I am trying to remember when I first met Jillian Jackson. I’m fairly certain it was in the early days of Twitter, back when it was fun and you could meet new people and make friends fairly easily.
But I do remember being completely compelled to learn more about her after I read her blog, Mama, Things Are Okay.
It isn’t just another PR or marketing blog. It’s not another fashion blog. It’s not another sports blog.
She writes letters to her mama about what she’s doing every day and I LOVE THAT. I love people who not only respect their parents, but worship them. I think it says a lot about their character.
I will add a caveat: She no longer blogs there (you can find the link to her new blog at the end of this article), but that was what hooked me.
She is a digital marketer, community manager, and search professional. Though she’s a slight departure from our strict PR professional features, I’ve always been impressed with her communication skills, both online and off.
That’s why I’ve asked her to sit on the Spin Sucks Inquisition hot seat.
What is the Biggest Mistake You’ve Made in Your Career?
I would actually say I made the biggest mistake before my career began.
I was in college and was focused more on schoolwork than on crafting my ideal career path. I believed the people around me, who said they had my future in mind, would give me all the information I needed for my future.
But I didn’t get a real view of what the world of work IS.
I didn’t spend enough time being socially nosy at my internships.
I didn’t study meetings and project planning sessions to see what was actually being said, other than to take notes.
I didn’t stop to consider what projects were getting green-lighted versus the projects that really needed doing.
I wasn’t curious enough about the sheer variety of career paths available in the world of “writing” and “marketing.”
I trusted that working at an advertising agency was the only thing I needed to want, because that was the atmosphere I was being prepared for.
Because of school projects and textbook scenarios, I trusted that every brand was a big brand with hulking ad budgets where experimentation was a foregone conclusion, and that wild ideas were sure to win out.
In short, I trusted school so much that I didn’t even know my “fabulous advertising career dreams” were limiting.
What is One Thing about Yourself that Would Surprise Most People?
When I pick up a hobby, I really delve deeply into it.
I have five college-sized tote boxes full of sewing fabric, earmarked for future outfit-making.
I sewed up a handmade diaper bag for my sister, to welcome her firstborn in 2008.
Yeah, I really get into hobbies.
If You Could Achieve Everything You Ever Wanted in Life, but Had to Die 10 Years Sooner, Would You Make that Trade?
YES, I would gladly make that trade.
In his short life, Lincoln achieved a change that set our country on a course toward human rights for all.
Same for MLK, Jr.
I’d add my own parents and grandparents made their own indelible marks upon the policies and various landmarks of the United States.
Each has lived a commendable and motivating life.
I’d have to say that if my life accomplishments can help change the world and can be viewed as a motivating example for younger generations, I’m happy to give it my all for the time I’m here and go when it’s time to go.
What Industry Advice or Practice Would You Most Like to Cry Foul On?
I’d like to put the first nail in the coffin of the “content pump” mentality.
Even BuzzFeed sees that pumping out a fire-hose of drivel, for the benefit of nothing but SEO and thereby advertising gains, is a short-term fix that creates a long-term drain.
They stepped back in 2014 and began hiring journalists and real writers, along with video producers to bring legitimacy back to its name.
It has been a slow gain.
We can ALL benefit from stepping back and sifting out what consistent content we can present that will be of lasting benefit to readers, fans and peers.
I want real collaboration to come back, and the “sharing” economy might truly begin to grow.
I’m reminded of the Ann Friedman Friday email, in which she summarizes content she (a freelance writer) has consumed during the week, in a well-crafted listing of links with an editorial slant.
Feedback for this email includes many fans that read all the links included, and praise Ann’s curation skills.
Readers can crave a shared spotlight, as long as what’s IN that spotlight is amazing.
What is the Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Six Months?
I keep re-reading “Decisive” by Chip and Dan Heath because it sort of re-wrote my brain.
It is a book that everyone needs to read, especially when a discussion or project they want to undertake, turns into a zero-sum situation.
Every time I re-read the book (the first time I read this was in 2013) I find places in my life that I have reduced my set of choices to “do” or “do not” when there are really a lot of ways to move forward.
Flexibility is a skill, in my personal case, and it needs to be practiced and mastered.
Why Does Spin Suck?
Simply put, spin sucks because it is intentionally misleading.
Even if it’s not exactly lying, the effect on the target audience is the same: Misdirection.
It intentionally takes the decision to trust you out of the reader or listener’s hands. That infuriates me.
Where You can Find Jillian Jackson
She also is trying to get back into the swing of content creation for fun and has asked us to hold her accountable to it.
So check out Mama, Things Are Okay and her new blog, Unconventional.
Personally, I’d like her to keep writing to her mama so maybe you can help me pressure her.