Introducing Angelina Simms
Angelina Simms works with brands and provides support to help growing communities. She helps bring awareness to causes that she cares about. Angelina often hangs out in the library where she tells us that she’s always in search for the perfect apple cider.
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Tara: And now the conversation begins. This is episode 3.
Tara: Today we have with us Angelina Simms. I’m excited to talk Angelina. She works with brands and provides support to help growing communities. She helps bring awareness to causes that she cares about. You can often find Angelina hanging out in the library and she tells us that she’s always in search for the perfect apple cider. Hi Angelina!
Liam: Hi Angelina! Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and who you are?
Angelina: I live in the Philadelphia suburbs west of the city. I work in digital media, digital marketing and consulting for small businesses, startups and personal lifestyle brands…pretty much anyone – that agent’s spokesperson for anyone who has something to promote. I connect them with their intended audience and help grow their community.
Tara: How do you use WordPress to do all of that?
Angelina: WordPress comes in where I help manage content on their websites. I make sure that their plugins and their themes are up to date. I integrate that with social media so with the content on their WordPress site I push it out to the social media realm. I get out there and share it with the world.
Tara: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you learned how to do what you do and got started in it?
Angelina: A lot of trial and error. A lot of people said we need help. Try this out. I’m going to say all the way back to maybe 2007 may have been my first time to do anything online with social media. I knew what WordPress was but was not actively using it. I just tried it out with the .com. Then in maybe about 2011 or 2012 was my first .org website. It was about running and it was awful so I just took it down. My very first real website that I did was for my son’s father. He has a heavy metal website. That was the first real website that I ever did. I had no clue what I was doing. It was kind of a birthday present and it grew. He’s met a lot of very famous rock stars. That was the very first project that I ever did. That needs a good theme update. When I get around to it (it’s not priority at the moment) when I get around to that I will probably redesign it since I have better WordPress skills these days.
Liam: I think that can probably be said for all of our first websites. They can use a serious theme update when we get around to it.
Tara: So it sounds like your start was in social media?
Angelina: Yeah I went an event with a friend. It was a Tweetup. I was living in Long Island at the time. It was a Long Island Tweetup and we just got together. At the time all I knew was how to use was Facebook. There was a friend there who was really into Twitter. We got to talking and I started following him around to different events. That was kind of how I got started. It was more trial and error getting to know more about what goes on in the social world. I was going to more conferences just getting my name out there. I don’t think I ever professionally started using it until about 2014. I met a nice lady on Twitter. Her client was about to go on a TV show and I had no clue that was her managing the Twitter account. She invited me out to coffee one day and somehow someway I ended up managing about 5 or 6 Twitter accounts with her agency for about 3 1/2 years. (Yeah, 3 years). That was pretty exciting because the clients go on Fox, QVC, and MSNBC…the major networks.
Tara: Wow! That sounds like a lot of pressure. I know when I interact at all with my clients Twitter accounts it makes me nervous. I’m afraid I’m going to tweet something from the wrong account.
Angelina: Yeah, it’s hard to remember what person you are in your head at the moment. But it’s fun.
Tara: Is Twitter your preferred social media platform?
Angelina: I don’t know if it’s my preferred. It’s the one I’m most active on. I’m better at being more social on Twitter. I do kind of like YouTube and Instagram more, but for some reason I feel more at ease talking to strangers on Twitter.
Tara: I wonder why that is? Do you have different personas on different platforms?
Angelina: I think I’m about the same on most but I don’t know.
Tara: You use them differently?
Angelina: Yeah. There’s pressure to be more visual on Instagram. I don’t know what I want people to see about me.
Tara: Right. How do you manage the social media with your clients? Do you schedule your posts?
Angelina: Yeah. There’s some scheduling. A lot of my responsibility with the agency was mostly scheduling when I was full time. I dealt with some interaction, campaigns and Twitter chats (all that fun stuff).
Tara: What are some your favorite tools for managing your social media?
Angelina: Usually it is whatever people tell me that I have access to. Lately, I’ve been doing HootSuite. I’ve been exploring with Sprout. I don’t get to do it too much anymore because I’ve been taking a change of direction with my digital media consulting. I have a day job now as a client data manager for an investment agency. So I don’t get to play around with the tools as often. In my spare time (maybe with doing some WordPress projects here and there with friends maybe I’ll get to see what else is out there. There’s a loT of great new up-and-coming tools that are coming around.
Tara: Yeah. I’ve been hearing some buzz about different things. So one of the things that we talk about a lot on this show is success. It sounds like you have taught yourself a lot of skills and your path has evolved and grown. How would you define success?
Angelina: Success is anything that helps make me better and those around me better. We’re supporting each other. That’s what it’s all about to me. If we don’t grow as a group then what are we really doing? It is my whole take on everything.
Liam: Yes. I love that definition. Thank you for sharing that. So if group success (or group support group and camaraderie) is of value, then presumably you’ve engaged with and enjoy the WordPress community in some way shape or form…maybe you can tell us a little bit about how you first encountered the software…but how you first encountered the community? How do you stay involved with and get support from the community?
Angelina: I first encountered the software by accident because I was just researching different platforms online. I couldn’t decide if I was going to use WordPress, blogger or something else. Obviously, WordPress won. I started to see things on line and see all these events. I never knew if it was right for me. I moved back to the Pennsylvania area in December 2014. I saw that there was a WordCamp coming up. I might have noticed it in the spring. So I saw there was a WordCamp coming up (actually it was WordCamp Philly). That was my very first WordCamp. I was very excited because I saw there was a beginner’s track. I thought I should go because I considered myself a beginner. I quickly learned that I wasn’t a beginner. So I found myself wandering around all the different rooms and meeting everyone there. That’s how I felt more at ease. I’m still here hanging out today with all the Philly WordPress people and the Philly burgs people…volunteering and organizing WordCamps…and eventually becoming a board member for Women Who WP. I’m doing all kinds of different WordPress things.
Tara: I love all of that. One of the things I love most about what you said is that you went to this WordCamp and signed up thinking that you were going to go on the beginner track. Then you quickly realized that you weren’t a beginner. There’s a lot of talk about imposter syndrome and how we always think that we don’t know anything compared to everyone else. I think it’s awesome that you went there and discovered that you knew way more than you thought you did. That’s terrific. That’s one of the great things about the community. I heard that you recently worked on the board for Women Who WP. I love that organization. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Angelina: That was pretty surprising. I was up late at night and I got a Facebook message with a bunch of women in Ocean County, California. They were messaging me back and forth. Hey! We want to know if you’re interested in joining the board for Women Who WP? So I’m like really? We’ve had a couple rounds of interviews back and forth. We had a couple of bios and pics later and I was announced as a board member. So at the moment because I’m all the way on the East Coast there is a lot of evangelizing and sharing the message. We’re encouraging other women who are interested in starting their own official Meetup because they are now registered with the Meetup foundation to get started and get others involved.
Tara: I know that Philadelphia has a really vibrant WordPress community and a really vibrant Girl Development It Community, so I would imagine that this one would fit right in there. Do you think you are going to start one there?
Angelina: I don’t know if I personally will start one but I will be very supportive. I do know there’s a member in the Philly burbs Meetup who was interested in filling out an application to start a Philly Women’s Who WordPress. Whenever that gets going I’ll be there 100% of the way. I do know there is a lot of interest. I recently spoke at Drexel University last Wednesday on social media and growing communities and the people in the audience there (especially the women of course) were very interested in learning about Women Who WP coming to Philly. They were more interested in WordCamp coming up. So I did a little spiel on that while I was there. Actually, I got a couple emails before I hopped on with you guys asking for more information about Women Who WP and the Philly WordCamp.
Tara: That’s excellent!
Liam: Yeah. Thank you so much for the support. That is hugely valuable (particularly when you said about I’m not sure if I’m going to start it) but I’m certainly going to support it. That’s just as important…remembering to register the Meetup page and do some of the initial organization. The community really needs people to come out support it, promoted it with social media and jump in where they can. That’s awesome. I’m really excited to see that Meetup come together and will certainly support it any way that I can too as well.
Tara: It sounds like not only have you gained a lot from the community but you also give back to it a lot. I see you are organizing and volunteering at WordCamps in your area. You actually inspire me to do the same. I think that’s great. You’re really a big part of the community.
Angelina: I appreciate that a lot. I learned that I could be involved. I don’t necessarily have to be a developer (although I am interested in learning along the way) but I learned quickly that I could do all these things and still meet all these cool people that have all these superpowers using WordPress. I don’t really have to be on the command line if I don’t want to be. It’s one of the things where I want to encourage others. You can be a content manager and still be very active and supportive in the community.
Liam: Here’s to that.
Tara: In your variety of capacities that you have in the WordPress community in your day job you described, in your social media management and client work that you do, what would you say is the most important thing that you do every day (whether it’s in your job or in your personal life)? What’s the most important to you on a daily basis?
Angelina: On a daily basis, the most important thing I do is help myself and ask did I help someone else? Did I have some kind of impact to make their day better and make my day better? I can help people all day long, but if I’m not helping myself first, what good am I to anyone else? It’s a bit of a team effort there.
Tara: Can you tell us a little bit more about how you do that? How do you take care of yourself that way?
Angelina: With self-care. I do a lot of meditation and practice mindfulness. I used to be into running but I’m taking a break from that right now. So I’m walking. I want to be doing some yoga and stretching, I guess. I’m not a fan of yoga, but I try. I try to stretch and make sure those muscles are warm and active as best as I can.
Tara: Stretching is hard.
Angelina: Wandering around the library makes me happy. That’s always fun.
Tara: What section of the Library?
Angelina: All of the sections! I grew up in the library. My mom worked in the school library so it was almost like punishment putting books away but I gained a skill at the end of the day. I can find my way around without help and help people find stuff in the library, which I did last night actually.
Liam: I love that. The library! So I have to ask you…do you borrow books from the library or do you rent them? I never get my books back on time. I always have to pay the fee. It’s really frustrating.
Angelina: I almost owned a book the other day. (laughing…several) But the librarian told me to consider it a donation to the library. So I looked at it that way. I really wanted the book that I was checking out. I wasn’t leaving without that book.
Liam: I’ve done the math recently on my own fees. It’s getting increasingly more valuable for me to just buy a paper copy on Amazon then to get it from the library by the time I get it back (and I don’t live far from the library).
Angelina: I set an alarm on my phone to see if I can actually get the book back on time. It’s a little personal challenge for myself to see what happens.
Liam: I never thought of that…a personal alarm. Just set a calendar reminder. I love that. Thank you. That is awesome.
Tara: One more thing for your calendar Liam.
Liam: Laughs. Thanks Tara.
Tara: After we talk about what’s the most important thing (sometimes this could be the same) but what is your favorite thing that you do everyday?
Angelina: Favorite thing? It is same thing really. I don’t know how to do anything else.
Tara: Take care of yourself. Is that what it is?
Angelina: I’m not going to claim I’m the best, but it is what I know how to do. It’s in my core and is what I do.
Tara: That’s great. When you started in the new day job you said you that you’re managing a few balls in the air in addition to your volunteer work. What would you say is your biggest challenge and how are you overcoming it? Are you overcoming it or how do you deal with it?
Angelina: The biggest challenge I think is doing “adulting”. Doing adult things. I’m used to working at home full-time, so its kind of like oh! I have to put pants on today and go to work. So just making sure that every day things that people do when they leave the house to go to work… now I have to make sure I’m ready to go. It’s like practicing having a schedule and making sure my lunch is ready. When I go to work and open my tote and realize that my lunch is not in there. I’m so proud of myself when I remember to bring my lunch with me. It’s little things like that where I have to remember that go on in the outside world. I know a lot of freelancers and developers that work from home. Either they chose to work from home or they transitioned back into the workforce. Those are the little things that you forget about. You have to learn to appreciate them all over again.
Liam: That can be very hard especially since it’s not like college. At college you had your Monday-Wednesday-Friday class and your Tuesday-Thursday. So you know you could (if you had to) if you didn’t have any clean clothes you could wear the same clothes on Monday and Tuesday because you wouldn’t see the Monday classmates again until Wednesday. You can’t do that at a 5 day of the week job. They catch onto that pretty quickly, don’t they?
Angelina: In fact, everything but my sandwich was like that the one day. I was like Oh Man! This is not going to work.
Tara: So have you started implementing any strategies or tools (since I’m a fan of tools) that you use to help remind yourself to put on pants?
Angelina: I’m trying to have a regular laundry schedule. I’m not going to say I’m failing at it but it’s coming along. There’s been a couple of days where I have been ahh…I’m going to wear those khakis again. I don’t think anyone is going to notice. It’s different. I can’t roll out of bed and wear a WordCamp t-shirt to work. I’m not going out to shop because I’m not really a big shopper for myself. I’m learning how to treat myself more and enjoy doing things for myself. I have to have more than just t-shirts when I’m going outside.
Liam: That’s hilarious! I’m going to change gears on us just a little bit if I can. Angelina? You’ve talked a lot about supporting the community, growing the community, advocating for the community and opening doors for the community. We talked about your definition of success and your favorite thing. But life is real. Even our favorite things bring some job tasks or chores that we don’t like. So what is what is one of your least favorite things that is important when it comes to growing community and supporting a community? What is it that you just don’t like doing but it has to get done so you do it anyway?
Angelina: When I get those emails from the WordPress organizer asking you to do the five-minute talk at a Meetup. When it is all said and done, I am happy that I did it, right? But I’m like…I don’t really want to do it. I want to interact with people and tell them what is going on with the next WordPress thing. At the end of the day, I think it’s a love/hate thing. No. I don’t want to do the talks. I know everyone says you have things to talk about but in my mind, I still don’t. I appreciate it when I go to things that aren’t WordPress…like when I spoke last week at the University…I had plenty to talk about. I felt very competent because I feel like the WordPress community and Meetups and WordCamps help me be more competent about doing that. So I’m not going to ignore any emails that come my way asking for five-minute talk.
Liam: I appreciate that. I guess what I’m trying to get around to understanding from your answer is it that you don’t feel comfortable talking in a WordPress community because you feel like you’re not advanced enough? Did I understand that correctly because might not have.
Angelina: Maybe. When I first starting out going to WordCamps and I was like oh! I want to speak at everything. Now it’s kind of like, well I think I saw a lot of stuff. I kind of want to hang back and fill in any missing gaps. I know I will see people in the hallway and be chatting with them…hallway chats. I find out what they need and I feel like I’m focusing on them and helping them get referrals and any resource they might need. I enjoy doing that and following up with them afterwards.
Liam: Yes. I totally understand that. It’s much more of you see yourself bringing a lot more value behind the scenes supporting the community, making connections and ok if they need me, I’ll stand in front of everybody and talk to them about stuff. But I’d rather make connections backwards. I like that. It makes a lot of sense. Thank you.
Tara: I think finding a balance of the two expresses that you necessarily didn’t want to do it. Afterward, you’re glad that you did. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.
Angelina: It’s something like that. I guess a good middle ground for me would be like maybe an emcee or something at a conference…someone who interacts but not for too long.
Tara: Yeah. I could see that. Can you tell us about a tool that you use that you can’t live without?
Angelina: My favorite social media tool… or me personally…I like buffer because I can just drag-and-drop on the go. My favorite WordPress tools? I don’t know. I’m still exploring favorite WordPress tools. I don’t really have favorites. I just like to try everything. If anyone else needs help I like to understand their needs and give them a recommendation. I don’t get to personal with the tools because they come and go. They’re always evolving.
Tara: True. The Shiny object syndrome.
Liam: I also feel that the user interface for tools always change. So you tell a client on Monday here is how you log in to whatever it is. Here’s how you do it.
Click here and click there. Then you log in two weeks later and by the time they get to it then it’s totally changed.
Angelina: Say when it’s not very good…say it’s good on web but it stinks on mobile or vice versa…I kind of want through my hands in the air and walk away.
Tara: That’s true.
Liam: Absolutely. Angelina? Let me ask you one other big question here on hallway chats. What is the single most valuable piece of advice (either professional or personal) that you’ve taken on board in your life and implemented?
Angelina: Don’t sell yourself short. That would be it right there. There have been several times I was told with talks, jobs or clients that I was told I wasn’t the right person. The supportive community (especially in the burbs with WordPress or Meetups) or even the ones I’ve met on line… that say Angelina…get your butt out there and do it. You’re the person for the job. Even talks outside of WordPress…are you sure you don’t want someone else? I can recommend another person I know. They are like no. We want you! To prove that, they may reschedule an appearance 2 or 3 times. I tried to recommend someone and they are like you’re still going to do this. You learn not to sell yourself short because I have something to contribute (even though many times I don’t think I do). We all have something to contribute even when we doubt ourselves.
Tara: Absolutely! I think that’s been the theme of this talk with you. It’s come up a couple of times that you have to have confidence in yourself but that the community really can validate you in that way too. You really do know more than you think you do. Thank you for sharing that.
Liam: I love how assertively and quickly you responded to that question. We’ve asked the question in all of our interviews. Your answer was by far the fastest and the most emphatic. It’s clear from your emotions that you clearly believe that piece of advice and that you do everything you can to deliver. So thank you very much sharing that. That is really powerful stuff.
Tara: I want to ask you about something else. Tell me that your apple cider obsession.
Angelina: I don’t know how it started. Just from hanging out with people…you don’t want to be that one person with a glass of wine while everyone else is drinking beer. One day I said “let me try this cider”. I fell in love with it and then I was like let me try other ciders. I started looking online. I found there are actually cider festivals and there are cider 5k’s and all kinds of things. It’s something where I took a break because when it was the Super Bowl, I went a little overboard with the cider. I realized Oh My God! How many calories are in one these things? So I took a break from that but I’m definitely getting back into it now because it’s summer time and just doing it moderation. I’m starting a new personal blog soon. It will cover museums and libraries and funky things that I like. I will be checking out cider events anything apple related as well. I might get around to that. I’m going to have some fun there.
Liam: That is awesome! So share with us (if you will) some of your favorite current favorite ciders. What do you like these days?
Angelina: Angry Orchard. I’m drawing a blank now…I tried an Irish cider Sunday…I went to brunch with a WordPress friend and tried…I can’t remember the name of it…
Angelina: I think so. It wasn’t as sweet as Angry Orchard but I would try it again.
Liam: Do you like you like cloudy ciders at all? Have you had many of those?
Angelina: No. I kind of like to be able to see through what I’m drinking.
Liam: That seems reasonable.
Angelina: If I was a beer drinker, I probably would not like any of the stouts because I know what’s in there. I’m open to exploring different things as I probably have to as I go through with my new blog trying new fun things and explore that personal side of myself.
Liam: So let me share with you if I can…we’ve got a little bit of time. A cider driven social media story…here you go…ready? Have you heard of Commonwealth fighter? It’s made in Philly.
Liam: It’s a very dry cider. I know you said you like sweet so it might not be your top favorite.
Angelina: I’m open to trying it.
Liam: So my brother was kind enough to share some with me. He left me a few of them and I finished those up. I went to my local beer distributor in Philly area and they didn’t carry them. So I tweeted the brewery and when they made their delivery the next week to my local beer delivery place…as soon as the delivery was done…they tweeted at me…hey! It’s there. About 20 minutes later I popped into the beer distributor and the guy behind the counter was like how did you know we had this? We just got it. We never had it before. We ordered one case. They just sent it to us.
Liam: Yeah. They did it for me. I love the Internet. Thank you Twitter!
Tara: Very cool. So Angelina? We’re coming to the end. I wanted to ask you where people can find you? I’m really interested if you have a new name for your new blog?
Angelina: I have the domain. I bought it last year on my birthday. I just didn’t get around to it because I was doing other things. I’m working on content right now. The domain is called Archivedangel. I’m archiving experiences. That’s where it came from. I’m not quite sure exactly when it will launch. Hopefully, before the end of the year. On the interwebs you can find me where most accounts are under my name @AngelinaSimms and Angelinasimms.com.
Tara: With two m…s correct”
Angelina: That is correct.
Tara: It’s been a pleasure getting to know you better. I loved everything you had to say. I can’t wait to share it. Thanks so much for joining us.
Liam: Thank you for joining us Angelina! It’s a pleasure as always.
Liam: Thanks for the listening to the show. We sure hope you enjoyed it much as we did.
Tara: If you like what we’re doing here – meeting new people in our WordPress community – we invite you to tell others about it. We’re on iTunes and at hallwaychats.com.
Liam: Better yet, ask your WordPress friends and colleagues to join us on the show. Encourage them to complete the “Be on the show” form on our site, to tell us about themselves.