I spend quite a bit of my time in front of my laptop. I have to remind myself to disconnect beyond time spent seeing clients and being in meetings. It’s all about balance and just having time to completely disconnect, unplug and switch off. I do love it though, as it allows me to connect with many beautiful and wonderful people that I never would have had the chance to know or meet in face to face circumstances.
When you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, write a blog, or send out an e-newsletter you are connected to people in a very unique way. Some people you may know in real life and see in person regularly. Others you may never have met or even know their full name. For these vastly differing reasons you may feel very connected and even love someone you engage with online, or in fact know nothing about them except to be grateful they like what you do. While it is wonderful to have such connections and they can be used for the most amazing support, inspiration, and help, I also am aware of the undue distress they can cause when expectations regarding the role social media and our online world plays in our lives are not kept in check.
Like everything we do in life there has to be balance and perspective as to the real meaning of things and how they may either add or subtract to the life we want to live. This is particularly the case if we are starting to feel our self esteem or worth is connected to things such as the number of Facebook friends or likers we have, the number of comments on our blog, or newsletter subscribers we have.
I have been inspired to write this post today because of the number of conversations I have been having with both people I know personally and both counselling and coaching clients as well. Many of them have spoken about their hopes and dreams for a blog they write, or how they are trying to build a business through a Facebook page or Twitter account – both of which are wonderful ways to engage with readers and potential customers. They have also spoken with some angst as at how they want more followers, or are worried when someone unfriends them or does things such as unsubscribe from a newsletter. Considering the very large role that social media and the online world plays in our lives now I wanted to share some tips with you that will hopefully give you some perspective and balanced thoughts about this topic and help keep your self esteem intact!
- The number of friends you have on Facebook is not an indicator in any way of what sort of friend you are. More friends does equate to you being a better friend – k? Nor does it mean that anyone else who has more friends than you do is a better friend or, heavens forbid, a better person than you. This also goes the same for the number of followers you have for a personal Twitter account. When it all boils down to it, if you can count on one hand a few people you can call upon in the middle of the night, who you know love and support you and can make you laugh when you want to cry; your life is rich in the friends department. Truly.
- If you run a Facebook page for your blog or business and have a Twitter account for this purpose as well, I know it’s wonderful for these things to reach as many people as possible. Ultimately though if you are selling a gorgeous ebook, service, or your own fabulous brand of spaghetti sauce, it is not the number of likers and followers you have that really matters – it’s actually the number of meaningful connections you create with people that then translate into business for you. This can happen with as little as ten, fifty or hundred people.
- Something you may not be aware of is that there are many people who PAY for people to get others to like their page or follow them and even leave comments on their blog. In many instances this could be seen to be scarily close to being spam worthy. These are not meaningful online connections and are not people who have come to you because they genuinely believe in what you have to say. Just a thought to keep in mind if you feel the need to compare your number of likers, comments or followers to someone else. You just never know how that page might have gotten all those likes or if they are engaging with people in a way that is bringing meaning to their lives.
- I truly believe when it comes to blog comments and the popularity of certain posts it’s a somewhat random world. Posts I have put an enormous amount of time into and thought would have been well commented on have, put frankly, not been. Others that may have come to me very spontaneously and took little time to whip up, have been incredibly popular. I think this is testament to the fact that the most wonderful thing you can do for your blog and readers is concentrate on writing great content from your heart. It doesn’t matter if it elicits few likes or comments, or even none at all. None of these things are a sign of the quality of what you have written.
- If you are ever read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz you will know about the danger of making assumptions in life. I think this is particularly important when wondering things such as why someone may have unfriended you, stopped liking your page or even unsubscribed from your newsletter. This could be due to something you do know if you know them well, but if you don’t know them, please don’t become anxious, upset or waste precious time wondering why this may have happened or that there is something wrong with you or what you are doing for this to have occured. They might have changed email accounts. Done it accidently. Be overwhelmed with their news feed. Simply need to disconnect for awhile. Let them go and give your time and energy to those people who are connected to you.
- Just because someone doesn’t leave a comment on a blog post or you write a post that receives few or no comments does not mean it has not potentially had an incredible impact on a number of people. We can never truly know how what we write or say online touches someone’s life. Even though a reader may never leave a comment, tick a like box or retweet what we say on Twitter, our words or even a link we send out may have immeasurably touched them. They may have related very personally to something you said or gained inspiration from tips you have given them. While happy to read your work they might by shy in contributing their own words, thoughts or feelings in a comment, or simply not want to be identified for any number of reasons.
- Don’t equate your value or the value of your blog, community or business in any way to anything that can have a number value such as hits, comments, likes etc. I know as a fellow blogger it’s gorgeous to have these things but I’m not attached to them and I encourage you to be the same. If checking your analytics a lot, why not pull back a little and think about doing it once a month or even once a week. Checking it a number of times a day as I know some people do will likely do your head in and your worth more than that! Much more.
Social media and the online world plays a large role in my life and if you are still reading this post I’m guessing it plays a role in yours too. I have seen so many amazing connections happen through portals such as Twitter and supportive blog comments, to the point where I have actually recommend clients ‘get on board’ and connect with like minded people to reduce isolation they may have been feeling and reach out to others who can understand what they are going through. It’s amazing and inspiring to see someone reach out for help and receive it in this way and for that reason alone I will always be a fan.
Understanding though that the number of people we connect with online or who follow and support what we do, is in no way an indicator of the sort of person we are and what we bring to the world, is so important. So keep blogging, keep tweeting and keep connecting with people if you have a Facebook page or newsletter. Even if you are just connecting with one person, just one, who loves what you do then you are making a difference not only to that person but indeed to the wider world. Now that’s something to feel great about.