In Wayne Dyer’s new book “Excuses Begone!“, he talks about how fear is one of the biggest excuses for people living an unhappy existence and not going after what they want. He suggests using the emotional opposite of fear (love) to combat the excuse. He says that anything that is loved cannot be feared, and “if we can find our way to stay in a space of love, fear is an impossibility.” I found this especially interesting after my own experiences with social networking.
Learning How to Participate
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around certain social networks, specifically Twitter and Facebook. I recently visited Twitter in hopes of understanding it a little better. As I scrolled through the conversations, I started feeling overwhelmed and wondered, “How am I going to figure this out? I don’t get these conversations or even want to follow most of them, so how will I ever participate?”
Then I thought, “Let me find some people I know.” I found several people and scrolled through their recent tweets. Immediately, I felt better, and, in some cases, I was actually following the conversations. It occurred to me that the important thing was to find and follow people I knew and supported or who knew and supported me, which immediately took away the intimidation (or fear) factor. All of a sudden, instead of feeling overwhelmed and confused, I could see that we were simply people supporting each other’s endeavors and sharing in friendly conversation.
Learning Who to Follow
The second thing I had to figure out was who to follow, which can also be overwhelming. I decided not to feel obligated to follow anyone simply because the person was popular on the network or because the person followed me. Instead, I would only follow people I was truly interested in following. That way, I would be more likely to engage in the conversation. If someone followed me, great. If I discovered that we had common interests or that I was interested in his or her work, I might follow the person in time, but I didn’t have to decide that right away.
Learning How to Find Followers
The final consideration was how to get people to follow me, and that was the easiest part. I simply had to be myself. I decided to only post information and resources that are relevant to my target audience, and then I’d let the audience find me. I’ve discovered that the more I do this, the more my followers increase. Sure, I lose some followers here and there, but that only means that they were never part of my target audience anyway, which is actually good news.
In the end, all we can be is ourselves, and most of the time, we already have our own set of true fans. Find them, follow them, and communicate with them regularly. Everything else will take care of itself.
How have you figured out ways to participate on social networks without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated? Share your strategies for building your online audience and engaging in conversations.
Image from Flickr by chanchan222