaction would not have been possible in the pre-new media era. (An example of the Twitter petition I referenced can be found here: http://twitition.com/f96aq.)

How is today’s communications environment different from even a year ago?

A year ago, the general public was becoming increasingly more aware that these new online tools existed, but I think the overall consensus was that it was just for the “youngsters”. There are a number of reasons why new media has exploded recently, but I think that the role of President Obama’s campaign in this revolution cannot be underestimated. The campaign did a great job of leveraging these new tools to create a community of active and vocal supporters. The resulting tangible, quantifiable success forced those working in marketing and PR roles to stop and consider integrating new media into their overall strategy.

Before, an online communications strategy most likely included creating content for a website and sending out periodic e-mails to an organization’s customers or constituents. It was very much just a “push strategy”, the thinking being, “we’re putting out the information we want and we think is valuable”. Now, it’s much more of a two-way street. The organizations that are seeing results from new media are those that are actively engaging their supporters – and even their critics.

A Darker Perspective on the Election Results

I know that what I’m about to say is pessimistic and cynical, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t voice how I felt.

Over the past week, with the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, we’ve heard words that have been all but forgotten over the last eight years – openness, hope, change.

BUT – The fanaticism of Obama supporters scares me. (I know, I know, pretty ironic to say since I’m a supporter…)

Maybe it’s my Russian heritage or my Jewish faith (or BOTH!) that make me distrustful of a government and its leaders, but when someone in a position of power has such a strong following it makes me nervous. Right now our president-elect is using his influence for “good”, but what if he decided to use it for “evil”?

Again, let me be clear, the identity of the individual himself does not really matter, it’s the willingness of a large, collective group of people to do whatever the individual says that makes me a bit uneasy.

I can only hope that my fears are unfounded and that the next four (or more!) years will be marked by an era of openness, one that brings very positive change.