Do I Have Time To Be Liked?

 
A Fierce Practice 5 10 17
 

Can we talk about social media and followers and blog analytics and platforms and likes and views?

This morning I was scrolling through Instagram. It's the only form of social media I attend to, as one of my life-time (as in, the short amount of time I have in this life) strategies is to reduce social media. Because - why? And also, why not? (TinyLetter automatically posts to Twitter, and Instagram automatically posts to Facebook. Sometimes I attend to Facebook for Make Time or work...but I try to minimize my interactions in that sphere. But still, ask myself is that even worth it?)

But social media ALSO sort of is a way to share ideas and inspiration. And connect. But on the darker side...it's also the platform that one is supposed to have should one want to become a fancy published writer. And it can be filled with the worst of middle school jealousy and un-grounded-ness. She has so many followers. Do I need more followers? Do I want more followers? Should I try to get more followers? What exactly does that mean? Maybe I should follow more people? Do more of the hashtags?

On its best days, it the sort of social interaction that this introvert loves. I stay visually abreast of the lives of wonderful friends that live fairly near and very far. I meet fantastic, inspiring human artist people who become real life dear friends as if by some force of magic. I watch my friends' children grow up day to day. I get to see a lot of cats. On an off day, social media can becomes an endless worm-hole-of-doom. Not only a mindless scroll scroll scroll scroll scroll, but a window into my deepest wants and fears and yearnings and a test of how far I am willing to roam from my heart compass in order to...what? To be found, followed, liked, praised, adored, wildly adored? Famous? (Let's be frank. These are mixed emotions. Emotions I will feel better if I publicly admit to, but am also really ashamed of.)

I only follow a small number of people, in order to best curate the info arriving in my feed. The number of pictures that will engage me, distract me. To see only the photos of the people I know and love, and the people I electronically-online-only-know and also still really love. And a few folks with really fun or silly or inspiring (to me) content. But not a lot, and no one just because the 'follow' reflex is strong on a certain day. I know what my focus and my goal is right now. And I don't want to be distracted by a heart yearning to be/make/see/do all the neat things people I don't know are doing on Instagram. But I also understand how social media works. The more people you follow and like and comment on...the more that boomerangs...

BUT IS THIS HOW I WANT TO SPEND MY TIME?

I promise, I don't mean that in a judgmental way. I ask mostly because, as creatives and writers and humans and people with big lives and big hearts and big aspirations and big communities - I suspect that you have asked yourself this same question in the past (and that you have a super-swell answer), or that you are wading through the murky depths of the same thing. 

So...how do you mentally handle followers and likes and analytics? How wide do you cast your net? What is the method behind your madness for social media (connecting? getting likes? comments? getting your work out there? conversation? growing your circle? your first, second or tenth millionth step toward world domination?) Do you check your opens and clicks and subscribers? How often? Does it ever take over your brain? Do you totally not care? Do you check your Google Analytics? What does it mean to you? 

I will tell you what it means to me: more than I want to admit, more time that I care to count...and I'm not really sure why I continue to do it...other than that I feel like I can't stop, and because I feel hopeful that I'm working toward something that will happen in the future...I just don't know exactly what it is...or how all this social media will help.

What does all of it mean to you? Where do you get stuck? Where do you find value (in any of the ways it can be defined)? What's your approach? Do you ever agonize about any of this? Does it ever make you feel less genuine? More genuine? Empowered? Lost?

I'd love to know - all of it. (As usual drop a comment below.)