Social media has been a love/hate thing for me over the years.
I've often wondered if my ambivalence about it makes it harder for me to grow my business.
Blame it on the fact that my first social experiences in kindergarten included being bullied and taunted by a very mean little girl who got other kids to "not like me" just because she could. (Seriously, I've been skittish ever since).
Blame it on the fact that I'm a fairly private person who can't imagine why you'd be interested in where I'm going on vacation or who I'm having lunch with.
Blame it on the fact that I have a teenager and two middle-schoolers and I get an up-close view on how the fragile egos and social eco-systems of kids can be heaven or hell depending upon the interpreted feedback on posts and photos.
Blame it on the fact that I get seriously freaked out about how much information is being collected about me.
Blame it on the fact that even though I'm supposed to imagine I'm mingling at a big cocktail party, the bottom line is: I hate mingling at cocktail parties (don't bother inviting me to one...I'm quite possibly the lamest guest ever...all that energy in one place overloads my system).
Blame it on the fact that I tried it for my first blog, Your Happy Stuff, and I felt like I was constantly Facebooking to "join conversations" but not making much progress in my business. Then I tried Instagram but couldn't seem to remember to whip my phone out throughout the day to document all the fascinating details of my life.
Blame it on the fact that I'm a student of A Course in Miracles and I'm deep into the process and practice of learning about my ego and and how it loves to project fear-based, judgmental, and scarcity-infused thoughts onto the experience of my life. (It's what the ego does...to all of us). And at times, social media seems like a big petrie dish of ego spores.
Blame it on the fact that I see real people embellishing the details of their lives, filtering the realness from their faces, or playing the role of public victim to feed their self-esteem or prove they belong.
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND
I see lots of people shout from the rooftops about their love and support of their kids (high five!).
I get to interact with some people who are genuinely funny and/or inspiring and brighten my day with their refreshing take on life.
I have met some wonderful friends by interacting with them on social media.
I see businesses with booming communities of passionate people having cool conversations and learning together.
I wouldn't know what some of my family and friends were up to if they didn't share socially (because we live far away from each other).
I see some businesses selling items within minutes of posting a photo.
I do love supporting people. In fact a dear friend shared a recent health scare and treatment updates socially, and the outpouring of love, prayer, and encouragement resulted in what some might call a miraculous healing.
I'm honored to be part of private online groups whose members support one another in various aspects of life and business.
I learn of cool technologies, interesting perspectives, and thought-provoking resources via social channels.
So, what's a person with social media issues to do?
Here are my personal guidelines:
DO WHAT FEELS GOOD AND RIGHT
GET COMFORTABLE WITH ONE PLATFORM BEFORE ADDING ANOTHER
DON'T SELL...MAKE CONNECTIONS INSTEAD
PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT WORKS AND DO MORE OF IT (EVEN IF IT'S NOT GURU APPROVED)
BE AUTHENTIC OR DON'T BOTHER
DO MORE SUPPORTING AND LESS BLABBERING
SHARE FROM A PLACE OF LOVE, NOT FEAR
REMEMBER, YOU DON'T NEED SOCIAL VALIDATION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
"You may touch people you nave never met and produce undreamed of changes in situations you are not aware."
- from A Course In Miracles
In terms of growing my business, these principles are serving me well.
Where I once felt immense stress (must. get. this. social. thing right.), I now lighten up and go with the flow. I'm exerting less social media effort and my business is growing faster and more organically than back in the day when I used to power post because I thought that's what I should be doing.
How about you? Do you have social media issues? Or...do you LOVE social media and have some tips for us introverts? Do share in the comments below...