CHAPTER ONE THE QUEEN OF SOCIAL MEDIA
“I need another bird’s nest sundae with strawberry ice cream, please!” I called to Allie.
“Bird’s nest sundae coming right up!” Allie replied.
I watched my friend make the sundae—one scoop of strawberry ice cream topped with shredded coconut, jelly beans, and a Peep. The result looked like a bird sitting on its eggs in a nest, and I absolutely loved it. It was my latest sundae creation and probably one of my favorites yet.
The customers loved it too. I’d been counting the sales of the new sundae ever since I’d started taking orders at twelve forty-five, and in just two hours we’d sold thirteen of them!
Allie handed me the sundae, which I finished off with a Molly’s Ice Cream trademark—a shower of sprinkles.
“Here’s your sprinkle of happy,” I said with my best salesclerk smile, handing the sundae to the woman who had ordered it. The little girl next to her began to jump up and down in excitement.
“Ice cream! Ice cream!” she shouted.
“Calm down, Sophie,” her mom said patiently. “I just need to pay, and then we’ll sit down.”
I laughed. “It’s okay. We all feel that way about ice cream,” I told her. The woman gave me a grateful smile and made her way over to pay my friend Sierra at the register.
I spun around to Allie. “Thirteen in two hours!” I bragged.
“I was counting too. That might be a record,” she said. Then she scrunched up her freckly nose in that way she does when she’s thinking. “I wonder if it is a record. Why haven’t we ever thought about keeping stats on this kind of thing?”
“We could, if we input flavors into the computer register system,” Sierra chimed in, tapping the register. “Right now it only keeps track of small sundae, medium sundae, small cone, things like that.”
“This sounds like a job for Sierra Perez, math genius,” I said, wiggling my eyebrows.
“That might be beyond my genius capabilities,” Sierra answered. “But I’ll talk to your mom about it, Allie.”
“Awesome!” Allie replied.
Allie’s mom, Mrs. S., owned Molly’s Ice Cream, which was named after her grandmother. Allie, Sierra, and I had been besties since we were tiny, and we worked together in the shop every Sunday afternoon. I was glad we did, because Allie’s parents had gotten divorced the previous summer, and now Allie went to a different school from where Sierra and I went. For most weeks, our Sprinkle Sunday was the only day when we were all together in the same place.
I gazed around at the shop. Three teenage girls were sitting on the stools at the high counter that faced the window. A dad and his two little boys were eating ice cream cones at one of the small round tables, and at the table next to them, Sophie was digging into her bird’s nest sundae while her mom watched.
I wiped my hands on my apron. “I’m going to take a few photos for the website while it’s quiet,” I announced.
“Great. I’ll refill the toppings,” Allie said.
“I’ll help!” Sierra quickly offered.
A few months before, Allie might have been upset that I was taking pictures instead of helping with the toppings. But ever since her mom had made me the unofficial social media director of the shop, Allie didn’t mind as much. I added all of the updates to the Molly’s Ice Cream website. I uploaded photos to the shop’s social media accounts, and I responded to any messages or comments people posted. I didn’t mind doing it, because Mrs. S. was so busy making the ice cream and keeping the shop running seven days a week that all these things would never get done if I didn’t do them. Also, it was a lot of fun!
I walked up to Sophie and her mom. “Would you mind if I took a photo of your daughter with the sundae and posted it on our website?” I asked. “We’ll identify her by first name only.”
“I wouldn’t mind at all!” the mom replied. She pulled a napkin from the dispenser. “I should clean up her face first, though.”
“No, it’s perfect. Trust me!” I said. Sophie had ice cream all over the outside of her mouth, and flecks of coconut and sprinkles stuck to it. I pointed my
phone at Sophie. “Smile and say ‘ice cream’!”
“Ice cream!” Sophie cried, scrunching up her eyes. When she opened her mouth to smile, I noticed that she was missing her two front teeth. How cute was that? This was social media gold!
“Okay. Now pick up the spoon and pretend you’re going to put it into your mouth, but stop just before you get there,” I instructed.
Sophie obeyed, and I snapped away.
“That was great! Thanks!” I said. “You can find the photos on the Molly’s Ice Cream website.”
Sophie’s mom nodded, and then I moved to the dad and his two boys. I took a few shots of them eating their ice cream cones. And the teenage girls let me shoot them sipping their milkshakes with our new paper straws—aqua-colored, to match the cushions on the chairs.
“Wait. Let us see!” one of the girls demanded before I could walk away. I handed them my phone, and they huddled together, scrolling through the photos.
“Wow, these are all good!” the girl said. “You should be, like, a professional photographer or something.”
“Thanks. It’s part of my job,” I replied. I knew I was good, but it was nice to hear it from other people.
No new customers had come in, so I went back behind the counter and began to upload the photos. First I posted them to the website, and then to the social media accounts, which were all linked, so I only had to post them once.
For Sophie I wrote: Cute alert! Order a bird’s nest sundae, and you’ll be smiling too. #SundaySundae #IceCream #MollysIceCream #Bayville #Cute
For the dad and the boys I wrote: Molly’s is open till 9 every Sunday! #IceCream #SundaySundae #IceCreamCone #MollysIceCream #Bayville
For the teenage girls I wrote: Milkshakes taste better with our new planet-friendly straws. #Milkshake #SavethePlanet #MollysIceCream #Bayville
I could have come up with at least ten more hashtags, but I heard Allie call out behind me.
A group of little girls in soccer jerseys came in with their coach. I slipped my phone back into my pocket.
“On it!” I said, and I turned on the charm with a big smile for the coach. “Welcome to Molly’s. How can I help you today?”
The rush lasted for about an hour, but I had a chance to check the social media accounts before our shift ended and it was time to clean up.
“Wow!” I said. “Sophie’s photo has forty-five likes online already.”
“Who’s Sophie?” Sierra asked.
“That little girl who ordered the bird’s nest sundae. The girl with the two front teeth missing,” I replied.
Sierra nodded. “She was cute!”
“Twenty-eight likes on our yummy milkshakes,” I reported. “Oh, and here’s a comment: ‘How late are you open tonight?’?”
I rolled my eyes. “Duh. It says right in one of the captions that we’re open till nine.”
“Don’t write that!” Allie warned.
“Of course not. I am the queen of social media. I know exactly what to say,” I responded, and then I typed, “Open till 9. Hope to see you soon, and bring a friend!”
Sierra grinned. “The queen of social media, huh? Was there an election?”
“Queens don’t get elected. They are born,” I pointed out. “And anyway, I am killing it with the website and the other social media accounts. Molly’s
has a legit social media presence now. Kai says we’re on the way to becoming a recognizable brand.”
Kai was my business-obsessed older brother. I got a lot of good advice from him.
I checked out another photo of a family eating ice cream cones. “Okay, now here’s a sensible comment: ‘How come your chocolate ice cream tastes so much better than the kind I make at home?’?”
Mrs. S. walked into the room as I was saying this. “Wow, that’s flattering. So how do you respond to a comment like that?”
I thought for a minute. “What about this?” I said, and I read out loud as I typed. “Don’t even try to duplicate it. Why torture yourself and waste time and money trying to make it at home? Life is short! Come to Molly’s and enjoy all the best-tasting chocolate ice cream you want!”
“That is perfect,” Mrs. S. said. “People tell me they love following Molly’s on social media, not just to see what’s new but to see ‘Molly’s’ funny responses. You are a star, Tamiko!”
“Actually, she’s a queen. Queen of social media,” Allie corrected, laughing.
“All right. I was just kidding before,” I said. “I might be good at social media, but I’m not exactly a star.”
“Even kids at school treat you like you’re a celebrity,” Sierra said.
“No, they don’t,” I protested.
She turned to Allie and Mrs. S. “People stop by our table at lunch and compliment her on the website. Even Eeee-wan,” she teased.
I rolled my eyes. Earlier in the year Ewan and I had gotten paired up in art class, and we’d had to draw each other’s portraits. I hadn’t been exactly psyched about it, because he was a popular kid who hung out with a bunch of jerks. But it turned out he wasn’t a jerk. He was nice and a really good artist, and I’d ended up drawing a lot of pictures of him in different styles. So of course Sierra and Allie had assumed that meant I had a crush on him, and they’d been torturing me about it ever since.
It was kind of annoying. They were my friends, and I loved them, but just because they were obsessing about boys all the time didn’t mean I had to. I had no interest in dating right now. And so what if sometimes my stomach did this weird flip when I
passed by Ewan in the hallway.? That didn’t mean I had a crush on him, all right?
Allie walked over with one of those pointy paper cups that you put your ice cream cone into to prevent drips, and she placed it on top of my head, giggling.
“I crown thee Tamiko, queen of social media!” she said. “What is thy command?”
“I command you to stop calling me the queen of social media,” I said, taking the paper cone off my head. “I’m sorry I ever brought it up.”
Allie’s face got thoughtful. “Tamiko, now that you have a following, you should maybe create a blog of your own. You know, do something more than just post friend stuff on SuperSnap. You could post photos of all the stuff you create.”
I liked the sound of that. “I’m not sure why I never thought of that,” I admitted. “But I like it. I could post outfits I’ve made, and get people to rate them and stuff.”
“You could even do videos,” Sierra suggested.
Mrs. S. nodded. “I think that’s a wonderful idea,” she said. “It’s never too early to start thinking about your future. And a successful website would be a wonderful thing to show to prospective colleges in a few years. That time will be here quicker than you expect!”
“I didn’t even think of that,” I said. “I love these ideas. Thanks!”
“Now, if you girls don’t mind cleaning the tables, I’ll get your pay for this week,” Mrs. S. said, and she headed to the back room of the shop.
We cleaned up the tables and divided the tips we’d gotten that afternoon. I heard a beep and saw Mom outside in her car.
“Need a ride, Sierra?” I asked. “You can come over for dinner if you want.”
“Sounds good, but I can’t,” she said. “I’m going straight to band practice.”
“Cool,” I said. “Bye!”
After getting my pay from Mrs. S., I took off my apron and headed outside. Normally, I might have been mildly annoyed that Sierra had band practice—her schedule was so crazy, and she didn’t always have time to hang out with me. But that night my mind was whirring with plans.
I couldn’t wait to start my blog!