Twitter Bowl

One of my favorite days of the year on Twitter is Super Bowl Sunday. A bunch of commercial watchers tweet the brand bowl, some of us are clearly marcom folks and others are not. I tweeted last night with the #brandbowl  hashtag but there were so many hashtags floating around that I have to plead: Can we just pick one?

Instead of running down some commercials as I have in the past, I have some observations on the social media side.

1. I thought the hashtagged commercials had disappeared… then sometime during the second quarter the hashtags returned. Aside from the #EsuranceSave30, how many of the hashtags were really used? And what is with the changing hashtag for CarMax? #slowclap to #slowbark? If it was an attempt at getting something animal in, I’m not sure it was terribly successful.

2. People who want to act like they have authority to comment on the ads should probably watch the ads and tweet the right brand when they praise or criticize them. I saw a lot of car company names used interchangeably.

3. I noticed that a lot of brands still don’t *get* social media, the internet and human behavior in general. For example, hashtags don’t have spaces and if you have to the audience to make you viral, you’re doing it wrong. 


Continue reading

The Best of ProbablyRachel in 2013

As this year wraps up, I’d like to share with you some of my top moments and posts.

2013 was a big year for me blog-wise.

  1. First, I transferred to self-hosting to be able to steer my blog better, I also own my domain now. I still use (and love!) WordPress. In the process, I only broke my blog once. It was for about 30 minutes and that was two weeks ago.
  2. I joined the Refashion Co-Op to share my projects with other upcycling seamstresses. It didn’t seem like a huge commitment when I joined, just one contribution per month and I’ve made some great friends. Now I find myself wishing that I had more time with my sewing machine and Sally.

  3. ProbablyRachel got a Facebook page. It’s about freaking time! I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to like it since in my head most of you live on Twitter. But I found a pretty good audience on Facebook and I can put out more of those random things that aren’t really blog-worthy but I still want to have conversations on.
  4. Most notably, I went viral. It was a cool experience and I learned a lot from it. Only a few people yelled at me for my opinions (in a year-old blog post), overall everyone was pretty cordial.

Without further rambling, here are my top 10 blogs from 2013: Continue reading

How to Go Viral

(aka: Do what everyone wants to do while not actually doing anything.)

As a communications professional, social media enthusiast and blogger, I know that many have the goal of going “viral” and getting their name and content plastered all over the internet, being discussed in coffee shops and at water coolers all over the country world.

Everyone wants to go viral, but there’s no way to make your own content go viral. The virality of a blog post, video, picture, meme, whatever is up to the jury of the social public… and in the case of my own viral blog post, the media.

Here’s my story about going viral:

Nearly a year ago, I wrote a blog post about why people should take their shoes off in my home. It was infused with exasperation, sarcasm, fact, humor and a little bit of science. Shortly after writing the post, I got a few comments and one site reblogged it and that was the end of it. The post faded into the archives for many months. In fact, I had sort of forgotten about it. (I’ve published 452 453 posts on Probably Rachel along with numerous posts when I was a wedding blogger, several posts on my company blog and client blogs and a few guest posts… after awhile you don’t remember every single piece your write!)

A couple of months ago, I found out that an editor was doing a holiday story on the little shoes-on vs. shoes-off debate and was looking for some input. I sent her some answers and remembered the blog post when I was writing them, so I sent her a link as a little more explanation of what I was saying. A few weeks went by and I heard nothing. Then she contacted me and we talked about the article. She liked my post and wanted to know if she could quote it. She also asked if I could take a picture of my mud room.

The day that the AP released the story, I saw a big spike in blog traffic. That evening while Brad and I were out to dinner, I got an email asking if I would do a radio interview the next morning. I agreed and was on WBAL radio for about 1 minute that morning and they replayed my interview that evening. At the same time, an online news outlet decided not to reprint the story and instead talked about my specific blog post and linked to it, they claimed that it had gone viral.

At the time disagreed, simply based on the sharing and traffic. Sure there was a spike, but not viral by any means… after that article the post really did go viral. Large blogs shared the general story, a local news outlet shared the story but I think they intentionally left me out of it. I knew that I had gone viral when my friend saw the story posted on her cousin’s Facebook. A cousin who had no idea who I was!

I attended the Midwest Social Media Summit yesterday and going viral was mentioned once with the example of a 4-year-old video that went viral because it was “evergreen content.” This is content that is interesting or entertaining now as well as interesting or entertaining in a year, in 2 years, in 4 years and will probably still be interesting or entertaining in a decade.

Going viral comes about in many ways. For me the journey was this:

Write a funny post > forget about it > remember the post and use it as background for an interview > get quoted > interview on AM radio > have a news outlet across the country call you viral > actually go viral > get yelled at on the internet by a bitter old lady > then write a blog post about the experience > carry on with your life.

Brad keeps telling me to write a good blog post so I can go viral again next year. My dear husband has achieved viral status himself, quite some time ahead of me. A client snapped a picture of something at his desk and posted it to the internet and it spread more quickly than the flu.

Things that go viral are typically not marketing messages. They’re usually good content of some sort, be it a funny sign at your desk or a list of reasons to take off your shoes.

By the way, congratulations to Jess who won my Level Foods bundle and thank you to everyone who entered!

An Anniversary and a Facebook Page

Before I tell you my news about Facebook, I need to tell you why today is special…

Seven Years

Today marks seven years that Brad and I have been the couple known as “Brad and Rachel.” More or less, it’s been seven years since Brad told me that we’re humans.

Us in Cleveland in 2008. Long before we knew we’d get married and move here.


We don’t celebrate our dating anniversary specifically anymore, but I feel that it’s important to acknowledge that our relationship started long before we got married. Because of the way our life together played out, we dated for a long time and were engaged for a long time before we actually tied the knot and just because we’re Mr. and Mrs. now those years shouldn’t be forgotten.



It’s kind of a policy of mine to only be Facebook friends with people who I really know offline. Although I consider many people from the internet my friends, it’s just a personal preference.

After connecting with many blogs on Facebook and seeing how people connect with bloggers on that platform, I’ve decided that it’s about time that had its own Facebook page. Continue reading

Horses, Cookies and Patriotism


Way long before my first sip of beer… before I even knew what beer was, Budweiser made me want a horse. Like many little girls, I loved horses. Every year during the Super Bowl that Budweiser features a spot with at least one Clydesdale, I got back to my childhood.

(This year, I may have been enjoying a Yuengling Light during that spot however…)


Chrysler has turned things around in the past few years (I guess since I stopped working for one of their dealers). They consistently produce half time spots that make you stop whatever you’re doing or saying and listen. The Jeep spot this year was no different. The heart-felt message was not about selling Jeeps, it was about promoting what Chrysler supports. (If you don’t know, Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep are the same company.)

When I saw the Jeep-USO ad, I consulted the internet to see what types of support the company gives the USO and came across Operation Safe Return as well as other community service efforts. People online talked about the ad being inappropriate or misplaced money, but honestly, it was one of the few commercials that gave you something to hold onto when it was done. Likewise the God Made a Farmer Dodge Ram spot also made you stop, listen and appreciate. Continue reading