Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pomegranates and Social Media

The pomegranate gets its name from the Latin “pomum” (apple) and “granatus” (seeded). Seems like a good name for a fruit that has reddish skin and around 600 seeds.

I took my friend out to lunch the other day to thank her for creating my online portfolio. Knowing my fondness for beer, she suggested a brewpub in between our two homes. It was a hot day, which made the pomegranate wheat beer on the menu all the more appealing.

Pomegranate is such a trendy cocktail ingredient these days. Pomtinis (the best name, if not concoction) Pom cosmos, margaritas, punch—you name it. The color alone draws you in like a magnet.

So of course, we both ordered the pomegranate beer.

It proved to be the perfect accompaniment to our conversation.

As 50-something women who have both made a living on the creative side of marketing, we are dismayed and shocked to be more-or-less out of work. Sure, a few little jobs drib and drab in. Sadly, they’re not enough to keep either of us from eyeing our savings.

It’s disheartening to think that this is happening despite the fact that I’ve been writing advertising for more than 25 years. For over 20 of those years, I’ve been a freelancer and kept myself quite gainfully employed. I can’t put a number on my friend’s years as a graphic artist, but suffice it to say, she’s earned a “senior” job title designation. Yet here we both are, trying to remember what it’s like to sign the back of a paycheck.

Our lunch conversation touched on how we’re trying to, not totally reinvent ourselves, but retool ourselves for today’s social-media-dominant world. That’s why my friend is in school learning how to develop websites. As print sinks, online rises. By adding HTML to her CMYK* skills, she’s able to cast a wider net for jobs.

I too, am finding a migration from traditional advertising vehicles to ones I’m just now dabbling in. I’m seeing a lot of job posts for copywriters who “understand social media like they were born into it.” I’m about 25 years too old to fit into that category. But I do have the “active social network” they request. It’s just in person, not on the Web.

So now I’m asking friends and family to follow me into the world of blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, etc. to help prove that I know how to start a conversation, build a community, encourage participation and bring in friends of friends. Just like I’ve been doing since I was a kid. Only this time, it’s online.

Because I don’t want to totally change what I’ve spent my career doing. But I am willing to make myself more contemporary, more relevant. Willing to add a little pomegranate to my beer.

*That’s industry-speak for adding computer skills to her print production talents. HTML stands for hypertext markup language (which is a fancy way of saying the code that makes web pages do what they do). CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black). These are known as process colors, or the colors used in the four-color process—the printing technique that makes the junk mail you receive so enticing.


  1. An excellent commentary on the evolving world we all occupy these days. Full of metaphoric seeds.