Edie Melson @EdieMelson
On the surface, social media appears to be all about amassing numbers, increasing reach, and generating sales. Everywhere we look we’re being told how to get more hits on our blogs, generate new followers, and strengthen our web presence. After all, the higher our numbers, the more valuable we are. Right?
In actual practice, that is a perversion of the truth.
I’m not doing this writing thing to win some numbers race. I write because I want to reach people, to help them, and have a positive impact on the world around me.
If all I’m looking for is higher numbers, I’ve missed the point. I’ve set a course that leads to certain frustration and ultimate failure. So if it’s not for the numbers, then what’s the point? Why even bother with social media?
The point is what the numbers represent.
The point of growing my social media influence lies with the individuals who can be impacted by what I write, challenged by what I say, and changed by what I share.
When I get caught up chasing the numbers, the significance of what I’m doing diminishes.
But when I step away from the race and concentrate on who I’m writing and who I’m writing to, things fall back into place.
I’m first and foremost a writer. For me, social media is a tool. It’s the means to an end. It helps me find my audience. But when I begin to measure my worth as a writer through the numbers of social media, I’ve gotten off course.
My worth is not determined by my numbers.
For me, the blog posts that mean the most are rarely the ones that generate the highest numbers. The ones that mean the most are those that help someone, that connect the dots for an individual who’s hurting or help someone who’s frustrated finally see the light. It’s when I pen those words that I feel true satisfaction in my calling.
So how do I avoid the numbers race when everyone is pushing for more?
I quit talking about myself on social media—completely. Instead, I work hard to help someone else succeed or reach a new level. This takes my focus off me.
I volunteer. I offer to write an article or blog post for someone who doesn’t have the same size audience as me..
I issue an invitation. I ask someone who doesn’t have as much experience and/or exposure to contribute to my blog.
I watch the clock. I limit my time on social media to a strict thirty minutes a day. With that, I don’t have time to obsess over my numbers.
I reveal something new about myself. I know this seems like the opposite of the first bullet, but it's really not. I'm talking about being vulnerable, not saying come look at me. I've discovered that I make those important heart-to-heart connections when I open up and I'm vulnerable. When I revert to slick slogans and polished posts, I'm really just hiding.
As twenty-first century wordsmiths, social media & blogging are important additions to our toolboxes, but it’s not the focus of what we do.
This media driven world we live in ebbs and flows. One second we’re on top, the next we’re at the bottom of the pile. When we measure our worth through charts and graphs generated by numbers we’re certain to fail. But when we look at the lives that are impacted by our words, success is guaranteed.
Edie Melson is the co-author of the bestseller Social Media for Today’s Writer. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and board member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.
Visit Edie at:
Edie Melson, Facebook