You know those larger-than-life personalities? The ones where their presence enters the room before they do. Each industry has those folks. One of those in social media has been called by some, the “Queen” of Twitter. Laura Fitton (or just called “Pistachio”) is the co-author of bestseller Twitter for Dummies, founder of www.oneforty.com (acquired by HubSpot all-in-one marketing software in 2011), speaker and lecturer at conferences, companies and universities- everything from Johnson & Johnson to Harvard Business School. She is certainly accomplished, but moreover “personable.” She not only helps businesses see their potential in social, but believes that all individuals can do more – be more – through the medium.
She is, therefore, a natural to sit down and ask a mix of 20 professional and personal questions on what she loves about social, what makes her tick, and what is up with her hair.
1: Why “Queen of Twitter?”
Goddess was taken! (blush) It’s so funny to still think about that. Tara Hunt put a ‘Queen’ sash on me after I sang Heartbreaker at a SXSW 2008 live-band karaoke night. Brian Solis snapped a picture of me in it at the Omni Hotel lobby, right after Gary Vaynerchuk’s epic flash mob party, and it sort of just caught on from there. Obviously Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen, Ann Curry – about a gazillion women took over the title ages ago.
2: When Did You Start Using Twitter?
April 2007. I tried it and immediately blogged how stupid I thought it was. Then May 17 I realized I could use it to surround myself with successful, interesting people. By June 207 I’d already added ‘@pistachio’ to my business card.
3: What Do You Like About It?
Twitter runs on love. Twitter amounts to asking and answering ‘what do we have in common?’ and it really weaves together the fabric of human society in fascinating ways. I truly think we are just scratching the surface on its potential. At events, I told ‘Twitter: A Love Story’ (video) years ago, and I still believe in it deeply.
4: What Do You Think Life In Social Media Has Brought You?
Too many blessings to count. So much opportunity. So many incredible human beings. Such a chance to be a small cog in the middle of something pretty huge. Surprisingly, it’s also made me a much happier, much better person. Just that accountability of taking responsibility for your reactions to things, and trying to live in such a way that hopefully I contribute more than I take.
5: Where Are You Right Now?
Such a great question. I’m at my parents house on Cape Cod. Rough, huh? My childcare plans fell through this summer, and my folks have graciously stepped up to cover two of the 5 weeks I need to cover as a single mom. Luckily, HubSpot is very flexible about letting you work from anywhere. They want the work done; they’re not fussy about how you do that.
6: Where Do You See Social Media Going?
It simply becomes ‘media.’ Remember when flash animations and CD-ROMs were called ‘new media?’ Now they’re dinosaurs. My vote has always been – drop the qualifier. We don’t have radio media and pencil media and pen media, after all.
7: What Should We Be Wary Of With Social?
Selfish approaches that don’t get traction, and the subsequent finger-pointing/unsophisticated claims that ‘this proves social media doesn’t work.’ If you run a terrible ad on TV or a billboard and then kick up a fuss over withdrawing all your billboard advertising, you should be rightly doubted.
8: Any Advice For New Folks In Social?
Make yourself useful. That’s truly it. If you’re helping, sharing attention and providing value to the right people for you, it’s going to work out well. You do have to be patient. You can’t be selfish. It’s really not as hard, and novel, and unpredictable as people want to make it out to be.
9: What The Hell Is HubSpot?
I KNOW, right? It’s actually very simple – all-in-one marketing software. Every tool you need to do online marketing (more than 20!) all integrated together so that your marketing data flow seamlessly from SEO targeting to content generation, to social sharing, landing pages and conversions, lead qualification, marketing database, email marketing… you name it.
True story: I sold my start-up oneforty.com to HubSpot without really even knowing what HubSpot actually does. When I took over PR a few months ago, we were still being called a marketing agency in our local newspaper. It’s a hazard of our own success. We put so much energy into publishing data, best practices, education and thought leadership, that folks assume it to be ‘free samples’ of a services product. In truth, our only service offerings are to help customers get up and running on the software.
I think the absolute central challenge in life is to learn to not be afraid of who you actually are. – Laura
10: What Is Your Favorite Way To Spend Time?
Conversation with people who are on fire about something.
11: Which Living Person Do You Most Admire?
12: When and Where Were You The Happiest?
Out at sea – I was a schooner cook for 3 years on the SSV Westward. She’s sitting in Gloucester, MA now waiting for enough funds to be restored. It absolutely breaks my heart. Horseback riding and rock-climbing are close on the heels, but I love the ocean so, so much.
13: What is Your Most Obvious Characteristic?
Wild curly hair.
14: What Is The Trait You Most Deplore In Yourself? In Others?
Fear. In Others? Cruelty. This always comes from their fear and pain.
15: What Is Your Greatest Extravagance?
Food. If I have money I will happily part with it for extremely good and or unusual food.
16: If You Could Change One Thing About Yourself, What Would It Be?
I’d be calmer and better able to absorb and deflect anxieties in and outside myself. (I’d also have a lifelong partner, be he boyfriend or husband!!)
17: What Is It You Most Dislike?
How fear and pain make people mean instead of vulnerable. There’s no such thing as a happy well-adjusted mean person. Think how much better the world could be if we all knew this and responded accordingly.
18: What Do You Value Most In Your Friends?
Their fire for life.
19: What Was Your Last Great Vacation?
Stay-cationing with my daughters in Boston this summer. We had an incredible time exploring both at home and around the area. We spent quality time with each other and their neighborhood friends. We live on a magical street. Some of the best moments were the lemonade stand, and s’mores/camping in our own back yard.
20: Any Closing Thoughts?
Whenever I’m asked to sign a copy of Twitter for Dummies I write some variant on ‘I hope you do something #awesome with Twitter.’ Ultimately that’s what drove me to put everything on the line and chase down the dreams of writing a book and running a start-up – that idea that these technologies are multipliers – that what matters isn’t what these tools are, but what we do – what we can do – in the world because these tools exist. That’s exciting. That’s fuel I can live on.