When I first joined the online world, I noticed a few things right away. I noticed that a lot of people used Twitter handles that were their actual names – this was pretty different from the way people had acted on sites like MySpace and Livejournal, where names were more along the lines of “CuddlyPuppy207.” I noticed that a lot of people had their blog sites at URLs that were “their name.com.” When I first started blogging, my site was at ladybugnotes.blogspot.com. It was a bit of a sore thumb.
People started telling me that I should use my real name on Twitter. People said I would really benefit from having a MargieClayman.com site. It took me a long, long time to decide to move ahead with both of those decisions because, in the end, I am the head chef at Humble Pie Restaurants.
Humility and Social Media -> Oil and Water
Changing my Twitter handle and my blog URL was just the beginning of the challenges I would face in the online world, and these are challenges I still struggle with. I feel yucky every time I tweet out a blog post of mine. I used to just tweet my own posts out once, in fact, and that was all. I don’t like making asks. I don’t like making a big deal out of things I do.
It’s not a matter of confidence. I’m usually very proud of what I’m doing. I just figure if people want to see what I’m up to, they can look. I’d rather shine the light on other people and rejoice in their successes. To me, that’s the power of what social media can do for people, and it’s what I enjoy most.
The problem, of course, is that all of this means that I grow at a tortoise pace, not a hare. People perpetually pass me on statistics we keep track of. My PeerIndex is at a molecular level 11. I just reached 5,000 Twitter followers. I have a little over 150 Blog subscribers. These are numbers I’m perfectly content with, but I’ll be 100% honest – there are people whose numbers are a lot bigger. They get a lot more recognition. And it’s because their priority is on winning the game.
I don’t need to win
One of the interesting things about social media is that we can promote whatever image of ourselves that we want. We can even use pictures of other people for our Twitter avatars and Facebook profile pictures. Who would know? I’ve seen people promote themselves as do-gooders when really they’re just taking advantage of an opportunity. I’ve seen people present themselves as super tough when in fact they are soft-spoken, even shy, offline.
I’ve always felt that it was most important for me to present myself here pretty much as I am. It’s too easy to get bogged down in what you’re trying to present if you’re not being true to yourself. Part of being me is my humility. I could easily sell my soul and promote the heck out of myself. I could probably play the game and play it well.
But that wouldn’t really be winning based on how I define a win. I might win more followers and more subscribers, but I’d lose myself. That’s a pretty high price to pay.
Not a sob story
Of course, this is not to say “Woe is me.” It’s shocking to me that my reception in the online world, for all of this complexity, has been what it has been. That many people want to see what I’m saying? Are you kidding? For me, I’ve already won.
But I’m only human. It stinks when people who don’t write well get more acclaim just because they concentrate on themselves more. It stinks when someone gets lauded for something they are only pretending to do. Even so, I am happy with where I am. I am proud of where I am. Who wouldn’t be proud of the community I’ve gathered in such a short time?
So I will not try to win the social media game. Instead, I will strive to continue to win your support and friendship, and most importantly, I will win the Margie game. I’ll remain true to myself.
What more could a person really want, anyway?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/edsel_/4893846987 via Creative Commons