This picture is slightly dark. Like my mood.

Karen Hitchcock Blog

Change doesn’t come without a price. What if some of us don’t want progress?

This is a photo about loss.

Almost every night near my town home, I see this woman quietly whispering to herself (or God?) at the site of a torn-down church. Every night, I want to ask her what the place meant to her. Is she a nun? Was it her place of worship as a young girl? What is it that keeps her coming here, night after night, after the bulldozers have quieted and more bricks and mounds of dirt have been carried away.

I’ve never asked her, of course. Somehow it seems rude and nosy and otherwise uncouth to interrupt her private space and thoughts. Plus, there’s a part of me that enjoys the mystery. Freeing my mind to create a narrative, whether it be happy or sad, is a rare thing these days.

So, that being said, perhaps this woman is perfectly happy. Perhaps she understands that progress comes with a cost to our personal histories and she’s fine with that. Perhaps she’s just saying goodbye and feels a sense of fulfillment or closure or peace. I hope so.

But I don’t. It goes without saying that I’m projecting my own feelings and thoughts of loss onto this vignette. My heart is heavy lately. 2012 has been a challenging year, punctuated this month with the loss of a colleague and friend, Skip Evans. Losing Skip was a big change and sometimes, well, change isn’t that great.

I feel this way when I drive around Madison or its outlying communities. Out near Verona, there used to be a sweet little country road down which I’d run or bike. It bisected huge cornfields but is now jam-packed with vinyl-sided homes, half of which are for sale. Madison’s Washington Avenue used to interesting, but now sports condos and (soon) more apartments that look cold and institutional. Everything is being cleaned up, spit-shined and modernized. The eyesores are being torn down. It’s out with the old, in with the new.

Why does everything have to be so beautiful and perfect? Why must everything have a perfect veneer? Put up a new building, put on some more makeup, god forbid you have a typo, exaggerate your accomplishments, don’t be too quirky, mind your manners, don’t cuss in public, avoid conflict at all costs. Don’t ruffle any feathers and, for goodness’ sakes, don’t let the past slow down progress!

I’ll tell you what. Perfection is overrated and we’d all do well to dwell on parts of our past. It is, after all, what makes us…us. The woman who I photographed is dwelling on her past and in observing her, I pay my respects to what those hunk of bricks have meant. I had no connection to that time and place but now I do. And I thank her for that.

It serves as a nice reminder that I don’t need to wipe my slate clean and unearth everything I know of to move forward in life.

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I should be in pictures

Karen Hitchcock scriptwritingActually, not really. It’s a teaser title. But I have had a blast writing scripts for these two clients, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and YouBthere, a mobile app firm. Check out the videos if you’re so inclined.

WEDC Bio, Wisconsin Pavillion

Youbthere audience engagement tool

Credits: Storyboard concept and script by Karen Hitchcock, video by TruScribe

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Last weeks video about my favorite apps.

Last weeks video about my favorite apps.

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Valentines. Have you waited until the la

Valentines. Have you waited until the last minute? I’ll be on NBC15 at 4pm with apps to help dig you outta trouble. @carleenwild

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SoLoMo FTW. Thanks @carleenwild http://o

SoLoMo FTW. Thanks @carleenwild

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Don’t count us old ladies out.

Yeah, My Mom’s Got Game. Zombie Game, That Is.

SoLoMo and seniors

My Mom Can Kick Your Zombie Mom's Butt

People make assumptions all the time. We’re all guilty of it and I’m no exception. We are all human after all, and that’s just part of life.  Of course you already know this, but it bears repeating. Making assumptions is part of business too and while it isn’t always, it can be a very dangerous thing. I’ll give you an example.

I checked Facebook this morning to update some SoLoMo info and I noticed my mom’s latest status update, admitting her addiction to Stupid Zombies – a pretty mindless, but fun little app on her iPad2. This new addiction, which runs in parallel with a pretty wicked Tetris “situation,” means that my mom spends 2-3 hours a day goofing on her iPad. There’s nothing wrong with this; she’s a perfectly productive citizen with lots of friends, family and art in her life and she plays night while she’s taking in the evening news. I actually think it’s pretty cool because I see her playing it side-by-side with my 13 and 10 year old sons (who are on their own iPads) and watch as they help her get to the next level.

Seventy years ago multiple generations would huddle around the radio. Today, we huddle on our own devices, but still in congress with each other.

There is a point to this story. Every day, as marketing consultants, we hear about people building and planning apps to reach younger generations. Many businesses are consumed with how they can reach the digital natives. They assume that their market are digital natives–young hipsters in their 20s who share every life detail on their so-nets. This is a reasonable assumption, of course, but they are leaving something out. And by something, I mean everyone else!

My mom is mobile. Highly mobile. She is a spunky, cute 60-something with an Android phone, a Macbook Pro and an iPad. I have news for businesses too…she spends money! Don’t count out people who are 30, 40, 50, 60 or older when you’re thinking of reaching new customers. These generations (the enigmatic “Xers” and Boomers) may respond to different campaigns than the youngins, but that doesn’t mean they won’t respond.

And trust me, when the zombie apocalypse comes, you’re going to want my mom on your side. She really knows how to throw a punch.

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Oops, link to old ladies.

Oops, link to old ladies.

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