I recently joined a group called Ladies of the South (facebook page) or LOTS. It is a unique group that can also be found on myspace. Here is a little information on this unique and special group.
Ladies of the South or "LOTS" is a tribute to ladies of all ages who were born in the south, currently live in the south or lived here at one time. Not only are LOTS members supportive of one another, they also are involved in various causes which make the south a better place to live.
Being a LOTS member is a celebration of what makes the south so beautiful and unique. As a symbol, Ladies of the South has adopted the all familiar magnolia blossom.
"Like the Grits girl, the majestic magnolia tree is indigenous to the South, having spread its deep roots in our rich soil for centuries. The magnolia is a wide and solid tree, with large waxy leaves that provide so much shade even the hardiest Southern grass has trouble thriving beneath its limbs. But despite its grand strength and powerful presence, the magnolia tree produces some of the most delicate, fragrant, white flowers around."
You are invited to submit your comments and suggestions so that this is a meaningful group and experience.
The Interview with the creator of LOTS
Thank you for meeting with us today and agreeing to do this interview. First of all, where are the others who run the page? We thought it was three guys, not one.
Oh, it's just me. I run the page by myself. The idea for the page was created one night when I was at a bar with two friends, but I kind of took the idea, started the page and have been running it by myself.
What is the concept of the page?
The whole concept of the Ladies of the South page is to pay tribute to women living throughout the south or who have lived here at one time. I had noticed that, whether in real life or the world of MySpace, there just has not been a proper tribute given to the women of the south. They are both unique and beautiful and this page is an attempt to pay tribute in a classy way.
This November will mark the one year anniversary of the page. Have there been any surprises with the Ladies of the South page?
Oh, absolutely there have been surprises. I had no idea there would be such an overwhelming response. There are now over 9,000 members on the page. There have been over 60,000 profile views of the page and just this month, views of the various blogs exceeded 10,000. I had no idea that so many members would be trusting enough to allow their pictures to be selected for use on the page. I also never envisioned that people I don't know or who even know me, would share some of their personal information. Some have sent phone numbers while others have asked me to pray for them. I am also amazed at the number of members who placed the magnolia among their top friends. All of this reflects an element of trust that I will work hard to maintain.
So you have remained anonymous? Why and is there anything the members can know about you?
Yes, I have remained anonymous and always will. I really want the focus to be on the members of the page, not who is running it. Some people are motivated by a need for recognition while others shy away from it. I would rather be like the anonymous donor who gives, but expects nothing in return. I can tell you that I was born in the south and have lived in the south all of my life. I graduated from a southern university and played a college team sport for three years.
Do you ever contact members directly?
When time permits, I do like to leave a comment for their birthday. If a member contacts me about something or leaves a comment, I answer their question and I sometimes try to respond to say "thank you". However, except for rare circumstances, I don't like to just arbitrarily write someone or leave a comment. I also avoid calling anyone by their first name. It just makes it seem too familiar on my part. For the most part, I think bulletins work best. Messages from someone anonymous can invade someone's space and make them feel uncomfortable. That's not what this page is about.
Is it difficult or time consuming running the page?
Well, it is certainly more time consuming than I ever anticipated. That's ok, because a number of people do seem to enjoy the page and their comments and compliments seem to reflect that. It is not as time consuming as it once was, because not as many new members are being added to the page as before. The biggest difficulty in running the page is trying to decide what pictures to use on the page. There are so many beautiful pictures to choose from, but there is such a limited amount of space.
What does the future hold for the Ladies of the South page?
In the short term, I would eventually like for the membership to exceed 10,000. I just think that is a nice round number. Beyond that, I don't know. I will take my cues from the membership. If there seems to be a genuine interest in the page and an inflow of ideas from them, it will be easy to justify continuing. On the other hand, if the page becomes stale and there is a lack of interest, it will be hard to justify continuing. All concepts and products have a life-cycle; I just don't know where this one is.
So, your first interview was released to Ladies of the South membership. What kind of reaction did you receive?
I think it was pretty well received. It allowed me to explain a few things about the page that had never really been discussed before. It's funny though. Some people wrote and wanted to know who it was that interviewed me. I had to explain that there was no other person…I was interviewing myself (just as I am now).
I guess you probably know what the next question is, but with over 9,000 members, how did you select the top 40 "friends"?
I wanted the "top 40" to be a varied representation of Ladies across the south in terms of a number of factors in addition to their support of their page. First of all, all of them display the magnolia among their top friends and understand they will remain among the top 40 so long as they continue to display it. The top 40 come from a wide variety of backgrounds including college students, nurses, the medical field, housewives, mothers, a physician, an attorney, an actress, current and former NFL cheerleaders, current or former NBA dance team members, a doctoral candidate, some are in sales and others are in finance. Many of them are also involved in a number of worthwhile causes in their community. That's just a few examples, but they come from all walks of life.
Most of your members seem to be in their 20's but I did notice a special slideshow for those 35 and better. What's that all about?
I kind of got called out on that one. But it wasn't all my fault…I promise. In the world of MySpace, most accounts are held by teens and those in their twenties. It probably peaks somewhere in the mid to late 20's. The membership of LOTS is just a reflection of that. I have tried and continue to invite those who I'll describe as "better than the average" because I must tell you, they are some of the most appreciative and enthusiastic members on the page. The slideshow is but one attempt to let those members know just how important they are.
Looking at the page, there is a dog at the bottom. What's with that?
That's Rex. He's just special and has been adopted by the page. He is also the only male to ever appear on the page by himself. Of course, as he gets older, there is hope that he will find someone.
We have noticed some other MySpace pages which have appeared and which are paying tribute to women in the south. Care to comment?
I applaud any effort to pay tribute to ladies in the south. I suspect that this page had something to do with some of the pages and take it as a compliment to what we are doing here. I just hope the pages are being used for the right reasons.
"Thanks for being who you are" is an expression you use quite frequently. What is the origin of that?
When I first started the page, I always thanked members for being Ladies of the South…and still do. Being told that you are beautiful is always pleasing, but I felt something more needed to be said which addressed the inner person. We all have our own self doubts and insecurities. While everyone here is part of something larger, they are still individuals that need to feel good about themselves. "Thanks for being who you are" is just a simple way to say you are who you are….and you're ok. You don't have to worry about being like someone else.
So, you are who you are…albeit anonymous. If I was to Google your name, what would I find?
My name would appear on several pages all for things and accomplishments I am proud of.
Have there been any special moments during this first year?
There have been a number of nice moments this past year, especially when I realize the amount of trust I have earned with some. There was an especially nice moment this past summer when a member sent me a photograph with "Ladies of the South" inside of a heart and written in the sand on a beach. I just thought it was awesome that someone was thinking of what is going on here and took the time to write that while on vacation at the beach. It was just something very tangible for me to know that the concept was catching on.
Anything else you wish to say?
You know it. Thanks for being Ladies of the South. Thanks for being who you are.
I encourage ALL of you Ladies of the South to come and check us out. Visit the website. Purchase something and show the world that you are a LOTS! All net proceeds from the sale of items are directed to charities. Presently, three charities are supported, Susan G. Komen For the Cure, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.