Not too long ago, I wrote a post for someone’s site as a guest post. After a bit of a slow start, the post really started taking off, and it was really exciting. Then something interesting happened. A big name, someone who I don’t interact with a whole lot, retweeted the post, but they tweeted it out as being written by the person on whose site I was a guest. They didn’t say it was by me. It kind of made me pause, because, I’ll be 100% honest with you, it kind of bummed me out for a minute. I had done something good enough to get this person’s attention, but I wasn’t *technically* given credit for it.
I’ve been thinking about that pinpoint of a moment a lot over the last couple of months. I’ve been trying to figure out what gave me pause at that moment, whether I really should have considered that a let-down. I have come to realize that no, I should not have been disappointed at all. There are just different ways to have success online. The movie Galaxy Quest can help me illustrate this better.
Tim Allen and Alan Rickman as Social Media Stars
So, if you haven’t seen Galaxy Quest, the movie is about a washed up cast from a show called Galaxy Quest. They get drawn into a real life alien war, all of which is based around the fact that their show had been picked up by the aliens and had been identified as “historical documents.”
Tim Allen had starred as the captain on the show, and as an actor, he is still holding on to the relics of his stardom. He combs his hair the same way, really gets into conventions, and always says his tag line, “Never give up, never surrender!”
Now Alan Rickman’s character is quite different. He plays an actor who had always been reluctant to get involved in the sci-fi scene. On the Galaxy Quest show, he played an alien who had another famous catch phrase, but Rickman’s character views the whole convention and autograph signing thing as an offense to his Shakespearean background. Despite that, he clearly harbors a great deal of jealousy against Tim Allen’s character. By the way, here’s a clip that illustrates a lot of this.
You’ve probably met people like both of these characters in the online world.
The problem with being like Alan Rickman’s character
Throughout the movie, Alan Rickman’s character remains fixated on the fact that he never gets all of the credit, he never gets to be the hero, and in contrast, the captain always gets those things. If he had looked carefully, Sir Alexander Dane/Dr. Lazarus would have noticed that actually, he was a hero to a lot of people, just not in the same way that Tim Allen’s character was.
I think a lot of people fall into this same trap when it comes to Social Media. I mean, let’s be honest here. Have any of the following thoughts ever run through your head?
• Why does that person get so many blog comments? I write so much better than they do!
• Why does that person have 3 times as many Twitter followers as me? I mean, really?!?
• Why is that person always invited to speak at conventions? Blegh. They seem so full of themselves!
OK, well, you don’t have to admit to any of these sentiments here, but let’s say, um, one of your friends has had any of those thoughts. This line of thinking can get in the way of you engaging because you are so jealous of anyone who has more success than you. Maybe we could tell “your friend” that there are all kinds of different ways success can appear in this here online world. You just have to be willing to look for them.
I don’t want to be the next so and so. I want to be the first me.
I worry that a lot of people coming into the Social Media world right now are saying things like, “I want to be the next [enter big name here.]” In order to engage successfully, and in order to be happy with where you are and where you’ll end up, you need to define what your own star is going to look like. You need to define what kinds of successes will help build that star power for you. Here are some ideas.
• You don’t get a ton of comments, but the ones you get are unfailingly positive and supportive
• You don’t have the most followers, but the ones you do have would fall on a sword for you
Are these not all great things? They are all achievable too if you pass up the jealousy train and concentrate on engaging with people in meaningful, positive ways.
Back to my moment of bumdom
In reflecting back upon my “Hmm” moment, I have come to understand that in fact there was no reason at all to be disappointed. I’m not like Tim Allen’s character, all caught up in the glitz and glamor. I don’t want to be like Alan Rickman’s character, all bitter because “so and so has more…” Whether or not that big name knew the post was by me, I knew it was by me. I knew it was good enough to warrant their attention. And you know what, that’s good enough for me.
What’s good enough for you? How are you defining your stardom? Because you are a star, after all. You just need to let yourself shine.
This is post number 10 in The Engagement Series. I hope you find it useful!
1st Image by Alex Bruda. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/alexbruda
2nd image by Zsuzsanna Kilian. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/nkzs