Ice Cream on my iPod, Failed Experiments, Technology-Related Anxiety, and Other Daily Catastrophes

Today was one of those days when everything goes wrong.  There was dried ice cream on my iPod (which was in my purse, so seriously kids, WTH?). My Blackberry fritzed out, its screen a jumbled picture of nothing.  My kids were at each other’s throats all day: Anna (7) screaming in Noah’s (4) face when she was frustrated (all the time), and Noah lashing out with a 3-P physical assault (punching, pushing, pinching).  I finished a paper for school, and thought I’d take a peak at the next assignment on my list, which turned out to be creating an ad campaign using Google AdWords.  This is when socialmediaphobe began her freakout.

Perhaps what scares people the most about computers is that we mortals don’t understand how they work.  I don’t like feeling like my computer is smarter than me, struggling against its mystery logic in order to complete my assignments.  This whole learning-by-doing thing is risky.  Sure, I can set up ads on Google, entering the keywords I think people would use when searching related topics. I love the idea of driving more people to my blog and making new connections.  But I want to see the results – I want to be able to search on Google and FIND my ads.  What I don’t want is chart after chart telling me about low quality scores (which appear to have something to do with the keywords I’ve chosen, the content of the landing site, and the text of the ad) and I value my readers, but I can’t spend $10 per click.  

After staring at the computer screen, attempting to make sense of the charts generated by my keywords, I took a long break to take Anna to the park.  While there, I read and re-read the social media marketing sections of several books.  Anna was busy searching for sticks and leaves.  As I was in my failure-panic, my daughter was experimenting with aerodynamics.  She tried and tried to get her “kite” to fly, using all the different materials she could find (without tape or scissors, mind you) until she got so frustrated that she threw it on the ground, screaming “I QUIT!”  I put my books aside, picked up her kite and explained: “when you start something new, you’re going to fail more than you succeed; but you’ll never succeed if you don’t try.”  Uh, hello?  Instantly I was struck by how easy it is to dole out this sort of advice and how hard it is to hear.  We dug through my backpack for more kite-making supplies, and she decided to try again with a piece of scrap paper (which still didn’t work).  But she did persist in the face of failure, both in spite of and because of her failures.  Here’s to wiping the ice cream off the iPod, removing the battery from my Blackberry for a hard reboot, and digging in to AdWords again.

Anna experiments with flight and failure

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