There is a wonderful, wonderful candy store near where I live. They are really famous for two goodies – chocolate covered oreos and chocolate covered strawberries, but everything they make is to die for.
I go into this store maybe 3 times a year (if I went more, I’d be exploding from too much weight). I always lust after the boxes – especially the boxes of their chocolate covered, nutty, marshmallowy loaves. It’s gluttonous and the boxes are kind of expensive, so usually – usually – I end up settling for these little sample-sizes they have. Two pieces per package, or maybe a bag of mini-oreos. But once, I went in and decided that I was really going to treat myself. I passed right by the usual sample varieties and got myself a box.
This story does not have a happy ending, though. When I got home, I saw that when they said “loaf,” they meant loaf. It was a 12″ long, 4 inch wide candy bar, essentially. And after picking off a piece or two, I realized it was way too much. I didn’t want it. I had been much happier with the variety that the smaller bite-sized chunks had given me.
I worry that you might be headed that way with your plans for the online world.
What is the giant candy loaf of Social Media?
In the world of social media, it seems like a lot of people are aiming to be the next big thing. It seems very achievable because as we’ve talked about before, on the surface, being a Social Media wunderkind seems kind of easy. You just tweet a lot and blog consistently, right? And what do you get? Tons of followers. Tons of fans. Tons of blog comments. Tons of connections. It seems like a world of sweetness and wonder only matched by a giant chocolate nutty marshmallowy loaf.
But there’s a catch. Being the next big thing means doing a lot more than what meets the eye. It’s hard to take little bite-sized chunks out of something that big. You can’t make as many deep connections, maybe, or maybe your handful of emails that you could respond to right away have multiplied into an army of emails that are driving you nuts and making you feel bad.
Pretty quickly, your great big dream can turn into something that is just making you feel kind of sick. You can get burnt out. You can get tired of the whole darned thing. And then what?
Make sure you can live with what you’re dreaming of
One thing you can say about something like a mini-oreo or a single piece of candy – you can eat it. You know you can. In fact, you can even luxuriate in the experience. You want to make it last. And yet, when you’re done, you feel content. You’re satisfied. You’re not really needing 75 more pieces of the same thing.
In the world of Social Media, there are things you can do that are just like that. You can build your community carefully and luxuriate in the experience of getting to know lots and lots of special people. You can refine your writing so that you are creating blog posts you’re really proud of. You can work on answering questions in LinkedIn so that you can really make an impact there. Each of these things can be really rewarding. They can also keep you plenty busy.
Do you really need to be the next big thing?
What do you think?
Image by Zsuzsanna Kilian. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/nkzs