Work These Days, or Something.

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It’s been a while.

As I dust off my keyboard and decide it’s time to write, I realize I’m not sure where to put this. Does it belong on my long-neglected blog, That Frugal Pharmacist, or my main business website, for Women’s Personal Finance?

No matter. The point is to flex the phalanges and revisit my old friend, the written word.

Why? Well, mainly, Twitter fucking sucks now. Cough, excuse me, “X.” So, X fucking sucks. It has for some time; this isn’t news to anyone. But it’s generally gotten so bad that it’s just untenable. I started my deeper writing exploration on Twitter years back, became a part of the personal finance community there, and decided to expand on my voluminous threads with a blog. Then, I got busy, and blogging felt hard, even insurmountable. The internal pressure to monetize didn’t help the situation either. So, I mostly abandoned it in favor of “micro-blogging” on Twitter. And that worked well enough. It gave me the quick responses I like. Mmmm, hit me with that sweet dopamine of instantaneous human interaction. Mmmyeaah, now another.

Well, my source dried up, folks. I tweet (xweet?) to 4k people, and if I’m lucky, I get a like. If I’m really lucky, I get a reply. The fix isn’t fixing no more. Twitter used to hit the spot because it was the perfect space to express every thought that passed through my brain in a way that made sense. Making a video about every multitude that passes through my higher levels of consciousness is just too much work and defeats the purpose of maintaining such an unhinged digital diary. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind making weird videos. But, my problem has always been deciding which thought to give my attention to. Twitter was great because I threw everything at the wall, and sometimes it stuck.

I’ve been getting a poor but semi-acceptable substitute for a while by paying attention to my business’s social media. But that’s ultimately problematic as well. Because, friends, I contain multitudes—vast multitudes—weird multitudes. And, on some level, I find myself being productized.

Productized – is that even a word? My fancy AI grammar-correcting software hasn’t yelled at me yet, so I guess so. But what do I mean, you ask? We know we’re all a part of a grand social engineering experiment controlled by no one and at the whim of these large language models that we (as in someone, but not me) can understand and predict to some degree but never quite know. Wasn’t there a book that got a bunch of people to quit Facebook that probably focused on this? I didn’t read it, of course. I rarely make it through a whole book as an adult, so unless it sounds really exciting, I don’t even try. Whoops, tangent, back to being productized.

I think multiple styles are at play here, and I’ll explain them.

First, we have the normal, messy human on social media(s). Inherently, we respond to what others prompt out of us in online. What gets liked likely gets noticed. Cool. Minor programming and engineering at hand. Don’t say the bad word; you might get censored. Don’t be too weird; potential future employers might catch wind.

Next, we’ve got the human-come product. The influencer. The person who, by luck, whim, or skill, has managed to productize themselves and their life. Being an influencer, in theory, is both freeing and terrifying. Once you become a product and your plotline gets fans, it might be hard to find the off-ramp. People grow and change, but will the fans allow it? Will you suffer being canceled, usually by little other than bad luck of saying something at the wrong time for the mob – something likely said by others and fine, but on a different day. Generally speaking, I surely don’t want that. We’ve got enough dystopia, please; I don’t need my life to feel like a Black Mirror episode.

And then there’s the space I arguably find myself in. The representative of a brand and business, but which is largely predicated on the presence and guidance of my digital co-parent/business partner and me.

Digital co-parent, do you like that one? A business is like a baby, and a business partner is nearly a spouse; contracts are in place, so I think it works.

Now, we have a customer avatar or something, right? But like most successful entrepreneurs, we flew before we had a blueprint for the plane. And we like it that way, mostly. It helps you follow your heart. We just “did it.” Proudly (and perhaps stubbornly), we’ve yet to pay for advertising. But it takes more effort to keep spreading your message and connecting with new faces this way. All roads lead to social media.

So we find ourselves there. And we find my slightly obsessive self trying to learn what works. What’s fascinating is that, as someone who perhaps doesn’t relate to the experience of an “average” person, I struggle with this. Let’s back up and admit I haven’t taken any courses to learn more. In part because, like any good consumer on the internet, I don’t know what the fuck to trust anymore. If success was easy and formulaic, surely there’d be a library book on it by now, not just 37,000 influencers selling slightly revamped versions of the same white-labeled course, right?

So, my untrusting ass is raw dogging it. My online existence is an ongoing experiment, a daily A/B test. And friends, I’m weird enough that what I think people want often doesn’t hit. I’m unsure if I say that with an overwhelming laugh or cry. Incidental data point, all algorithm roads lead to the jokes about autism for me, and this probably signals that while I can have an academic understanding, I’m still missing some secret sauce to what makes people tick. But occasionally, I hit a spark, and it does much better than expected. All or nothing over here!

Or maybe it’s just because I refuse to plug in Taylor Swift or whatever trending trash the masses are beer-bonging at the moment. Hate me, Swifties. I can handle this one. I’ll grab something if I find it entertaining, but I still have my principles.

Back to how we exist online – so here I am, more online THAN EVER. I am trying to balance being authentic to myself, providing value to my potential customer and community base, and attempting to stay on theme for what my base might want.

For fucks sake, gang, that’s harder than you’d think! At least, it is for me. I like to talk about money, but there’s much more to it. Or, the reasons I like to talk about money can get super esoteric. Also, talking about how society is collapsing is, strangely, not super aspirational to my largest base of millennial women. Who knew?

I’ve reactivated some of my personal accounts to combat this and ensure I’m not losing sight of myself by focusing only on what the business should reflect. Opening up my raw thoughts in video and photo form in and of itself presents some questions to me. To ensure I don’t lose myself as the single-minded caricature that my user base wants to see while still presenting “the person behind the brand,” do I not risk becoming the influencer I never wanted to be?

Tricky. Aint’ it.

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Regina is That Frugal Pharmacist. She’s a PharmD, mother to a son with cancer, breadwinning wife, personal finance enthusiast, artist, writer, and entrepreneur. Regina’s single-income household has been debt-free, including her home, since she was 28 years old.
Her money approach is “holistic financial health.” She encourages mindful spending, awareness of the non-monetary costs of choices, and aligning personal values with money habits. Regina sees a frugal lifestyle and mindset as an important part of environmental stewardship. As such she’s interested in ongoing efforts towards self-sufficiency and sustainability.

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