Please just let me be mediocre (personal essay) + marketing links
And Exploring Video Length Best Practices for Social Media
Please just let me be mediocre (personal essay) + marketing links
By Jenn Chen • Issue #116 • View online
I’m switching it up for the last two issues of the year with personal essays in the Thoughts section. The beauty of having a newsletter coming from yourself is that you get to choose what you write. We could probably all agree that 2020 has been a shit show and the fact that I’ve kept up with this biweekly newsletter is honestly a win. If you hate personal essays, feel free to skip the Thoughts section and move to the other sections that are still marketing oriented.
You may also notice that the consult banner is absent. It’ll stay absent until the new year, as I do not take on new client consults for the last two weeks of the year. I actually haven’t had a vacation in a year and half that wasn’t just holiday days off. So consider the essay and no consults as my way of winding down the year.
I hope you enjoy these next two issues.
Content warning for suicide and anti-Black racism in the interesting links section.
Please just let me be mediocre
I would like the opportunity to be mediocre.
I would like to be able to fail and not suffer any consequences.
Like, be average and underwhelming and just middling in work performance. This is a sentiment that I have generally felt for at least the last half decade. If it were to happen, it would of course be in a post-pandemic, COVID–19 herd immunity world. A world where people aren’t fighting to keep jobs or losing jobs or dealing with the worst people imaginable when dining out.
Depending on how and where you grew up, you might have experienced this acceptance of mediocrity. It goes with the participation trophies in little leagues, the “hey, at least you tried” for something new, and “nice work” for the average C grade in school. I do not mean being allowed to be mediocre in the sense that you felt not encouraged by parents or other adults in your life. I mean, being just okay at something was… okay and acceptable.
My first B was in fourth grade and it was only because I transferred in winter, in the middle of the school year. My next B was in high school geometry class. I really hated theorems. My Saturdays were spent memorizing vocabulary words, first from the dictionary, then starting in 6th grade, SAT words. After vocab, I worked on logic puzzles and other math things. Sundays for 12 years were dedicated to Chinese school.
The above only glosses over the time that was spent outside of school hours but I hope it demonstrates a pattern of high expectations. Failure wasn’t an option, as is the experience of many children of immigrants. As an adult, it’s hard to fight against the childhood influence of high expectations. As a freelancer and consultant, you can only get so far being mediocre.
I grew up in a white bread town. In my senior class of 730 people, we had the rare occurrence of being able to sustain TWO East Asian cliques. With the exception of Chinese school, I’ve never been in a learning or work environment where I was part of the majority race and speaking the same language. Many research studies (google if you need references) have discussed how race and gender impact one’s work expectations, in a way where you need to work harder than men or white people to make it at the same level. And when you make it there? You have to fight to stay there and conditions are always working against you.
These environments do not support mediocrity or failure. You’re the only woman on the team? Well, congratulations, you now represent all women and if you fail, all women fail.
I was on a Re:co afternoon panel one year and offhandedly mentioned how I was the first Asian on stage that day. After the day’s talks were over, someone I’ve never met before walked up to me, shook my hand, and said, “Thank you for repping Asians.” This was not a burden I asked to carry but it was one that others recognized.
Whether it’s imposter syndrome, anxiety, perfectionism, work environments, or all the above, being able to be mediocre in work feels like a pipe dream. I often think about what actual diversity would look like. For me, equity success would look like marginalized folks being able to just be okay, or less than average, or be able to fail, without it being any sort of Big Thing.
You’re no longer the only ____ in the room. In fact, you don’t even catch yourself reflexively counting the number of people who look like you.
You can just be you without any mental editing. I’d really love to know what that feels like.
Exploring Video Length Best Practices for Social Media
[BYLINE] Videos are more important than ever, and to make the most out of them you need to know video length best practices for each platform.
Quick text updates & links on what's new on the networks
Instagram is adding: fundraisers can now be published in feed. It’s testing adding timers to stories
Twitter is adding frequency cap for ads. It’s testing limiting replies to your followers only (reply limits already exist, this would be an additional option). The network stopped testing threaded replies.
Facebook. If you’re in Europe, have a page admin in Europe, or have customers in Europe, Facebook Messenger API changes are coming (due to GDPR). The company also acquired Kustomer, a cross-platform customer service CRM.
In other network news, YouTube provided additional info about their algorithm; Google is adding messaging & customer insights to their Maps; WhatsApp added Carts so customers can add products in a message stream.
Helpful links on how to improve your digital marketing
New Research Reveals Mind-Blowing Truth About Customer Reviews
Online reviews are more important than ever. Here are the most important customer review statistics from Podium’s State of Reviews report. “Approximately half of consumers are willing to travel farther and pay more in order to patronize a business with higher reviews.”
www.convinceandconvert.com • Share
How to Expand Your Facebook Ad Targeting to New Audiences
Learn which warm audiences to target with Facebook ads and how to scale to multiple lookalikes. Also discover how to find cold audiences that will work.
www.socialmediaexaminer.com • Share
Removing Gatekeepers From Your Marketing
Learn which gatekeepers create unnecessary friction in your customer experience, and how to remove them from your marketing processes.
Anything I've enjoyed reading recently
This Japanese Shop Is 1,020 Years Old. It Knows a Bit About Surviving Crises.
A mochi seller in Kyoto, and many of Japan’s other centuries-old businesses, have endured by putting tradition and stability over profit and growth.
How Phyllis Johnson of BD Imports Is Championing a Way Forward for the Coffee Industry
Phyllis Johnson has made a lasting impact on the coffee world by consistently exercising generosity, empathy, and vision.
The White Men Who Threaten Me With Their Own Suicide
An excerpt from Ijeoma Oluo’s ‘Mediocre’ on how her writing about race and gender has made her a target for angry white men online.
An update from my container garden!
Yep, I got another calathea, I can't seem to stay away. The calathea dottie has these beautiful dark green leaves and hot pink coloring.
What'd you think?
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