Do you remember graduating from high school and all its frivolous, green-eyed drama, only having to experience similar issues between allies and paramours in college? Finally, we enter adulthood in hopes we have learned our lessons and can take those cautionary tales to become the better and the more sophisticated adult that we are? Wrong.
We start our careers and adult life with only the best intentions of being a whole lot wiser in our day-to-day interactions and in our relationships. A huge shift once you enter the prodigious life of motherhood. I remember the first year of my first borns life. It was filled with equal parts anxiety, bliss, pride and bewilderment. I was learning to navigate such an important element of who I am, who I have become, by myself (with the help of my husband, of course), and nurturing and raising this little human being to be the best they can be. I was living life a day at a time and thriving in the simple joys of living in the now and focusing on what was most important. In regards to my health, I was at my best. I felt good, both physically and emotionally, and this translated towards everyone around me – my daughter, my husband, my family and friends.
This was before the world of social media.
Facebook was just only starting to become a more popular platform for friends and family to connect (or reconnect) and for someone like me that was running an independent business, it was also a fantastic resource for building a referral base and networking.
At the time, sharing photos of my daughter, family outings, or exciting business announcements or other fun status updates were not looked upon as biggety or dissonant.
My Facebook “friends” were consistently and authentically interested in what I shared and made that known. They interacted and left notes on my timeline asking how I was and how the family was doing.
So much has changed since. I still much prefer the real face-time as opposed to the iPhone version, and texting just isn’t the same as calling up a friend. But, it’s all far too convenient now. Conversation and connection is now done with the taps of our fingers, sentiments presented through emojis.
Seriously, if you’re my friend and you have downloaded and sent me any of the kimoji’s, you bet I will judge you.
I don’t know about you but conversations via text most often get misconstrued. My husband or sister can attest to this when they’ve received a legion of middle finger emoji’s in a day from me or conversations in strictly capital letters and a whole lot of exclamation marks because I took what they typed the entirely wrong way. Ha!
Then there was the blogging.
I started spilling my heart and soul out on my own little comforting haven on the world wide web during the time I was going through infertility treatments and felt some comfort when others actually started leaving comments on my blog posts rooting me on, lending some encouraging words, and sharing their own personal experiences.
Everything was great in my digital world.
As the years progressed, my passion in writing and entertaining expanded my blog to include many different topics. Shortly following and in association with my blogging, my enthusiasm in social media, used in the outset as a way to engage with friends that have been following me on my blog, built new bridges and opened doors of opportunity starting my career in the field of digital marketing and community management.
But then the conversation stopped outside of my work. And I honestly felt like I was talking to myself. My twitter feeds were drowning in ads (I do this as well as part of my work, but my engagement doesn’t change!) and who are all these robots with a whole lot of numbers in their handles?
And who in the heck started the word “influencers”? Seriously. What and who is an influencer? Do you mean that influencer that gets hundreds of comments on a blog post that’s most often copied and pasted from a press release paired with an amazing photo or two plus tons of twitter RT’s to boot simply because they’re giving away something of extreme value and it’s mandatory requirement? Or that influencer that is part of a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” network translated to an automated RT for an RT? Or you may mean that Influencer that simply shows up at all the launch parties in their flashiest gear for an hour, give or take, takes a few posed shots for snapchat and Instagram, leaves with a massive grab bag but most likely will never actually purchase any of those products nor will their audience. Okay, I get it. It’s a marketing trend. And it’s proven that connecting with strong social media users is a great way to get your message across to tons of eyeballs in a short period of time, but I just hate the word. I think the word Influencer is very tricky. I still feel weird when I get emails or phone calls referring to me as one. It just sort of adds a whole new level of brash notoriety, in my opinion.
Brands and marketing professionals need to really tread carefully when selecting someone to represent them in any way, shape, or form. It can get pretty apocryphal when you see the same “influencers” at events. Mix it up! Do your research, expand your pipeline, and increase your social circles! There’s a world of talented bloggers/vloggers out there just itching for the opportunity to represent a brand/s that they truly admire (and actually purchase!). Ask for recommendations. If you are working with an honest and awesome v/blogger, they’ll surely send some your way.
So back to my blogging, as much as my path was flourishing in this part of my life, I was also slowly getting caught in a sticky web of a combative and monopolizing community.
Yes, the blogging world became a world of backbiting and gluttony.
Egotistical cliques were formed based on a whole lot of brown-nosing and fake praising to land them more opportunities; friends became enemies; real proficient writers became less eminent in a world of shiny giveaways and twitter parties… it was like watching a beautiful, tree-lined, friendly neighbourhood turn into a run-down shanty town.
Sad to say, I got myself involved in a few ridiculous situations simply because I still believed in a world of trust and solidarity; and where the written (or typed) word was still being read with true curiosity and attentiveness and actually composed with meticulous head work.
It didn’t exist at the time. It was hidden behind dollar signs, fake followers, hashtags and analytics.
It’s gotten a whole lot wiser since. It’s matured. I have seen some positive change, thank goodness.
There may still be that sprinkling of toxicity and narcissism, but that will never go away no matter where you go in life.
My key takeaway from my experience throughout the years is to give credence to the talent you possess, never lose sight of your ardor and dedication to your work, know your worth, and appreciate those that continue to support you and keep you on your toes.
Far too often we forget about these things when we get tangled in life’s obstacles or sometimes our own hunger for progress and gain, but just remember that the most successful people are the ones that build bridges and build each other up.
NOT for personal gain or notability; but because they know how it feels to start somewhere and value the importance of building a strong, supportive foundation for future generations.
I do value and see the benefit of social media, in fact, I think social media is a really fun and captivating way to connect with those around you, learn and grow and offer your own authentic voice, from both a personal and a business perspective. After all, we live in an age where smartphones are connected to us by the hip, right? Social media’s role in affecting buying power is an undeniable truth in today’s increasingly digitized world. We just need to stop relying heavily on it when it comes to the development and prosperity of our personal relationships, don’t you agree?
Now, who wants to go for coffee?
What’s your personal experience with social media and blogging? Do you have any great advice for those that are looking for support as they expand on their cybernated niches?