Until January of 2018, I wasn’t a fan of social media.
As an introverted writer, I couldn’t think of anything worse than talking to a bunch of strangers about what I’d had for lunch that day.
I’d joined LinkedIn a few years before and found that was about as far into the strange world of social networking as I was willing to delve.
The silly thing was that I’d had some success with LinkedIn and landed some lucrative jobs from some well-respected sources. But being the Luddite that I am, I failed to make the connection.
Social media networking works
It all finally clicked for me just after Christmas 2017.
A bereavement in the family made me question and rethink what I was doing, and why I was doing it. Well, I say something clicked, it was more like an anvil being dropped on my head like in the old Warner Brothers cartoons. (Damn it, I may be showing my age there.)
If joining just one social networking site led to me landing more clients, what the hell was I doing by not joining any others?
What was I so afraid of?
I had this idea that joining Twitter would somehow lead to certain doom. Although, it’s hard to define now exactly what kind of doom I believed awaited me. I think it made me feel vulnerable, the idea of putting myself out there for everyone to see.
But then it occurred to me that if I wasn’t prepared to do that, then I had no business being a freelance copywriter. Because everything I was afraid of is exactly what you have to do to be a writer of any kind. Well, a successful one anyway.
To be a successful freelance copywriter, you have to expose yourself, leave yourself vulnerable to criticism and rejection, and hustle your business on a daily basis.
I think what I was really afraid of was trying to be a writer and failing at it. You can’t fail at what you never try, right?
So for a while, I just bumbled along and ignored the voice in my head that was telling me that my business could be so much more than it was.
Sure, I had great feedback, a string of regular clients and was ticking over financially, but I had this clawing sense that I could have more. And for the first time in my life, not only was I ready for more, I wanted it.
So here I am, almost four years and over 2000 Twitter followers later and what’s the most important thing that I’ve learnt?
Social media is what you make of it.
But then the world went crazy and so did I
In the early days, I quickly became a fully-certified Twitter covert (or nutcase, depending on your point of view). It was all about GIF fights and creative writing games back then.
But then the pandemic hit and my relationship with Twitter changed for the worse. In the absence of actual real human company, I started relying on the app more and more for social stimulation.
And then came that fateful day when I stumbled into political Twitter and I very quickly went from being an easygoing live and let live kind of person to a right miserable knobhead.
I found that instead of avoiding politics like I used to (it was always my number one rule), I started actively seeking it out and became hooked on it because it gave me an outlet for all the pandemic-induced anger, sadness, fear and confusion that was dominating my brain.
It turns out that collective outrage is one hell of a drug.
Putting myself and my sanity first
So, I decided to stop being a knobhead and uninstalled the Twitter app from my phone, and boy oh boy did it make a difference. That angry keyboard warrior soon slunk back to the deep dark recesses of my psyche, and I was able to gain some perspective and started to feel more like my old self again.
So, what’s the takeaway?
Social media is great for business, not so good for political tomfoolery and expressing pandemic-induced rage.
So my advice, for what it’s worth, is stick to using Twitter for business, creativity, foolishness and frivolity. Anything else is just a waste of time.
And knowing how little we have of it, don’t you think that time could be better spent elsewhere?
If you enjoyed reading this blog and fancy connecting in cyberspace, you can follow me on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn. Or, if you’re yet to be convinced by the wonders of social media but would like to find out more about my services, you can do so by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, send me a message via the Contact Page.