How To Touch A Life One Tweet At A Time


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This post is about Twitter.  In a way.

It’s more about the meaning of Twitter.  As if social media has any real meaning

It’s about friendship.  And business.  And my friend Kay Ballard.

Ya’ll remember Kay?

She’s been mentioned many times on my blog as the brains behind the #Soiree Twitter hashtag party, and her Women Are Not Funny Radio gig.

Although Kay and I never met “in person,” we enjoyed many hours together on the phone.

So many great conversations about vanity, corporate America, original art, being southern (hailing from Virginia, Kay *thought* she was) ,aging parents, online biz strategies, sweet tea, and the predicament of our country’s health care system.  Yes, she relished interesting topics.  (OK, sweet tea may not be rocket science, but we take it seriously in our part of the country!) She was also extremely interested in my projects.  In an older-sister type way.

She knew how to throw vinegar.  In a polite way, of course. She had no use for shabby work.  Not just from herself but it was unacceptable from me too.

That’s what real friends do.

They are allowed to be brutally honest with you.  Yes, sometimes her critiques could sting.  But, in the long run, I was always grateful for her honesty.  She made my work better.  Or should I say, she made me make my work better!

She interviewed me several times for Women Are Not Funny Radio.  We always ended up laughing more than talking.  She said we had good “chemistry.”

I never brought it up.

It was there though.  She would quietly say, “I’ve got to go, the nurse just came in.”  On the one occasion I asked about her weight,  she said, “If I turn sideways, you can’t see me!”

That was Kay!

She joked and made light of even the worst situations.  I love her for that.  And I admire her for that.  And, I want the world to know that she was someone who, in the midst of the most terrifying personal storm, chose to poke fun.  And laugh.  And be.

She was a character who created characters out of her Twitter friends.  There was @PattiDigh, (her self-proclaimed arch enemy) and @DanLopez (her fellow insomniac). There was also a host of admirers and sparring partners:   @lilpecan, @NELLYWAITS, @Daniel4is, @apothecaryjeri, @lynnwalsh, to name a few.

I am attempting to do the impossible.  Convey to you the essence of someone important to me.  Someone who showed me the power of social media.  What it could really be used for.  And how our lives are never the same because of it.

Twitter.  Who knew??

Kay and I were kindred spirits.  Chatty, blond business women with law degrees who actually thought we could change the world.  OK, not the whole wide world, but our corner of it.

Lest you think I am the lone ranger in this story, I assure you I’m not.  The truth is there is a whole gaggle of folks just like me.  Who met Kay on Twitter and followed her faithfully.  She made Twitter fun because she was engaging.  She’s an example of creating meaningful relationships on Twitter.

How she did it. . .

See for yourself.  Here’s a few tweets from her stream:

KayBallard: We must never forget that worry can cause wrinkles and that being sad is mostly a waste of time. <3

KayBallard:  I am away on a glamorous secret mission, slightly disappointed that you are expressing caring and concern instead of envy. LOL!

KayBallard: I hate to boast, but @DrPerricone rarely forgets to tell me Goodnight.

KayBallard: Okay. New post. Cool as Cyberpunk I interview @Scath in celebration of her outrageous imagination.

KayBallard: Whew! If I get it wrong, I can count on it. Someone will step up and tell me. LOL!

Do you see how it’s done?  Kay would tweet out comments that could and would start conversations.  She was an expert at that!  Her wit and humor were contagious.

And people would follow. . . .

My final phone conversation with Kay was last month.  We talked about my book and the meaning of being a best-selling author.   (Of course, she said it had no meaning!)  We laughed and joked and then I had to cut it short because of a prior appointment.  She quickly said, “Ok, talk to you soon. Bye.”

That was it.

She lost her fight with cancer on May 18th.

I am still missing my friend.  We will probably have a final #Soiree to celebrate Kay’s life.  It may be a “first” on Twitter.  Kay’s own Twitter bio reads:

“I’m the President and CEO of New Media International, Inc. and the host of Women Are Not Funny Radio and the Social Media #Soiree. I am adorable and modest!

I can assure you, for someone who “outsourced” her morning greeting on Twitter, her adorable and modest self would definitely think the whole idea was funny!



p.s.  And for those of you who think social media is not relevant, you’re just plain wrong.

 How To Touch A Life One Tweet At A Time

Martha Giffen

Martha Giffen is a Small Business and Social Media Consultant, Coach, Trainer, and Speaker. The author of 3 best-selling books, including "Be Social Be Rich," she is an Online Marketing authority and teaches Small Biz Owners how to achieve massive profitable success. And, -she dishes it all out with a warm southern flare!

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi Nabert August 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm

It is with great sadness and regret that I learned (only today) of Kay’s passing. I have been away from Twitter since early 2011. Kay was also a friend whom I never met but we too had long conversations on the phone and on Twitter. She was a funny lady with tremendous strength. Living in Canada, she shared some of her medical stories to my horror and suggested she move up here for the free health care. I was truly moved by her ability to laugh her way through her illness and to focus on “other things” more important?! She built a solid persona on Twitter and I always enjoyed reading her posts. I wonder if the fine folks at Twitter would consider retrieving all of her posts so we can read them in one location – like a blog? I loved her accent and had the honor and pleasure of being interviewed on Women are not funny back in Jan/10. She and I also had a special bond that only existed because of Twitter – we would never have met otherwise.
Rest sweet friend, your Canadian friend Heidi


Martha August 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm

So sorry Heidi, that you are just now finding out. I read this post again and it made me cry again. I do miss that girl! She was one of a kind but what I’m finding out is that there are many of “us” out here that had the same experience with our fun-loving Kay!
Thanks so much for commenting. Let’s be sure we are connected on Twitter :)


Heidi August 18, 2011 at 6:48 pm

BTW – your post really encapsulated the specialness of Kay.
Sorry this made you cry, tho grieving is important. I remember Kay with the fondest of humorous memories! I will follow you on Twitter (when I get back on) still working on that project. My twitter handles: @heidinabert AND @divorceddadwkly

I still wonder if the folks at Twitter would be interested in this special story. Has anyone tried to contact the executive at Twitter? Hey maybe I will when I get back on Twitter. Nuf said.

Nice to meet you Martha.


Veronica Campos-Hallstrom June 5, 2011 at 4:48 am

Such a fun post…and I “get it’ that friendships can come out of social media. I consider myself still new to it and it has been an amazing journey so far to have connections in print and in spirit.


Calli @ Wedding Favors May 30, 2011 at 9:44 am

Hi Martha,

Sad to hear she passed away. My impression is that she was a very cool person. Someone you could rely on even without personal connection. Too bad I never got the chance to meet her… Is her twitter account still there?


Martha August 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm

It’s there. But silent.


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