Have you ever heard of a woman named Olive Logan? I had never heard of her either, but I encountered her tale in Mark Twain’s autobiography (by the way, this autobiography is close to 500 pages long, so get used to the Mark Twain references!) and her story really stuck with me.
Mark Twain met Ms. Logan when he was on the speaking circuit around Boston. She fancied herself a speaker too, for a short while. It all started because Olive had begun telegraphing newspapers around the country about every little detail in her life. “Olive Logan purchased a dress today.” “Olive Logan is quite under the weather.” Soon, people got really used to seeing these updates everyday, and Ms. Logan became a celebrity. This drove Mark Twain absolutely crazy because, obviously, she had not *done* anything. So, when people would say, “Oh, did you hear about what Olive did?” Twain would ask them, “Yeah, so, why is she famous? What did she do?”
He reported that his friends would become “dumbstruck.” They had no idea why she mattered.
Could this fate be awaiting you?
Just interacting with people doesn’t mean anything
What really knocked me out about this story was how much Olive Logan’s daily updates sounded like stuff people would share on Facebook or Twitter. While those of us who use Twitter on a regular basis know that it’s *more* than “I’m eating crab cakes for dinner,” we also talk a lot about being “human.” We talk about the need to interact with people and converse, right?
Olive Logan shared her life day-by-day with people because she thought she was really important or really interesting. But she did not do anything with the celebrity she gained from this celebrity status. She tried a speaking career, which she failed at miserably, and then she disappeared into the history books. Or not even.
If we are sharing things online but we have no reason for it, if there is no master plan, no deeper significance than wanting to share our lives, we will be headed for the same discouraging fate.
Why are you here?
I engage with people because I am networking as a person in the marketing business. I engage with people online because I enjoy helping people in this space to the best of my ability. More recently, I am engaging with people to spread the word about my new project, The Blog Library. I do this not to sell it, but rather to let people know that this is a resource that will be available to all. These are my reasons for being here. I have objectives tied to each of those reasons. While none of these will likely get me into the history books. they give me reasons to interact with people in the online world. It is not just me killing time or sharing my life because I think I’m the most interesting person ever.
Why are you here? Why are you going to the trouble of tweeting with people, chatting, going to conferences, and doing everything else you do? Do you have reasons behind it or are you just kind of tossing information out about yourself in the hopes that some of it will stick?
What are you hoping to accomplish with all of this online “stuff”?
Let’s talk about it!
This is post #72 in the Engagement Series. If you’re worried about missing a post, feel free to hit the subscribe button!
Image by Jesse Miksic. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/symbot