In Alissa’s Words…
I was born in Baltimore and have lived in Maryland for most of my life. I attended Hereford High School, which is in Northern Baltimore County. I’m a third-generation Terp and part of an extended family of many proud Terps. For those of you who are not from Maryland and don’t know what a “Terp” is, it’s the terrapin mascot for the University of Maryland (UMD). Given my connection to UMD, I have a huge collection of turtles – jewelry, figurines, clothes – if it’s turtle-themed, I probably have it!
Along with the Terps, I’m also a huge fan of local sports teams – Ravens, Orioles, Redskins, Nationals, Capitals, Mystics, Wizards, D.C. United, and the Aberdeen Iron Birds (minor league baseball). My son plays soccer and runs track and my daughter is an accomplished equestrian. I just started a yoga class a few months ago and much to my surprise, I’m really enjoying it!
My son and I began fishing regularly last summer. It’s become a fun hobby for both of us, despite my car smelling like live bait on hot summer days. We typically just catch and release, but I’m sure if we caught something really big we’d be excited to keep it and learn how to clean and filet a fish. Fortunately, YouTube has how-to videos on everything related to fishing!
One of my favorite things about working at UMD was making videos. Getting multiple awards for the holiday videos was an added bonus. Nowadays, I find myself making a lot of family videos and uploading them privately to YouTube. I get lost in video production – I start a project and then somehow it’s five hours later. I’ve been making videos since I was a teenager. My sister and I got a VHS camcorder in high school and spent hours/days/weeks making elaborate comedy sketch videos – mostly music video spoofs and SNL-themed skits. “Hello, I am Gertrude… and I am Bertrude. And we want to pump [clap] you up!” – a la Hans and Franz. I also had a pretty awesome Elvis impression. I tied white cloth napkins to the bottom of my white pants to make bell bottoms. I had a cardboard guitar and drew on dark eyebrows and sideburns with an eyeliner. Our video for Elvis was an infomercial with all of Elvis’ greatest hits. Call 1-800-FOR-ELVI – leave off the “S” for savings.
As a journalist specializing in advertising, it was only natural that I’d be attracted to online marketing when the “world wide web” came along when I was in college. In making a successful website, I was able to combine all of my favorite things – working with people, new technology, writing, graphic design, marketing, project management, and analytics. Also, not surprisingly, when Facebook and Twitter started about a decade ago, I was an early adopter and absolutely loved being able to make meaningful connections so easily with potential customers.
Even though social media is my job, it’s also my passion. I spend a lot of time on social media in the evenings – live tweeting during TV shows and sporting events. I love the interactivity of it all – it adds a different level of connection. Watching TV without following along on Twitter is boring! I use Snapchat to keep up with my teenage daughter. She was equally embarrassed and elated when I created a custom Snapchat geofilter at her high school for her birthday last year.
My Instagram account is private, but if you were to take a look, you’d see a lot of photos of my pets. We love animals in our family – we have a dog, a cat, two rabbits, and a handful of fish. As much as we love animals, we hate the animal hair. I feel like I’m constantly sweeping and vacuuming and lint rolling a dozen times before I go out of the house. All for the love of a pet. But, it’s worth it!
Digital and mobile photography has definitely rocked my world, but I was into photography long before I could take dozens of photos a day with my phone. Right now I have exactly 35,002 photos and 1,387 videos on my iPhone! Back in high school, I worked on the yearbook and was a co-founder of the school’s Photography Club. I would take photos with my dad’s 35mm and go to Ritz Camera at the mall to get the film developed in one hour, with free double prints. I’d stand outside the shop and look in the window to see my photos go by on the conveyer belt, keeping my fingers crossed that at least some of them turned out. My parents and grandparents also had a passion for photography. When I was little, I recall sitting through slide presentations and 8mm home videos during every family gathering. Those were the days!
I love to travel and when I get a chance to go someplace new, I take a lot of photos and videos. Last year, I went on the best vacation yet – a round-trip cruise on NCL from Barcelona along the Mediterranean coastline, stopping in Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes, and Palma de Mallorca. It was absolutely spectacular and I highly recommend it!
To find out more about me, feel free to follow me on Twitter @AArford. I keep my other social media accounts private.