Cher Tushiah is a 40 something wife, mother and grandmother. She is also a retired nurse, plus size advocate, current author and social media goddess for several online companies.
How did you first get interested in Social Media?
I’ve always had a fascination with social media. I started blogging back in 1995, when I was restricted to bed rest while pregnant with my now 17 year old son. My (ex) husband bought me a computer to sit in bed with and that was it…I was hooked! As the internet has grown in the past two decades, so had my desire to be on the cutting edge of all things related to social media. I was one of the first people to have an ICQ account. I noticed that I had a real gift for “chat” due to my ridiculously fast typing speed (110 wpm) and truly enjoyed connecting with people from all over the world. I was fascinated that I could have conversations with people as far away as New Zealand and Guam. Before I knew it, I was consumed with this internet thing. I’ve met so many people from online in real life and we have been through everything together. From, deaths and births to divorces and marriages. For me, social media was just a natural fit. I’m a problem solver by nature…so it gave me an outlet to not only engage in meaningful discussions but to help people as well.
I know first-hand that it’s not as easy as some might think, what’s your biggest challenge when it comes to maintaining online presence?
The biggest challenge with maintaining an online presence is, understanding that you cannot put your personal views upon others. I’m a very passionate person, so sometimes it’s hard to stay neutral on certain subjects. I am a huge advocate for the plus-size community. I have worked in social media through two presidential elections and whew, that was a REAL challenge for me. It is hard to keep my views out of conversations from time to time, but I make a true effort to. The wonderful thing about being a Social Media Consultant is that ability to shut the laptop off, walk away and take a deep breath before coming back to a conversation. I literally put myself in “time out” sometimes. What I love about my job, is I have the luxury of walking away when tempers start to run a little high or when frustration takes over. It’s always good to take a breather and come back with a fresh perspective.
What’s the funniest thing you have seen doing this line of work?
The funniest thing I’ve seen in this line of work has to be some of the customer service letters I get. I know it doesn’t sound amusing, but sometimes, I get letters where people curse me out. I mean, actually FLIPPING out on me, calling me some choice words that I had to look up in Urban Dictionary! They are usually from ticked off folks, livid because either a product sold out, or something didn’t go their way…perhaps an item didn’t fit, whatever. However, they send letters to me like I am PERSONALLY responsible for this grave injustice. I have gotten death threats over a shoe selling out, like I am sitting at home, conspiring on how to keep them from the shoe of their dreams. I will say, that even when I get letters like that, I do try to remember that while it might seem frivolous to me…to the person writing the letter, it might mean everything to them. Nine times out of ten, we work it out and the customer generally ends up saying something like “Wow, I’m sorry for the original letter I wrote you. I guess I overreacted.” I’m always willing to forgive people for their outbursts because nobody is perfect. You never know what is going on in someones personal life at any given time and what you might think is trivial might mean a whole lot to someone else. I love to give these people the benefit of the doubt. Usually, I make a fast friend by the time we’re done, simply by offering a little understanding and we generally have a good laugh about it in the long run.
If you could vacation anywhere in the world for an entire month?
Wow, this is a tough one. My husband and I do a lot of traveling because of our jobs. We’ve been to just about all the Caribbean Islands, just about every state in the United States and a few countries Asia. However, I think the nicest times we have spent have been right here in Florida. He and I weekend at the beach a lot, one of the perks of living in this state. But, if I could pick one place to return to and spend a month there, it would be Haiti. We visited there last year for our 10 year wedding anniversary and I was just blown away with how beautiful a country it was. The people were all so warm and welcoming. I didn’t see near enough of the country as I would have liked. While parts of the Haiti were well developed, lush and beautiful…there were other parts that were impoverished, still recovering from the Earthquake that turned their worlds upside down back in 2010. Yet, the people all still smile. They have such an amazing outlook on life. But I also got to see the lighter side of Haiti, experience their warm and gracious hospitality, learned a little French and Creole, their incredible history of rising from under a dictatorship regime and what a strong people Haitians are. I would truly love to spend a month with them, soaking up more of their culture, listening to their stories and eating their delicious native delicacies. We were only there for a few days, but I wished we could have extended our stay. It’s truly a magnificent country.
I gotta ask, out of all the platforms you use which one is your fave and why?
I’m probably going to sound really “old school” here, but my heart still belongs to the good old fashioned blog. I love reading them, I love writing them. I think there’s a certain disconnect with Facebook and Twitter that makes me a bit uncomfortable. I have noticed that I’ve stopped having meaningful conversations with “real life” friends on there. Twitter makes me nuts! I am a very chatty person and I love to talk and listen to others talk. It’s a true challenge to get out what I have to say in 140 characters, but I’m getting better as far as the work Tweets go. For the purpose of my kind of work, Facebook and Twitter are great. I also just recently got back into Instagram again, which I do love, because I think photos speak volumes. But for my own personal use, nothing beats reading someone’s blog, following them, getting to know them, having conversations in the comments that are really meaningful. Others join in with their perspective and you just…bond. On Facebook, I see people being so passive/aggressive and cruel to each other on occasion. I like to treat people online and offline the same way. When you see Cher on Facebook, you’re getting me, the genuine article. I’m a goofball. I’m giddy. I’m like a big labrador that jumps on you and licks your face. That’s my personality. It’s overbearing for some, I get that. But that’s just me, take it or leave it. I’m pretty perky and I feel it has served me well in my line of work. I have to admit, I’m also a “closet Pinner” since I do love me some Pinterest.
Cher, I want to thank you so much for doing this interview and showing the fans a side of social media that they might not have known otherwise.