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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Little tweet does wonders for the mood

A long time ago, when I was first starting my career, someone gave me sage advice.
“You’ll never hear about it when you do a good job.”
A co-worker at a previous job said he never got a pat on the back about good work from his higher-ups but heard about every mistake he’d made.
A few years later, while taking a management class at Lakeland Community College, the teacher pointed out how easy it is to tell someone they made an error and admitted that giving praise is the hardest thing we have to do.
That’s why every time I get an email or a phone message that includes a compliment, I tuck it away for safe keeping.
Then, on the inevitable bad day when I’m feeling as though I can’t do a thing right, I dial up my voice mail or dig into the “read mail” folder for a little bit of a lift.
That plan worked great until a couple of months ago when an update to my email program erased all my saved messages. It also erased all my saved email addresses, but that’s a column for another day.
Gone were all those notes that kind readers had sent to let me know that they liked something we’d printed or a program we’d started or even something I’d written.
I still have a different kind of written evidence that people like me, they really like me — a few of the letters that have found my mail slot over the years.
Luckily, though, there are other places to get this feedback that I obviously crave.
Facebook and Twitter are the most immediate. You put something out there, and people will offer you their opinions.
Whether it’s a joke or a story or a funny little cartoon, your friends and followers are more than happy to weigh in.
These social media sites also give you the chance to offer your take on others’ posts.
For the first few years I used Facebook and Twitter, it was mostly Comments Out, Comments In. I rarely offered my opinion on what others were doing. But, over time, as I noticed more and more of my friends doing it, I dipped my toe in the pool to test the waters and came back unscathed, so I did more and more of it.
A few weeks ago, after hearing stories for a while about his interactions with the public, I decided to try to win Browns tickets by answering a question posed by the Browns’ Josh Cribbs.
He’s incredibly active on Twitter, frequently posting comments about his personal life and how the Browns are doing. He’ll say if practice was difficult or if they had a bad game or even if things are home aren’t going all that well.
Cribbs frequently responds to his followers’ suggestions for places to visit, often stopping by at parties or fan gatherings just because he’s asked.
So, on a recent Friday night, I gave his movie quiz a shot. The first to answer the question correctly would win tickets for the Sept. 25 Dolphins game. I had the right answers, but was a little late getting them in.
But, sending the message to Cribbs gave me a lot of confidence that famous people aren’t going to attack when you reach out and touch them, electronically speaking.
A few weeks later, on Sunday night, while sitting home bored and waiting for a television show to come on, I was reading through Twitter posts and suddenly let out a laugh at one from CBS “Early Show” host Chris Wragge.
He’s a huge New York Giants fan, and after Sunday’s upset loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Wragge took to Twitter to express his displeasure and also lash out at other games he happened to be watching.
Apparently, at one point, he turned on the Denver-San Diego game, and he offered an assessment of Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
“I have a quicker release than Tim Tebow. #bigwindup #QB”
Because of my non-traumatic experience tweeting Cribbs, I felt comfortable sending a note to Wragge, letting him know he was cracking me up with his NFL analysis. For fun, I included a hashtag, #thenewmadden.
Obviously, what followed left me a bigger fan of Wragge than Cribbs.
He laughed out loud! At me!
Chris Wragge laughed at me!
Because I’m not confident in my ability to keep anything stored safely on my computer, I decided to write about it here. Hope you don’t mind. Sure, it’s more for me than you, but I’m celebrating.
You would too!
To leave a comment on this column, go to Or you can send Kessel a note on Twitter. You can be sure she’ll see it.
Twitter: @Lauranh


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