Yes I know it’s a cliche’ but it’s so true – time is absolutely flying this month! I can’t believe Christmas is next week already – yikes. Luckily, I have 99% of my shopping complete so I won’t be freaking out about that.

But since it is Friday, it does mean its time for another installment of my Follow Friday Featured Profile series. Today I’m venturing out of the Seattle area for the first time and featuring Jenci Eble Spradlin. I met Jenci via Twitter nearly two years ago as I noticed her political tweets that were often in response to a couple of very liberal/progressive Tweeters I followed. Jenci would often provide a different view and perspective – but always did so in a thoughtful and respectful manner – and I respected that. She and I have had a few of our own political debates via Twitter but we have also shared stories about PR, communications, parenting and even football (yes I still like her even though she is an Auburn Tigers fan).

Politics is one of Jenci's favorite topics. I enjoyed her tweets when she took a trip to Washington DC over the summer. You can follow Jenci on Twitter (@JencTN)

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have met Jenci and learn more about her and her community in Tennessee through her Tweets and Facebook posts. You can follow Jenci via Twitter or read her blog:

Twitter Name:


Which social media networks do you use consistently?

Twitter and Facebook. I’m of the opinion that you should be present where you post. I can manage two.

What was your “Aha” moment regarding social media (when/why did you decide to become engaged)?

I wouldnt say that I had a specific “Aha” moment per se; Prior to joining twitter in Oct 2008, I had been active on a politically-themed website that a friend of mine had launched. It really opened my eyes to the fact that while our beliefs are our own, they do not exist in a vacuum. When you share those views/beliefs with the world (either online or speaking them), you immediately lose partial control of the message, because regardless of your intent, others will filter what you say/share through their own lens. I had navigated that environment for several months, so when I joined twitter, I was convinced that listening and building relationships that go beyond one issue could provide a framework for mutual respect and understanding. I still believe that.

How has Social Media impacted you personally? How about professionally?

I work from home, which can be very isolating at times. Connecting with old friends on platforms such as Facebook and meeting so many new people who share similar passions on Twitter has created a virtual work day family for me. I don’t feel so isolated as I go about my day, because I’m a few keystrokes away from having an interesting and engaging discussion with hundreds of friends.

Professionally, I have found my voice through Social Media. Understanding and appreciating the impact my words (even the ridiculous and silly) can have on others has made me a more informed writer and better communicator.

Have you been consciously thinking about using social media to help build your “personal brand?”

Yes and No. It would be foolish today for anyone to not be mindful of their “personal brand” as they interact throughout online social networks. Imagine growing up with your whole life’s story posted on Facebook. So yes, I am conscious that what I say and do on social networking sites ultimately becomes part of my “brand.” At the same time, I think it is important to allow space within your conscious use of social media for genuine, authentic, spontaneous interaction. Finding that balance can be challenging at times.

What advice do you have for others who are still not convinced about the value of social media?

People do not have to be an active participant to participate in social media. You can use the tools that Facebook and twitter offer without having to post status updates or without tweeting your every thought. You can listen. Observe. If you spend enough time listening to the conversations and keeping tabs on issues that matter to you, then I believe you will eventually see yourself within those conversations more naturally.

Who is a better tweeter – you or @cody_k? (note: I ask because Jenci and Cody are sometime Twitter political sparring partners. I was hoping Jenci would take the bait but she is too savvy for such tactics)

I suppose it depends upon your criteria for “better.”

Do people ever tell you that you Tweet with a Southern accent?

Yes, people do say that I tweet with a Southern accent y’all.

You’re an Auburn University fan. As an Oregon Duck, I probably shouldn’t be talking to you until after the BCS Championship, right?

I’m not a grad of Auburn, but I feel like I should have some sort of diploma from them. My husband went there to get his PhD and I worked to support us. So, I am very invested in Auburn. We can enjoy our friendly trash talking between the Ducks and the Tigers. It’s all in good fun. I’m not one of those fans who lives and breathes sports and I don’t let a win or a loss effect my mood.

Please explain. Is Auburn’s mascot a Tiger or a War Eagle? What’s up with that?

They are the Auburn Tigers. I didn’t write this (thanks Wikipedia) but this explains the difference between Tiger and War Eagle better than I can. “War Eagle is the battle cry of fans of the Auburn Tigers football team of Auburn University, and fans of other Auburn teams and sometimes Auburn University in general. It is also the title of the university fight song. It is a common phrase in the city of Auburn in general, along with the variation “War Damn Eagle”. Since 1930, and continuously since 1960, Auburn University has also kept an actual eagle as a second mascot for Auburn athletics. However, the official mascot is Aubie the tiger, and Auburn does not have teams called “eagles” or “war eagles”.”

Who is the greatest Auburn football player of all-time?

HAHA. You assume that I am a student or scholar of Auburn football. Since I primarily enjoy sporting events for the sense of community surrounding a team, it’s hard for me to pick a single player. I’m more macro on sports than micro; meaning, I’m not so much fixated on a player, but on the team in general. Players rotate out and new ones take their place every season. But, if I had a gun to my head, I would say Bo Jackson. (That’s a pretty safe answer too).

Predicted score of BCS Championship?

I can’t really make a prediction on score because that assumes that I have a firm grasp on scoring and stats. Can I just say $1 like they do on the Price is Right? I’ll just say Auburn wins by 3.

Funniest Social Media moment?

Interacting with others online is always full of laughs and smiles in general (why do it if it isn’t fun, right?), but it’s hard to think of ONE moment that ranks as funniest. I’m sure after the fact that I will remember a moment that trumps anything I can remember right now; but for the sake of the question, I’ll go with something recent.

It’s been a busy political season here in Tennessee. Not only did we have the November elections, but the Republican Caucus at the State Legislative recently elected their caucus leadership team. I was congratulating the newly elected Caucus Chair, Rep. Debra Maggart on Twitter (@debramaggart) using my iPhone. Autocorrect can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. Immediately after hitting “send” on my tweet, I realized that her name had been autocorrected to “Maggot.” I immediately sent her a tweet apologizing. From now on, especially when I’m tweeting elected officials, I’m going proof my tweets better.

Biggest Social Media pet peeve?

Auto DMs. I don’t mind them so much from organizations or corporations, since there isn’t much of a pretense that the account reflects the views of an individual. I do find them distasteful from people, because it is disingenuous to tell someone, “I look forward to your tweets and getting to know you better,” when: A. The person follows everyone who follows them or B. The person doesn’t engage in @ replies or C. They have no intension of getting to know you better and somehow think we are stupid enough to believe them. I also get peeved that Twitter accounts with words such as “SEO Expert” or “Wealth” or “Internet Marketer” or “Social Media Expert” amass tens of thousands of followers, yet their feeds are either auto news feeds or simply “#WednesdayWarriors @Tom @Dick @Jane @Elvis @Cher.” I think they must all just follow each other. But please, don’t put my name in some auto tweet that goes out on #MILFMonday with the same bunch of people. (Ok, I might be mildly flattered, but after a few weeks it gets pretty annoying).

Any parting shots?

We can save all the shots for the big game. It’s going to be a fun day, made even more exciting because social media has connected me to new friends whose primary flaw is an affinity for Oregon football.

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