I finally get it. The whole idea of social media has plagued me since the beginning. Seriously?.... who cares about what is going on in my day to day life. I have engaged - of course- because everyone and their mother was engaged. But the truth is I didn’t really understand why.
I read “The Thank You Economy” by Guy Waynerchuk, but still it did not really sink in why social media is so powerful.
And then recently, it was brought to light that several very high profile photographers were actually plagiarizing and using material that was not theirs on blogs, Facebook and Twitter posts.
How many followers do you have? How many people do you follow? How many like my post, my tweet, my Instagram? Oh the pressure!!! The term “following” is completely incorrect... As kids we were taught to be leaders not followers so the idea of “following” was just plain weird to me. Why would anyone want to follow me? What makes me follow-able? I’m not that interesting. I’m like everyone else - living a busy life as a mother, wife, photographer, business person - I’m making sure the fridge is full and the stupid laundry is done and I occasionally make the bed. (I hate laundry and mail)
Finally, today it hit me.... It’s not following - it’s connecting on a different level. CONNECTION - that is what all humans crave and that’s why social media has become what it is today.
I like your image, I like your thought - I am connected to you. You like me I like you - we're one big happy family.... (I know you are singing the rest of the Barney song right now)
Why did the plagiarism bother me so much? Beyond being an issue of stealing from someone else - I now know that it wasn’t you who I was connecting with and reading about. It was bullshit and everyone who read it was betrayed. We were betrayed the same way we would be if a friend lied right in front us.
We believed your story - what you said - it moved us - but it wasn’t you. I had been advised that if I wanted to grow my social network I needed to blog everyday, to search the web for inspiration and ideas - but that bothered me. It meant that I would be fishing for something to say instead of just sharing my story with the world.
The basis of any relationship is trust and authenticity. Without those two bricks of a solid foundation even a virtual connectedness is compromised.
“This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night of day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Can any words be more true? We all have a story to share- to exchange- to connect to.
Your story is your own as mine is my own. I am enjoying meeting people that I connected with first on social media and then met in person. In most cases the first time we met I hugged that person because I felt like I knew them - not because I followed them.
I won’t search for material to talk about - I won’t betray the trust of those who have connected with me. I will share my stories and hope that you share yours too. I hope that we meet and can then talk instead of type. I will know your children from the pictures and stories you share and you will know mine. When we meet you will know that the words you read came from my heart and not the internet. When I put my head down on my pillow at the end of each day I know I have been true to myself and therefore true to those I have connected with.
So, I won’t have something to say every single day but when I do it will be my story- (I don’t blog everyday but when I do, I drink red wine) it will be - my words - my thoughts - my feelings and if you connect with me and if I in some small way make a positive difference in your life, I will know my purpose in life has been fulfilled.
Having an epiphany moment at 11:30pm is not ideal... but I had to write this or it would have been a sleepless night for me. Thanks for reading my ranting thoughts!
I sort of apologize for the swear words but not really because if you were standing in front of me that’s what I would have said.... so be it!
Virtual hugs will someday turn into live hugs....
Hug you soon-