Social media in and of itself is meaningless.
Shocking declaration from a content writer and social media coordinator, blogger and everything the hell else I am.
The fact is there are worse things that go on and on in our daily lives that interfere with our freedom and self-determination and we love those things. We have a taste for whatever we can use more so than for the things that we can love.
Bear with me on this, because there is a beyond-Facebook point to what follows here. But, let’s get to social media and Facebook as a case in point: There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.
For me, social media is usually thought of as “good” for 5 reasons.
Reason No. 1—Social Media is good because it’s a tool. Not just something we can use but something we can love. As a bright shiny distraction, social media keeps me in touch with people and the thing I value most―relationship.
As a freelancer, social media gives energy and propulsion to mastery and purpose. That is, social media is effective for promoting ideas and plans, for career and evolving projects, for meeting potential clients and launching entrepreneurial initiatives.
I have often repeated that to me social media is underutilized by community development practitioners, counselors, therapists, healthcare professionals and healthcare entrepreneurs. Over the last 2 years, I have witnessed a huge change as these professionals have really caught on. Their relationships have grown hugely matching any and every sector out there.
For me, it begins and ends with relationships. I had a great conversation with a friend of mine, a passionate VP of sales and consultant with a radical web development company. He was telling me about how corporate was pushing for closings. While we sure did agree that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to close more deals, as we spoke we came to a couple of important conclusions.
- Closing a deal, like anything else, is not a magical occurrence because it does not exist in isolation, and cannot appear by sheer force of will.
- Before you can close, there is a full spectrum of actionable items you need to bridge.
The first and last item on the spectrum is relationship.
Reason No. 2—Social Media can be a veritable provenance of insight, creativity, and well-thought-out viewpoints. Setting aside Caturday and the millionth mention of Nikola Tesla, platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook obviously work for me and other freelancers.
The people I have met through social media have helped me shape my main goals and helped motivate me to move forward―in spite of conventional ideas of what success should look like. My connections and followers on social media have provided benefit and value as I pursue freelancing.
I’ve learned a lot and continue to as relationships grow.
They have inspired an upgrade of self as the new year approaches. Success for me has been hinged on becoming a person business, so to speak―not at all precluding being a business person, but in essence, running my life as though I am the brand.
After all, I am the capital, I am the operation.
This is a season to explore a sort of economics of Self―an investment in functioning, becoming a think-tank of mission and goals; networked and affiliated, sharing and earning―not merely consuming.
It’s okay to be an artist and a guru, it’s also okay to acquire and accumulate. The seeds I have planted concerning the business I am into today and frankly, the business I am not into (what’s none of my business)—have begun to bear fruit. Even the iPhone pics of the food I cooked at home have provided dividends.
Reason No.3—Because Facebook allows me to stay in contact with the real people in my life, I am enjoying connections with friends, and family [of choice] without having to lie about “let’s keep in touch,” or about FaceTime and phone calls none of us will ever make.
If I had a dime for every time I said or was asked to keep the conversation going. Wow.
There’s at least one opinionated virago out there who’d be happy to tell you: This ain’t news, this ain’t special, interesting or Earth shattering. Like Gertrude Stein said, ‘Nothing will ever be more interesting than the American Civil War.’
Let the mossbacks say what they like—it’s none of my business. Truth is, I have known some of my Facebook friends―yes indeed they are Facebook “friends,” but they are actually genuine friends, too―going back to the age of 12. We’re in contact with one another because it’s the best way to keep in touch.
Some of the people that I know on Facebook, in fact, the biggest circle of people that I know in social media, are people that I’ve known since I was in my 20s. There are some people in social media that I’ve known from anywhere between 5 years to just a few weeks. Or less.
Reason No.4—My social media presence is evolving as I evolve, and as social media itself evolves. It truly is a journey.
I began freelance writing as a generalist. I was told to find a niche and I organically grew toward creating content for websites and work as a social media coordinator. This wasn’t just something that happened overnight. But being no great fan of irony, I had to make an exception because as I niched down, I expanded my competencies. All because I value relationship building.
This is what happened as a result of nurturing relationships: A potential client and I connected over Skype for a 30-minute meeting. His website content was sparse and poorly written. He wasn’t a writer and didn’t want to be a writer.
We ended up talking for almost an hour and a half. It wasn’t all business. Not directly. We were getting to know one another as people first, as business associates second.
Then he asked, “How can you expand on what you’re already doing?”
So, not being a fan of irony, I am a huge devotee of the epiphany. The ah-ha moment. The proverbial lightbulb over my cartoon head. The end result of our conversation was that he saw an appropriate fit and hired me as a Social Media Coordinator.
Reason No.5—Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. ― Gertrude Stein
There’s a lot of noise on the Internet. The noise is part of the two biggest challenges that you and I face.
The first is to not allow our best moments and our momentum to get rerouted by every single great idea that pops into our heads.
The second is the closely related Bright Shiny Objects.
I use my Mac’s Stickies, Notes, and Text Edit apps. When I get an idea, it goes on Stickies. If later in the day it seems not too excessively insane, it goes on Notes. Then, if it’s not just another bright shiny distraction, I look into it further.
Some ideas are awesome ideas but they’re not for me. There’s the issue of what resonates and what integrates. If it isn’t fundamental to my process, or can’t become part of the mix, I cannot waste my time on it.
Then there are the pure, unadulterated Bright Shiny Objects. I have mixed feelings about these. Nowadays, I allow myself a short amount of time for them. In the past, I could really mess up my flow, the efficiency of my entire day.
It’s 9:00 a.m., I’m having coffee and researching an article and before you know it, it’s lunchtime and I haven’t written a word. Chasing squirrels is a Bad habit!
Well, not always. There have been frequent experiences where distractions led to discovery. Researching one topic has often led to inspiration, jotting another two or three ideas on Stickies, and honoring my process.
Best of all, allowing yourself to chase something shiny can lead to an introduction.
I consider it quite an honor to have connections on LinkedIn and Twitter with influencers and thought leaders. Maybe some of these relationships were inevitable, but if allowing time for the chase initiated a conversation then no harm no foul.
If we allow a small part of our day to be taken up by a bit of distraction we may find that it doesn’t automatically have to interfere with purpose and mastery.
Mastery is about living our lives in a more meaningful and fulfilling manner.
Purpose strives for achievement.
We are not our distraction. We are made up of countless traits, not just distraction or any other single characteristic or habit. Our daily purpose is to enhance the enjoyment of our work and our being. Work is only a part of our existence and will never to prove our worth.
Whether we’re multitasking, strictly focused, or totally distracted, we have enough fulfillment and purpose to carry us through. Social media engagement has been the capstone of my freelancing adventure.
And sometimes, we do need to disconnect on a whole mess of levels and just be still. Like Gertrude Stein said, ‘Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.’
Stumble over your next blog topic, your next connection, the influencer or thought leader you connect and engage with. You have the mastery and the tools. Social Media is one of them. Love these things. Love them all.
Photo Credit: © 2016 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York