An Advocate and Influencer goes well beyond the Twitter Feed

Life has sure taken many turns as a blogger.  I started off small.  For a time, I ended up catering to brands and grew quite an audience of readers.  I have to admit, even I was excited with the attention.  This year, I looked at my income and decided to make my blog smaller, build my business, avoid social media much of the time and create a nice little niche for myself.    The cost/benefit of working your ass off writing reviews shows little benefit come tax time.

Yes, I no longer have parcels arriving to my door every day.   The only people who appears irked with this is my son and daughter.   Many of the things were pleasant, while others I do not care to write about because it doesn’t fit into our wacky family scheme of life.

If I see a brand online that I enjoy, I will engage about their product fully knowing it’s the person who I enjoy talking to and not the label.    I’ve seen a huge turn in the Delta Chelsea Hotel and I know that they’ve changed reps because they now offer the date and the weather forecast.  They do not respond to queries very often….therefore, I know my Delta Dude has left the building for sure. It’s somewhat sad that they don’t ‘get’ it but with that said, I still love the Delta Chelsea because it is the only hotel that offers free Internet in Downtown Toronto (that I’m aware of).

A Funny Tale about Being an Advocate

I arrived at a business meeting last week and saw that the owner had the brand new Blackberry Z10.  Of course, being a Blackberry user (and advocate) for about 10 years, I was quick to grab it and ask what he thought of it.   He looked at me a little shocked and said, “Trina, don’t tell me that this is your first time seeing it?  Weren’t you one of the first ones to test it out?”.   I simply responded, no and moved forward with the meeting.

Someone else arrived and, of course, the Blackberry Z10 became part of the conversation once again.  The guy looked at me and asked what my thoughts were on the product.  I again responded that I didn’t know as this was my first time seeing the device.  Shock and awe….then silence.  I was like who the hell am I, the Blackberry guru to business?

I giggled a little.  I don’t know if it was in shame that I wasn’t part of the “elite” team who were selected to test drive the device immediately after its launch, or that I really did think it was funny.

I had an ah-ha moment though.  Not only was I an advocate in the social media room, but I was also a huge advocate in the board room as well.  I promoted Blackberry and their devices online AND in real time. Executives listened to my input on Blackberry wholeheartedly.  That’s a huge advocate to have as a brand.

For no other reason than this year’s tag of “Elite” and my exclusion from it, I decided that I wanted to explore other options in technology.  After 10 years of being a devote Blackberry fan, I decided to purchase an iPad Mini….just to give it a test drive.  After four hours, I was in love.  I was in love with the applications available.  The way Evernote worked on it.   The accessibility to my iTunes account that I abandoned after ridding myself of my iPod Touch.    I really can’t explain what has me hooked, but I use it all of the time.

On the negative side, I hate the way the email is setup on the iPad and for that reason, I am happy that I did not purchase the iPhone.

So…….when I pulled out my iPad Mini at this meeting that’s when all eyes focused on me.

“You’ve got an iPad Mini?  Where is your Playbook?”, one inquired.

I simply explained that I tested the iPad out and it suited my needs much better.   When asked if I still had my phone, I immediately showed my 9900 and stated that I’m researching all of my options before committing to the Z10.  It was that moment when I stupefied them.  One even said that I was bitter.

“No I’m not bitter but I’m calling a spade a spade.  Dedication is given when dedication is received,” I proudly proclaimed.

One even asked that I give them my feedback.

Am I an advocate or a hypocrite?

I like to think that, over the past few  years, I’ve been one of the sources where many people could access information about the Blackberry product and the enjoyment that I have experienced over the past ten years.   I can’t imagine changing my Smartphone for another device, however, much like the iPad experience, anything is possible.

I have opened my mind to change.   It’s a true test of advocacy.  Will I venture onto a Samsung Galaxy S3?  An iPhone?  A Windows Phone?   Or will I stay true to the functionality that Blackberry has offered to me since 2004?  Honestly, I feel like I’m an open book and it feels great.

I will not speak about anyone else in the social media world, but the world of blogging is grey.  Reviews are no longer authentic as they are no longer coming from devote advocates of the brand name.  Brands and PR Companies are utilizing lists of top influencers to drive their product.  I know that with Blackberry, I have seen some of the top influencers, who never used a Blackberry prior to receiving one during the launch, state that they “just can’t get into it”.

I really respect the product and that it is made in Waterloo, Ontario.  I still remember when Oprah showed her Blackberry during the My Favorite Things show back in 2004???  Blackberry has been a huge component of my life, much like HP, Sony and JBL have become huge components in our media room.

I take time to review the products that I select and promote.  I certainly hope that a transition will take place where brands take the time to explore influencers who can truly relate to their product whether their numbers online are big or small. A point to remember, online numbers are simply one component of an influencer’s life.   Many will venture away from the keyboard and Twitter to spend time being business people, friends, and community members.

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