We’ve reached the 6 month mark in the creation of Baby 2.0 and suddenly I feel like a whale on legs and not very sturdy legs at that! My pelvis is knackered so the plan to put up that curtain rail and clean out the cellar has become a little redundant. My independent and controlling nature (and nesting instinct) is having none of this, however so I have to curb the physical activity by writing to-do lists and watching crap on TV, in the hope that Handy Manny will pop by when I’m finally on maternity leave (come January).
Hormones rage within me. So much so that I nearly physically assaulted a fellow parent in Rheine last Sunday on the return journey from Münster to Berlin. Honestly though, some people are absolute busy bodies! Our 3.5-year-old was having a big old tantrum because we wouldn’t let him get off the train by himself, commando crawling up the stairs to the platform for the next train so, as you do, we let him be (carrying him usually ends up in a lot of flailing about and not much progress). Some woman with a baby strapped to her chest, toddler in tow runs up to our son and grabs him by the arm, trying to get him up so I politely say, “Please do leave him. He’s simply having a tantrum” and she responds with, “He’s only a little child, can you not help him climb the stairs?” Politely again, I explain to her that she doesn’t know the backstory and to perhaps not interfere with my affairs. When she responds in the same way, I lose it and raise my voice to H that I can’t stand interfering people and she should leave my child the f*ck alone! Fists clenched, it was more than I could do to keep them from meeting her stupid face! Hormones, like I say…
So structurally, I’m knackered; hormonally, knackered and I don’t think my breasts are returning to their former glory anytime soon. Oh well, I’ll have a cute little baby to fawn over pretty soon and that’s reward enough for the perils of pregnancy!
Since this week started on an egotistical note, it might as well end on one..
You may remember that my job circumstances changed in August, when the company I worked for was sold and I, pregnant, overpaid and underworked, screaming out for more responsibility and more exciting work to do, was left like the last bag of trash when my contract wasn’t taken over by said company. Lucky for me, German law protected my ass because I’m pregnant so the mother company, with whom I was left took me under her wing and made sure I kept a paid position. Others weren’t so fortunate.
I tried to look on the bright side: This would be a new opportunity to prove to myself that I am capable, experienced, professional and in effect ‘worth it’. I worked at integrating myself back into my ‘old’ company and tried to forget about the slap in the face that I received in August and the colleagues I miss even now.
It hasn’t really worked though. I can’t get over the feeling of injustice. I can’t stop asking myself “Is it because I told them I’m pregnant?” or “Is it because I’m simply shit at what I do?” The reason I was given was that the area in which I was working wasn’t self-sustaining so that they “had to let some people go”.
Well screw that! There’s a reason why I’m revisiting the topic: The knowledge that my ex-colleagues are totally overworked right now. By offering myself on a platter (asking for more to do- also in other areas/departments), I thought I was being flexible and showing initiative but all I was doing was putting my head on the damn chopping block and that makes me incredibly bitter.
This weekend it was my 33rd birthday and for some reason I just didn’t get around to talking to anyone about it, nor did I plan any special celebration. In retrospect, that was stupid of me. If I can’t be egotistical on my birthday, when can I be?
After the last month or two of feeling pretty damn low, it would have felt good to be celebrated. As it was, I made my own cake on Friday, went to a Halloween party on Saturday morning, ate a slice of said cake on the afternoon with present-opening. Sadly, my birthday post from England didn’t arrive on time, even though it was sent well in advance so not one birthday card arrived in my mailbox *sadface*.
I didn’t think 33 was that old but the fact that I received some very nice serviettes and lovely red tablemats from my pretty-much-mother-in-law sealed the deal as far as feeling old goes. At least the day was saved by my man with a delicious Chinese meal, sneaky glass of wine and a box of snazzy chocolates on my pillow. What meant even more was his promise to do something that I’ve wished for for a very long time.
Of course, many people wrote on my ‘wall’ but it’s definitely struck home with me that Facebook is not enough for reminding me about birthdays. I need preparation time. I want to make my good friends feel special on their birthdays- to send a birthday card, for example or to actually have something planned that will make them feel important. Because they are worth the trouble and I want to be worth the trouble on my birthday as well.
Yes, this is a whinge but it’s my birthday and I’ll whine if I want to. Let me have this one please. It’s only once a year…
When I entered the mobile technology/marketing sector in 2007, I had no idea of the potential that this new media had. Clearly the CEO of my company did because here we are, 6-and-a-half years later.
At the time, the company where I work were at the cutting edge of mobile, offering Java games, mobile content (wallpaper, themes, ringtones, SMS tones), SMS campaigns and simple mobile websites.
Mobile internet was then dominated by WAP, which compared to the mobile internet of today was slow and tedious, not helped by small device screens. All of that was of course to change with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. The follow-up in 2008 was even better, with the launch of the iTunes Store and these app thingies that would become a massive hit worldwide on several different platforms, not just Apple-owned ones.
SMS promotions were the darling of our offering, especially for the FMCG client that I worked with for 5 years. Measurable, scalable and more-often-than-not successful, that is until the advent of today’s high-speed mobile internet connections and FACEBOOK.
The thing is, users usually have to pay for an SMS to a short code and companies have to pay for the response SMS. Whilst an SMS doesn’t cost the earth, there’s not a whole lot of personality in a plain old 140-character text message, in comparison to a Facebook interaction and all of the information about the user that accompanies this. Facebook is a cross-platform platform, available optimised on most devices. All companies need to worry about is ensuring that their apps, competitions and content is available for those devices. With graphics, content and personality, Facebook is definitely the arch-nemesis of boring old black and white SMS. Or is it?
SMS continues to have its place in the mobile marketing arsenal. Like kryptonite to the ever-powerful mobile internet… the big ‘E’ appears on your phone screen, your 3G connection has gone, the internet is loading horribly slowly but you can STILL send and receive SMS!
In the same way, not everyone checks Facebook all the time or has alerts set up on their device for when new posts are made on a company’s page, whilst 97% of SMS are read. That’s a massive read-rate and if the call to action is strong enough, this can reap huge response rates.
Finally, there’s the personalization factor: A good database behind a mobile number makes all the difference. The FMCG client I mentioned before launched a loyalty program in 2007 and linked mobile numbers to its loyalty accounts. This meant we had information about people who responded to SMS campaigns to hand and could, if desired, personalize SMS or send out specific SMS-shots based on various information about the user. This is much more personalized than a general Facebook post, which all users are able to read.
To come to the point: SMS may have had its’ heyday in the marketing budgets of most companies as social media platforms like Facebook grow and expand and content marketing becomes king, but it’s still a valid and useful way to communicate consensually with customers in many situations.
We’re at the halfway point of ‘up-the-duffness’ already and so much has happened in the last weeks, including the bringing to life of a little side-project, my first try at public speaking (yes, it was reading stories to a group of young children, but still!), a little holiday in Germany, followed by a longer one in the U.K. and some hard-core toddler stuff.
I’m both mentally and physically ‘back’ now, though there were a few days after our trip to see my family, where I wondered whether living in Germany is really what I want long term.
We all have those wobbles but more and more frequently, I find myself having to rationalize why living here is better for us than living in Britain. It’s like leaving a relationship and wanting with all your heart to be reunited with the person you loved for all those years but the sensible part of you- your brain, gives you a list of reasons why that person isn’t the right one for you!
My heart says (in a whiney voice), “The people are so much friendlier in the U.K.”
My head says, “Actually, you’re right in general- the majority of people are friendly and helpful but could you leave your clothes by the side of the lake and go swimming without worrying about it all being pinched? Could your child wander around naked without gasps of shock and horror because “Maybe there’s a pedophile” somewhere within the nearest square mile?” We have some trust issues, Great Britain!
My heart says, “My family is there”
My head says, “Bingo! But would you choose to live in the same area as your family if you did live in Britain? Would there be jobs? Would you even know anyone anymore?” Probably not, eh?
There are probably many more reasons than just these two but I reckon if I delve any deeper, I might start thinking those ‘British thoughts’ again! So I’ll have a cup of imported British tea and enjoy my Sunday evening watching German TV instead…
As I mentioned, we recently made a visit to my old ‘hood of Neukölln. After a wander to Tempelhof with our friends’ lovely dog, we made our way into Schillerkiez to catch the Ubahn and oh my, has it changed in the 3.5 years since we moved away!
With trendy cafés lining the walk from Tempelhofer Freiheit to Ubahnhof Boddinstrasse, the word ‘vegan’ popping up here, there and everywhere and a Yoga/music school, the hipsters have well and truly moved in. Granted, a lot of the old shops and businesses remain: The little Edeka with the heavily-smoking shop assistants, the Späti where I once bought a porno mag on a whim, the bike repair shop, which I’m sure is making an absolute packet with all those broken hipster-bikes to mend… I’m really pleased for the local people who stayed put even when the area was a run-down haunt for casual alcoholics.
When I had a little moan about the changes on Facebook, a friend of mine wrote “Think of it as the evolution of the city” and she’s right. The area of Neukölln in which I lived for a time was destined to become up-and-coming, especially with the opening of the huge former airport as Tempelhof park, 3 blocks away. My former apartment stands on a ‘square’ (more accurately a round), facing a huge church, in the middle of a wide, tree-lined street with a school, a kindergarten and a playground on it. Things like the school needing security people at the gate, needles found on the playground and the green areas of the tree-lined street being generally occupied by loud, casual alcoholics, can probably be solved pretty easily with a good old rent increase- Get the less affluent people out and bring in the hipsters!
I think maybe I’m just sour because I moved away before it got exciting…..
Yesterday, Philipp and I made the epic journey to Neukölln, where I lived for almost three years in my pre-child years. Swinging by Hermannstrasse to pick up some friends, we came upon a pretty awful sight: Someone had been hurt (potentially mortally) and was lying on the road, surrounded by paramedics, police and firepeople but worst of all a huge crowd of onlookers, shamelessly gawking at the situaton. Seriously! Jostling, pushing, rubbernecking and trying to get a good view of what was going on. Sickening! In the end, the emergency services had to hold up a screen to stop the onlookers from staring at ‘the show’.
I overheard someone say that a child had run into the road after someone and was hit by a car. I really hope he or she was ok. It really upset me to witness the audacity of some people!