Not Inappropriate. Just Ridiculous. But I Do Know What I’m Talking About.

I love red hair, pink drinks, and sugared rims. I am what I am.

I live in the very small and very strange world of social media. Well, it’s giant in the sense that everyone and their dog is on Facebook and Twitter, Google is commonly used as a verb, and YouTube gets over two billion video views a day. But factor in the fact that I use social media professionally for politics, and that pool shrinks down to a shallow puddle.

That’s right. I talk about politics on the internet for a living. I’m by no means the 1% in terms of income, but I make enough money to pay the kids’ tuition, buy an occasional pair of cute shoes, and enough boxed wine from BevMo to keep me happy. What else does a girl need?

I am the 1% of bloggers that get paid to do this. Take that for what you will, but I am incredibly thrilled to be able to have a job that I love instead of one that I tolerate in order to keep up with our lifestyle choices. We’ve chosen to make a life in Southern California, send our daughters to private school, to tithe to our church, drive an SUV, and occasionally go on a date to a fancy restaurant.

It’s a choice, it takes two incomes, and I am thrilled with my life.

This past weekend I was in San Francisco, having been invited to speak to the California Republican Party about the virtues of embracing social media like blogs, Facebook, and especially Twitter. I’ve spoken to many grassroots groups in the past about this topic, and I was looking forward to sharing my perspective in a seminar targeted to CA GOP County Chairs.

While at the convention, I happened to overhear a comment questioning the appropriateness of my presence on a panel at a GOP event. *

Wait … what? How is it inappropriate for me to speak to GOP leaders about how to use social media to connect with the voters? I’m usually speaking to the grassroots voters, and they are hungry for their leadership to have an online presence. How could I not be the perfect person to talk to the leadership about utilizing awesome tools to get voters connected to and invested in races to get out the vote?

This is what I do. I *get* social media. As evidenced by the fact that people pay me for my expertise on the matter. Do I know everything about everything? No. Do I even know everything about internet antics? No. But I have worked long and hard, and mostly through trial and error, have figured out a lot about what works online and what doesn’t.

It is a joy and a pleasure to share my thoughts about what I have learned with the public. My goal, with everything I do in my professional, political life, is to advance conservatism, so that everyone may have the opportunity to dream big and touch the stars.  When an opportunity to speak to GOP leadership about effectively using social media to get the vote out came up, I jumped at it. Votes are what win elections, and conservative voters vote for conservative candidates, who then create laws that don’t undermine the free market, and block the passage of those that do.

I am obviously not an inappropriate choice to speak to the California GOP leadership.

Sure, anyone that’s followed me online for even just a little bit knows that I have a tendency toward ridiculousness. I’m an odd duck in many regards. I hate calling people. I sneak into the Lincoln Memorial at 1am. I write posts about legs. I dye my hair red on a whim. Heck, I even write posts comparing my bikini-clad body to the national deficit.

I share these stories with you because they amuse me, and I hope they make you laugh a little. I also share my tales of struggle with parenting and marriage and hormones, because being a mom and a wife and a chick shapes who I am. I’m not into the whole ‘present an image to world of someone who’s not really me’ thing. What’s the point of that anyway? No one is perfect, so why pretend?

Above all, I want to share my life as an encouragement to others. I want people to know that politics is not a scary, unapproachable subject, and even someone as ridiculous as I am can get a firm grasp of what is going on in our country.

Take it or leave it, love me or hate me, but please don’t insult my job skills. I may be ridiculous at times, but attempting to undermine my knowledge in the field I have chosen as my profession just makes you look bad.

*This is why I would never ever wish for telepathic abilities. I’m perfectly content to live in ignorant bliss of how some people may feel about me.

I’m Going to Share My Blogging Secrets This Friday in DC! (Come Say Hi!)

On the way to DC, before I was allowed to open my laptop and start blogging about blogging, I picked up the in-flight magazine for US Airways. Perusing the pages, I found an interesting excerpt from TLC’s The Cake Boss’s memoir/cookbook, due in stores this month. The Boss (Buddy Valastro) chronicles his journey from a grunt making cookies in the family bakery to the master baker that he is today.

He talked about the importance of starting at the beginning of things; learning and mastering one skill at a time to accumulate knowledge and the feel of things, until it becomes like second nature. “Repetition leads to mastery,” he tells his readers.

This basic concept can be applied to everything in life; I remember when my kids learned to walk, and they struggled with each step. Now, they run around like little hooligans, without a second thought as to how to work their short little legs.

It can be applied to blogging. Above all else, blogging is writing – word crafting – and it, like baking, takes practice and repetition to get good, and it takes passion and love for the art to keep going.

I’ve always kept a journal. I have a vivid memory of being about three years old, sitting on our family’s patio, doodling into a notebook that someone had given me to entertain myself keep the toddler out of their hair. Most pre-literate kids would draw pictures. Me? I carefully scribbled line by line, wishing I knew which letters would make up the words that were in my head. I thought if I scribbled enough, they would automatically turn into letters and words, and my story would be recorded for posterity. I don’t remember what I wanted to record, but I do remember that determination to write my story down.

I’ll confess something to you guys: I’ve only had one teacher in my entire life that ever told me I was a good writer. In fact, I struggled for B’s in my English classes all the way from kindergarten (my penmanship was horrid) through University. The one exception was my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Riis, who told me that she thought I was a wonderful writer.

Mrs. Riis, if you’re out there, thank you.

If you have that passion to write, to string words together and share them with the world, a blog is a perfect vehicle to hone your skill. It’s simple and free to set up, no one can fire you, and you only need to know the basics to start.

I’ve been blogging personally since 2005, and professionally for the last two years, and believe me; I’ve learned some tips and tricks. When I first got hired by someone to write for their site, they sent me a list of SEO guidelines. I had to Google SEO to figure out what that even was.

Yup, I was a total professional.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to set a tone and create a brand. I’ve learned the difference between keeping it real and over-sharing. I’ve learned the importance of networking with other bloggers. I’ve learned how to be good at this, and I want to help you get good too.

I’ll be teaching a blogging 101 class with my friend Erik Telford this Friday in Washington, D.C. at AFP’s Defending the American Dream Summit. If you’re attending, come listen to me blather on about blogging trade secrets. Oh, and please ask me stupid questions. I love stupid questions. Asking them is how you learn things.

If you’re not here in DC, let me know if there’s interest in me writing up some blogging basics. Oh never mind, I’ll probably do it anyway.

It’s the writer in me.

Right Online is Less Than a Month Away!

Here’s some info for yah!

This summer Americans for Prosperity Foundation will host the fourth annual RightOnline conference in Minneapolis, MN on June 17-18th.

This year’s conference will feature leaders in government, new media, and grassroots mobilization such as Governor Tim Pawlenty, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Fox News Contributor and best selling author Michelle Malkin, conservative commentator and author Andrew Breitbart, Fox News Contributor S.E. Cupp, RedState.com’s Erick Erickson, HotAir.com’s Ed Morrissey, TownHall.com’s Guy Benson, the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund, and many more. Click here to learn more about RightOnline.

I’ll be there at RightOnline and AFP Foundation has give me the below discount code for my readers.

Click here to register with the discount code “fightback” to receive 25% off.

For the fourth straight year RightOnline will be at the same time and place as NetRoots Nation, the largest annual gathering of liberal bloggers and activists. The national media will converge on Minneapolis to report on the latest news from both events. If we don’t keep up the pressure at RightOnline it won’t be long before the liberals get to go back to their tax and spend ways.

RightOnline will also feature workshops and panels hosted by experts in their respective fields. The areas of focus will include Online Activism 101, Advanced Online Activism, Tools and Resources, Investigative Reporting/Citizen Journalism, Public Policy Issues, and Grassroots Activism.

This will be a great opportunity to network and meet with grassroots activists, influential bloggers, and other representatives of conservative organizations.

I hope you will join us in Minneapolis for this important event. Remember to use the code “fightback” for 25% off.

Lessons in Logic: A Meta Post

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a lecture on logic by the brilliant Michael Eatmon. Mr. Eatmon is an educator out of Florida, an engaging speaker, and all around dynamic human being. While I was listening to him espouse the importance of logical thinking, I could feel my fingers itch for the keyboard so I could share with you the importance of using logic in our political debates.

Logic, Mr. Eatmon asserts, is not merely an abstract concept, but something that has tremendous practical application. Essentially, it is the process of thinking about thinking, or at the risk of sounding like a hipster – metacognition.

In order use logic effectively and persuasively, we must first understand what logic is. The first law of logic is theLaw of Identity, which states that an object is the same as itself. An apple is an apple, an orange is an orange, and so forth. The second law of logic is the Law of Noncontradiction, which is the notion that an object cannot be itself and something else at the same time. A piece of fruit cannot be both an apple and an orange; it must be one or the other. Or a banana. But it cannot be two separate things at the same time in the same space.

Read the rest at Pundit League

RightOnline in San Diego

This weekend, Americans for Prosperity will be holding a regional RightOnline training seminar right here in my beautiful San Diego.

Join Americans for Prosperity Foundation for our regional RightOnline training seminar on January 28-29th at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter. The training seminar will bring together an impressive lineup of America’s leading experts in new media, grassroots mobilization, and public policy for cutting edge training in online activism.

We’ll be joined by Conservative Commentator Andrew Breitbart, Talk Radio Host Roger Hedgecock, Fox News Contributor Stephen Kruiser, Conservative Blogger and Radio Host Ed Morrissey, and many other leading conservative voices.

Guess who one of those ‘leading conservative voices’ is? Some chick named Jenny Erikson. Hey, that’s me! I’ll be running a Social Media 101 session with guru James Hickey on Saturday morning from 10:00-10:45.

Tickets for the whole event (Friday evening through Saturday evening) are still available and only $40. Click here to find out more, and I hope to see you there!

PS- If you’ve never been to one of these, they are super fantastically fun.

PPS- Trust me, I know most of these people. They are not boring.

PPPs- One of them even has a mohawk. That is definitely not boring. Not even a little.