@GaryVee Led Me To Snapchat and I Realized Something

My natural inclination was to stay away for social media

For most of my life, I thought social media apps were time sinks (or wastes of time), where when I engaged, I felt like I didn’t connect with my greatest moments. Even worse, the social media stuff was boring.

If you look at my Instagram before 2016, it’s horrific. There is a ton of emptiness, and the pictures that do exist are a horrible snap shot of my life. It is a mix of me trying “artistic” shots and wondering why the app existed – and then it becomes nothing.

If you looked at my other social media outlets, it’s more of the same. There is no consistency, there is no story. In fact, instead of me reaching out and trying to connect, most of my posts are me being someone I am not.

Another part of the Dayjob

A photo posted by Adam Thomas (@thehonorableat) on


What does this even mean?

Changes…Changes…

In 2014, I read Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, and I got introduced to Gary Vaynerchuk. At first, I thought, what a loud brash guy, but he was a Jets fan.

 I thought I understood the book, but it took almost a year for it to snap into focus.

What I didn’t see is that social is about connection. The apps don’t exist to show off my life, they are there to allow connection at scale.

But I still didn’t get this yet. It took some time, and I had to get obsessed.

So what did I do

Of course I went all in, signed up for his YouTube, and got into his other keynotes, mining for information.

I heard him talking about Snapchat, and raving about it. So like most people, I went ahead and gave it a spin.

I found it boring.

I realized the boring came because most people are awful at it.

All sunshine and rainbows

People use “the snap” for things that are better suited for other networks.

I don’t think Snapchat is for that. The value add that comes from Snapchat is impromptu connection.

It is connection, through the randomness of life. It is learning through doing. Snapchat wins for the content creator because it gives us a view on what you do, honestly, in bite sized chunks. The shortness of the snap, the chance that you might miss it, having double opt ins, all mean that you have to want the material, and you have to digest it.

This is the greatest move in gaining attention in the moment.

The best people I see using the service do so in a candid way. You put a piece of yourself out there, and it opens the door for honest conversation. It’s why when you answer a snap, you find the conversation going in a million places.  You get more from adding and getting than you do from subtracting and synthesising.

So, if you want a service that builds on you talking about your day, about connecting with important work, about getting to know people, Snapchat is your deal. It is a place for real insight.

Find me there , @thehonorableAT, and be ready for a message. I love interacting, and talking back 🙂

End of The Year! My Mega Post On What’s Happened and What Will Happen! 2015!!!!!

The end of the year

As we walk into a new calendar year, I want to take the time to lay out what went well, what happened unexpectedly, and what went wrong. Each of these things have a lesson in them, especially the failures, and documenting them helps not only me, but anyone who reads them know that there are lessons in anything.

The end of December is a great time to deal with clean slate thinking (since everyone else is) and work out what didn’t go well and what did go well over the last year. It was both exhilarating and painful to write this, but so is anything else that’s good.

What happened in 2015

I spent the last few days sitting over and thinking about the goals I set in 2015, and what they mean for me. Usually when I do this, I try to pull a bunch of notebooks out and crawl over the notes, hoping to find some nugget of wisdom to move into the next year, but having this blog, and forcing myself to go through that process every month, made me sharper in dealing with whats important and knowing what to write.

So, my process got better.  But what did I do that got better over the last year?

 

Expected

  • I expected to get more confident – I wasn’t confident. Over the last few years, I saw my confidence erode due to problems at work, an expanding waistline, and, dealing with some of the darker sides of comedy. So, I made a point to get confident again. It started with reading, then doing. Tools like online workshops meshed with networking events. Building my contact list and providing value to the people on it gave me more juice. By the end of 2015, I am starting to feel like the old me again, and I love it since my plans for 2016 involve me making a few scary leaps.
  • Better read – I worked myself into a good reader. I started the year as an “ok” reader, taking time to read when I could, but by the end of the year I got back to enjoying books. It’s become a bit of an addiction. The benefits are tremendous. 100 books later I feel like a better reader and a writer. I read so much I learned I had to change my strategy though, but more on that later.
  • Connecting more with family/friends – It felt like I didn’t talk to anyone in 2014, but now my relationships are in a great place. It started strangely, automating my texts to friends and family (sounds cold but it worked by forcing me into a conversation) and then  eventually spending more time.I made sure the time meant more too with no cell phone, no computer, no books. I put my attention on them.
  • Clutter – I started this year with a ton of stuff. Now I don’t have that stuff anymore. It’s nice to walk in my apartment and have room to move and nothing to clean up. I feel like my mind freed up.
  • Physical Appearance – It’s always interesting to see how things morph. At first I thought of ways to exercise, but I found out about coaching in February and took a chance. She walked me through and taught me a ton over the 6 weeks we worked together, and now I am the sharpest guy in the room most days. That gave me the confidence to lose weight (down 30 pounds this year) and work on the other parts of my appearance (Sharp haircut, shoes, etc)

Unexpected

  • The video blog  – I never thought about doing video until this year. I hated recording. Now, I am glad its out there. Its been a way for me to try to understand how I come across, and work to get better in a medium that is just getting more and more widespread.

  • My social media – I read Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World in 2014 and thought I understood it, but it took almost a year of thinking, and finally experimenting (because of this blog) to get the most out of the book.
  • This blog – Speaking of the blog, I knew I was going to write more in 2015, but to look at this now and see that I’ve done over 300 posts in a year amazes me. I’ve become a better writer, better at getting my ideas out, and better at delivering content. I can’t wait to see what lessons writing for over 350 will do for me next year. Better content begets better content.
  • Being a Godfather – I am the godfather  to a wonderful baby girl(Hi Skyler). Very important to me and a cherished honor, especially since my life was headed for calamity at the time of her birth.
  • Jury Duty – After having a period of crisis earlier in the year(A lot of flux and starting a bunch of scary experiments that turned into the wins above) I received a jury summons. It was the last thing I wanted. What I thought would be just an interesting experience to check out the courthouse for a day turned into 4 months away from work. I got to do a lot of thinking and reading during this period,and it changed my life for the better. An experience I recommend for everyone.

Losses

  • Job – For all my personal wins, my job suffered. I concluded that I didn’t want to deal with it anymore. My chance at delivering my best isn’t here, so 2016 is a year I venture into the new.
  • Submitting content – Where I was great at generating content, I was horrible at submitting it . I put out 1 guest post and ended up doing 1 writing packet. Number I won’t repeat in 2016.
  • Calendar – I didn’t give deference to my calendar. I learned how to deal with the tactics, but never invested in it emotionally.
  • Comedy – I didn’t do it nearly the amount I wanted to in 2015. There were pockets of working on it every day, and weeks where I didn’t see a stage.
  • Meditation – Like comedy, fits and spurts. The good news is, I could have said the same thing for the blog, and now its a pretty strong habit.

What will happen in 2016

The future is interesting because it isn’t set. If you would have told me that I would spend a quarter of my year in a courthouse last December I wouldn’t believe you. Life changes, and to try to plot it out in on big chunk isn’t the way to go.

Sadly, I did that in 2014, and I fear I missed something because our limited energy, and when we focus on something, we miss out on another thing.

So, its time to experiment, and go for something newer that gives me direction, while letting my mind roam. I am going for big themes and little milestones.

By doing it this way, I am going to learn a ton and make some mistakes, but the plan is to have my 2016 process get bigger. I spent 2015 looking at what was in front of me instead of the big picture planning that introduces huge reward.

Themes

Execution

My biggest failures are failures of execution. It’s also where I find the most opportunities. This year, some places I executed well (this blog) and some places I executed badly (brand expansion).  One of the things I want to focus on in 2016 is how to expand on executing not just for myself, but for the community around me.

Abstinence

Some of the greatest lessons come from cutting things away. I learned that in 2015. I want to expand on it in 2016.  What can I remove in my life, a physical or emotional object, that will let me know that everything is OK – that life goes on. I did it with my cell phone for a month and if I handled that, I know I can handle much more.

Education

I read over 100 books. This was great, but only a first step. I never plan on reading 100 books again. My plan going forward, is to pick a great choice of books that I read through last year, and study them fully. I did this on accident with Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World , but now I plan on doing it on purpose with several books I read this year. I will still take in a new book and read it, but I want to put my energy in the books that have the most to share, because often you don’t get everything out of it on the first read.

Communication

Communication was always scary to me. In my past,I dealt with a ton of shoot the messenger (i.e. getting in trouble for bringing bad news) so I learned how to avoid saying things. What I thought was a strength turned out as a weakness. Vulnerability is critical here, because often the reason I don’t make the first move is fear that the other person won’t like it.

Big Ideas

Around September this year I had a frightening observation. When I looked around me, I only saw what was in front, I never looked down the road. I rarely pursued my legacy.I am not going to repeat this mistake. Now its time to take a swing at big ideas, and I will keep up time to work on just that. Clean up time is over, now its time to bat for the win.

In Conclusion

This was a good year. I ended up fixing a lot of the problems I had. It led to huge development, not just in my self, but network and community.

I think the 5 themes for 2016 only help building those three things and in a year, I will be back here, revisiting how that worked, and how it makes me work. If you have any questions, please tweet me and lets discuss your goals and plans.

Social Media Stuff

Lately, I have been trying to develop a social media strategy – it hasn’t been working.

Nothing has stuck. With nothing sticking, I have been pondering what is stopping my numbers from exploding.

I have noticed something…

All the strategy in the world won’t help if I don’t give people a product they want.

The good news? I have really learned how to be a lot more candid on my mental process through writing this blog. I have been open with my feelings, good and bad.

Now I have to learn how to be more candid on the things I do physically. More observing and reporting my process.

This should lead me to even more sharing and improvement, which should give me more pull via social media 🙂

Looking forward to it!

How is your process – drop a comment or @ThehonorableAT on Twitter. Lets talk

Start Today

I often wonder what is my place with social media.

It feels pretty silly to go ahead and do. It feels silly to jump into the water with my material and see where I float.

Is it good enough? Where do I land when I make these things happen? What if nothing happens?

These questions run through my mind, and maybe yours when ever you decide to put your art or your work out there.

There is no answer to that but to plow through.

Seth Godin often says the best day to start was yesterday, so start today.

But I am scared.

Where Are We Going

Where am I going with my social media?

We push ourselves in a direction with our campaign, but he hardly ever sit and wonder just what we are pushing ourselves towards.

We make mistakes. Some things can’t be avoided, but large amount of problems could be if we took a second and scoped out the landscape.

Social media a mess for most of us. Haphazard posts, asking for a follow, a friend, or a fan, but there is no direction.

Ask yourself, what would you want to see when you look at social media. What would help you. Follow people who follow the mold. Add your interesting things to it, experiment, and bring the people along.

They are waiting.

Further Reading

[Ctrl Alt Del] (http://www.amazon.com/Ctrl-Alt-Delete-Business-Depends/dp/1455523305)

Social Media Curation

One of the keys to the future is Social Media curation.

It is often neglected, passed along to the interns, shuttled behind closed doors. It gets left behind,along with its valuable lessons and insights

For many creatives, there is a vision of “keeping it real”.” My art will get me discovered.”

It’s odd, but a lot of things are left by the wayside in the name of “paying dues”. You get no bonus points for making things hard on yourself.

It just leaves you wondering why you didn’t put things to work in the first place.

Building a tribe happens at the smaller levels. Social media is perfect for that these days, because we all are not looking in the same places, except if they happen to be Twitter, Facebook, or Youtube.

Like many other things, there will be bumps bruises and problems along the way. But the payoff could be tremendous.

Even if it isn’t, you have gotten another tool to make this all work. And you have gained to skill to sell it to someone who could use it.

*Reading:

Ctrl + Alt + Del(http://www.amazon.com/Ctrl-Alt-Delete-Business-Depends/dp/1455523305)

Seth Godin (http://www.sethgodin.com)*

Breaking the Charade

Sunday mornings seem like they are great for reflection.

I guess that is why most businesses are closed, Christians celebrate religious services, school is out, work slows down, and we all get to sit down and bask in the glory of the day.

Sunday always meant church for me, which meant work, which meant appearances, which means I hated Sundays for most my life. I had to get up, put on a suit, brush my teeth, cross my t’s and dot my i’s to make sure I looked good, because the family would be going to church.

This was a good and bad thing. I learned about appearances, and how important they were to keep. We had to make a show of it, because the people were expecting a show. To not make a show, at least a little bit, was to make you an outcast. There would be gossip, and shunning, even at tiny levels.

The bad was I learned more about human nature. A place that said it was inclusive and forgiving, really wasn’t. The gossip flew – “Did you see what that family wore” even as the Bible said come as you are. People would be judged – “I saw ___ boy at the liquor store” even as the bible said judge lest ye be judged.

I soaked a lot of this in, because I was a quiet observer. Slowly, I let it chip away at my feelings towards religion as a whole. I became an agnostic while spending 3 days a week at a holy building. I knew the bible, but what I saw just wasn’t matching up.

I think back and feel like I shouldn’t have let that happen sometimes. Maybe the key to all of it was forgiveness for your fellow man. Jesus was a strong person, and if a lot of that was true (minus the magic) then he was a great man who had a great capacity for compassion, even if his followers didn’t.

But I also think maybe the lesson was to forge out ahead, and be your own man. Look and see what group think brings to you, look what it makes you. Sometimes, when you are a part of the group you can’t just be honest. The story changes. A charade has to happen because if it doesn’t the whole thing falls apart.

As a comedian I would like to be able to change minds while making people laugh. I think an artists most noble mission is to take shots at the status quo, to show the world how it is, to break the charade – wrapped in a bouquet of beauty.

I want to break that charade without breaking the people behind it. As this Sunday rolls on, it becomes another week where this sits in the back of my mind, and allows me to push forward.


Movie Day is today. I have been picking out Sunday to go to see a film since the beginning of the month, and I think i will stick with this routine.

It is pretty nice to be able to unplug yourself, and surrender to something for 2 hours, without checking your phone, or looking at Twitter, Facebook, or even talking.

Its why I go alone. I want the time to let my brain sit on whatever it is processing at the time. If nothing comes, fine, but I want to train it to have Sunday be a time of silence.

The movie thing also helps because it allows me to see other people’s ideas, good or bad. I get to see show business from the consumers point of view. I can learn more on what makes a good movie, what makes a good story, or even, why did this thing go so wrong. Then I can use what I learned to improve my own work.

I’d like to learn how to tell a story, and this is the first step in making that happen.


I need to fill up my calendar more. It has always been a tool I neglect, even at work, where everyone lives by the calendar. People use it to watch meeting invitations, and the assumption is that you are busy if anything is on your calendar.

I have been taking that opportunity to block out 30 minutes a day in order to go over my comedy sets. It has generally worked. I want to use it now to

1) give myself time on Monday mornings to plan out my week as per 99u’s Managing Your Day to Day.

2) Organize my personal life in order to remember shows and get an idea of how my month is going in terms of comedy.

I don’t quite know where it will lead. Maybe ill be in the same boat in September. But I hope it will give me inspiration to be a better worker at work, and power my comedy. Push me to more markets.


Social media curating is a thing. Its a very important thing. It is something I have failed to do, and as a creative who wants to be a freelance person in the future, it is something I better learn how to do.

I want to pick Sunday as a day to really get into my social media. I need to buffer statuses, build a Facebook following, and update my about.me enthuse linked.in and hoverboard.io pages, and connect everything so they can work as one well oiled machine.

I may even make a brand new comedy twitter handle because I need to separate personal and professional. I need to make everything squeaky clean so when the next step of my career comes, I can be ready.

I can’t just be lazy and try to blame fate. Be the change you want to be.


Distractions are the devil. I tried to read something today while some audio was playing and I lost track of everything I read. Whenever I work with silence, I learn just how much lyrics and talk can distract someone from getting meaningful work done.

I think I will be investing in noise cancellation headphones.

Do: Wrapup Pushups CPAP 3 things
Don’t: Meditation to-do water vegetable juice thank you 16/8