Social Media Etiquette:

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Sorry that this is a long one but I don’t want to repeat myself for each platform, as all of this applies to all of them. But here are some basic Social Media Etiquette “Rules”:

I am not one for “rules of society” other than respect respect and respect. I think that if each and every one of us is thoughtful, aware and respectful, then most things in social life will go smoothly. But that is not the reality that we live in and there are a bunch of extra rules which need to be taken into consideration when launching into social media. Of course the basics of respect apply, but here are also a bunch of other somewhat random basic rules that also apply and why.

1: Try and be discreet when “Tagging” people. We tag people to either get their attention or the attention of their friends and followers. Which is great if you already have an appropriate relationship with them, or at a pinch you have something that you are 100% sure they will actually appreciate. However, tagging them in our post to promote ourselves is not a cool thing to do and is a bit like taking advantage of someone or worse, invading their personal space. It is considered rude to simply tag someone as advertising and I have been bowled away by how many people do it even though it is written all over the place that one shouldn’t. The other day someone who I have never met tagged me in their post saying “look at my blog, you will love it”. That is not cool. It is taking advantage of my following to promote themselves. If you tag me because you are reading these blogs and setting up accounts because of it, then go for it, but go for it because I am specifically inviting you to as you learn, and I encourage it too as I have offered to help. But if you then keep tagging me every day from then on in order to promote your puppy pictures then that is a whole new board game. It is an easy rookie mistake but not worth making. Be thoughtful (and respectful) about who you tag and how often.

2: Direct Messaging or sending people or pages private messages. Again this is a great tool but people either intentionally or unintentionally use this in ways that are considered totally not cool by the general social media population. When I got my first DM after following someone I was super excited. To then learn that they send the same message to every follower, automatically at that, left me feeling a little negative (anything stronger than that is pushing it but it wasn’t a cool feeling for sure). It didn’t hugely bother me until I kept reading over and over how much the big guys detest it and how upset some people do get by it. That first DM for me at least appeared to be genuine the way that it was phrased, but since then I have received hundreds of them that are not even vaguely attempting to sound genuine. They ask for things, tell me how much I will be blown away by their product, blog or company, and often send long lists of everything that they are connected to. I just ignore them as I have decided to give them the benefit of the doubt that they don’t “know any better”, but I have read many articles where people will block anyone who sends them a DM. I think that that is a bit strong but I don’t want to be that person sending DMs all over the show either.

3: How often to post. This one is a really tough one but as a general rule of thumb:

  • If you don’t post very often then there isn’t a lot of point in trying to get a following outside of the community of people like family and friends that you already have.
  • If you post too often then even the most forgiving don’t like their entire feed to contain nothing but you, so you will lose followers.

So you need to find some balance and middle ground. Most people try and have some kind of post 2-3 times each day. Many post more than that which can be great if you actually have that much to say that people love.

4: Repeated posts on Twitter and Facebook are a good idea because they are such a “point in time” platform that anything you say has all but disappeared by tomorrow or the next day. But if you have nothing but the same repeat going on then your followers who do see you will get sick of the same thing over and over. Imagine that you post 3 times a day but it is all the same things, your profile will simply be a long long list of the exact same thing. Even rotating 2 or 3 different things is not much better. So have some variety. Share your blog posts as you write them but in between share other things too. This is where Instagram comes in handy for me, it allows me to quickly and easily add colour, pics and memes to my Facebook Page automatically and in doing so I am covering two social media platforms in one, plus adding diversity to my posts.

5: What to post. Don’t just talk about yourself or your product. One of my personal favourite things about all the social media sites is the community and connectedness that I have found there. It is clearly obvious very quickly that the more you build up others the more they will build you up. If you post nothing but your own things and don’t contribute to discussions, share other’s posts, or encourage others, then why should they do all that for you? Stats vary but from all the articles that I have read, if you share, “like”, comment etc on other people’s pages at least two or three times for every time you promote yourself you can’t go wrong. More is even better. Some days I am tired and don’t feel that I have much to say, so I simply scroll through my feed and like share and comment on other people’s things. It brings diversity to my own profile, and people see that I promote and encourage other. I need followers and I often get more followers on those days. So don’t feel that you have to come up with all your own stuff.

6: Be genuine. Think about what you share, either of your own or of others. As you click away, share away and comment away, your personality will shine through. If you think you have that angry streak well hidden, it is likely to show in the general flow of what you do. And that is OK. If it is real then show it, and you will connect with like minded people. If you try to be false, too sweet, or too anything that you are not, it will show. For the most part people want to follow genuine people and aren’t interested in fake. Having said that, some of the biggest social media people are completely fake and yet they are followed anyway. Unless you have that gift of being “on” 24/7 and can push some crazy fake agenda, then don’t even try.

Glossary of Twitter Terms:

Here we go on the Twitter terms…

There are so many kinds of words in Twitter, but let me first break them down into three kinds of words. The first group are words that REFER to things. For example we refer to the platform as Twitter and what people “do” on Twitter is they Tweet. They are simply words that you need to know. The second group of words are actually SHORTENINGS for something, for example DM is short for Direct Messaging (sending someone else on Twitter a private message). The third group of words actually DO something. When you use these words within a Tweet, they create links to other things. Sound confusing? Sorry, bear with me here:

1. Words that simply REFER to things:

  • Tweet: Is Twitter’s name for “posting a comment”, or “making a post”. A Tweet has a maximum of 140 characters and that includes each letter, space, number, everything that you put on there.
  • Twitter Handle: When you sign up for Twitter, you have 2 names. The idea behind this is that there are a gazillion John Smiths in the world but to make each one unique, they each need to have a name that is different to every other person on Twitter. But they have had to become so diverse that no one knows that many of them are their John Smith. So the first name that they have can still be John Smith. There are no doubt thousands of John Smiths on Twitter. But the second name, which has an @ at the beginning, needs to be unique. I tried to fit Jennifer Peacock-Smith as my name but it is too long, so I went with JPeaSmith. Then when it was time to make my handle there was no @JPeaSmith taken already so my name and my handle are both the same (although my handle has an @ at the beginning). If another Jennifer Peacock-Smith joins Twitter she can also have her name on there or call herself whatever she likes, but she can’t have the handle @JPeaSmith. So while you can have multiple people with the same name, your Twitter Handle is your identity
  • This is a super plain jane tweet: The top row is standard for each person, and is not counted in the 140 characters. At the top left is my profile picture, next to it is my name, (which includes a writing icon) and then next to that is my Twitter Handle, followed lastly by the date that I Tweeted it. This is followed by exactly 140 characters of in a Tweet.screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-7-04-39-pm At the bottom of the Tweet there are 4 grey icons. From left to right they are:
  • Reply (the arrow to the left). If I was not JPeaSmith and I saw this tweet and I wanted to respond to it, I would press that arrow and it would open up a Tweet box and I would then write a normal tweet that will answer JPeaSmith’s question about whether or not she is a bad person for going round the bend listening to the neighbour’s waling song.
  • Retweet (the double arrows). If I simply like what someone says, in other words I want to repeat or endorse what they are saying, I would click this second icon. When I click on it I am given 2 options. The fast option is to click a retweet and that is all it does (retweet it as is, giving the original person credit), or to add my own 140 characters to it. Here I have retweeted Pamela Sutherland’s tweet. She still gets full credit but I appear above her. You can see that I was one of 8 people who retweeted this tweet.screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-7-14-19-pm
  • Like (the heart shaped grey icon) is a simple “like” click of affirmation. You can see that 14 people liked her tweet.
  • More (the three dots). If you click on this a drop down appears giving you all kinds of options to do with the person who tweeted: Block them if you find their tweet offensive, mute them so that you still “follow” them but don’t see their tweets appear in your feed etc.

2. Words  that are SHORTENINGS for something:

  • DM: As I said before, this is short for Direct Message and is simply how you write to someone privately.
  • RT is short for Retweet.

3. Words that actually DO something

  • Tag (&Tagging or “copying”). The @ sign is used to copy, tag, alert or mention (all meaning the same thing really) someone’s Twitter account, linking it to their profile by their  as well as yours. By using the @ and someone’s username you create a link to their account. Here I have Tweeted my blog post where I mentioned Rachel Thompson and Alexander Fuller who are both brilliant authors and who’s books inspired my blog. I wanted them to know that I appreciated their books and loved reading them, so I used their usernames. Both of them liked my tweet and retweeted it as did two others.Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 7.22.05 PM.png
  • Hashtag (#) is a different kind of tagging but instead of tagging a twitter account, we use this to tag a key word or phrase. By using the # symbol, you create a link in your tweet to all the places that that word (or grouped word) appears. So if I want to see who else is #amwriting or writing a #memoir all I have to do is click on or look up that hashtag and see what others are using the same tag. They could potentially really interest me.screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-7-29-01-pm

For a truly comprehensive list of Twitter Lingo you can check out this post on Mashable, but quite honestly, there is soooo much on there and most of it you won’t need to know for a long while, so by all means check them out but if you don’t want to become overwhelmed then I suggest sticking with these few for now🙂

Till next time…

Why Have Social Media?

img_7836(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

All of us have different reasons to having any kind of social media and for me it is to promote my writing (blogging and upcoming books on my personal growth/abuse story) and my art that I do for therapy and enjoyment.

A lot of people have asked me since last week why they should bother with Social Media. The simple answers are that they are the way that people are communicating out there these days. If you don’t want to live under a rock forever, then at some level these can truly add to your life if you do them well and simply. Secondly, they create what is known as your “online presence” and if you write, blog, create, build, have your own business of any kind, then any forum that you are publicly a part of, can be your greatest advertising tool; for free. Now that I am on Twitter and Instagram I rarely pass a shop, a cafe, a plumber or a restaurant without seeing their social media connections posted in a corner somewhere. Like it or not, it is the way of the future.

It can also be a lot of fun. I was in a cafe a month or so ago when the heaven’s opened up and not only was there a huge and sudden downpour, but a massive gust of wind. The whole thing lasted less than ten minutes but people raced in from outside and even inside water was pouring in through air vents and we were all desperately trying to get out of the way of water blowing in. It was quite fun even though it was a hassle and when I posted a pic on Instagram the next day it was fun seeing the pics that others had taken too, all tagging this little cafe. It was a good moment for them and the whole atmosphere of the stories and photos made a good show of community and I am sure was a free bit of advertising for that establishment.

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-2-29-21-pmOne of the biggest questions that I get asked about WordPress is how to get our blogs out there to be read and heard and talked about. Simply put, social media is the way to go. If you open your WordPress account and hover over the top left corner, a black box will pop down like this.

Right down near the bottom is the word “Sharing”. If you click on that you will open your sharing options. These sharing options are a “once off” effort that you don’t have to think about again. At the bottom of my post here you can see buttons that people can share this on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. This allows others to share your post even if you don’t have any social media. Here you can very quickly and easily add buttons to your blogs

 

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-2-33-41-pmOn the other hand, if you want to automatically share your blog post with others, then when you are writing your post, you simply click on the downward arrow to the right of “Sharing”. This is a a different kind sharing. This is your connection to automatically share your post on which ever social media YOU want to share it with.

So for example, when I press “Publish” when I have finished writing this post, I have connected to both my Facebook Page and my Twitter accounts (both). So I don’t even have to open either platform and nor do I have to click anything. This box has a button to connect (or disconnect) any social media you have which from then whenever I blog, I Tweet and Facebook at the same time! There is even a box to include a few words of your choice, and if you don’t customise the message that is fine too because it will just use your blog heading🙂

Sometimes you might write a post that you don’t want to share on Twitter, you just click on the box and as it shows up everything that it is going to do, all you have to do is un”tick” the box you don’t want it to go to, and next time it will revert to sending to all your social media platforms.

Learning Twitter:

img_4365(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

So today we are going to go through the basics of getting a Twitter account. For me this was the most daunting of all social media and I wish that I knew beforehand that it shouldn’t be. For me I had thought that Facebook was where it was all at and that Twitter was for all the cool beautiful people who have frightened me my whole life. I thought that I would find myself back in school not being good enough or trendy enough or getting squashed and lost under the tide of popularity. I had even decided long ago that Twitter would be a space that I would never go to. So not only am I new to all this, but 2 months ago I was petrified of Twitter and swore that I would never go there… haha..

Now I am exactly 4 months in, have a decent following for such a newbie and I actually enjoy it more than any of the other platforms. But it is completely different to anything else and I had to learn from scratch. I did a ton of research and I played for hours and hours on end before I really did anything.

Like with the other platforms of social media, I decided to be the tortoise not the hare and now I feel like I am very much winning even though I still have so much to learn. So today like yesterday with Facebook, all we are going to do is set you up, but with one major difference. With your FbPage you can sit there quietly and do what you like while you build your page with no down side to staying below the radar. With Twitter on the hand, as soon as you open an account, very soon you will have people following you… so it is very tempting to start getting super involved. It is extremely tempting to think that flying under the radar will be costly. Well that isn’t the case at all. Just like with Facebook, there is nothing but up side to flying low for the first few weeks. Most people start hard and then peter off… we are going to be the tortoise here remember🙂

Remember I explained that our private FbAccounts are a two way valve; you see all your friends and they see you, but that a FbPage is a one way valve only; People can like you but you can’t see them?

Well Twitter is different again, like FbPage it is not a two way valve, but it is not reciprocal like FbAccount either. It is TWO one way valves. In other words, to use the example from yesterday, if Fred wants a personal Twitter account then he would open one and anyone who finds him can follow him. If he wants a PopStar account then he has to open a second account under the name PopStar. They are not linked and they have nothing to do with each other. Everyone can see both, and PopStar can follow people (FbPage can’t), and people can follow PopStar.

If you follow Fred or PopStar (or both), they are under no obligation to follow you back. However, if you follow them, it can be temping to be hurt when they don’t follow you back. And when someone follows you, it can be just as tempting to feel obligated to follow them, so that you don’t leave them feeling hurt. After “taking it slow”, the second strongest advice that I can give is to not feel obligated to follow everyone. Check them out, see what they are doing, and follow them for sure, but if you are not sure about fake accounts and how to tell the difference then wait a while.

Once you set up your Twitter account, please resist this temptation to follow everyone who follows you as there are people with computer programs who are constantly looking for new accounts in the hope of these new accounts following them back. We will go into detail about these accounts once you know a little bit more about what is going on but for now either ignore them completely or if you know how to, you can block them. There will also be people who are hoping that you are a man, and who will follow you under the pretence of being a sexy half naked large breasted girl. These accounts are usually fake and if they are real then they are usually dodgy in some other way. Just know that they can’t do you any harm if you ignore or block them, and should you do so, the logarithms looking for easy targets will move on and you will get less and less of this. But if you give in and follow them back, then you will get more and more of them.

To start a Twitter account simply look up Twitter.com on your computer browser and at the top right corner you will have the option to either sign up or log in. Simply click on sign up.

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Next you will come to a screen where you can fill in your really basic details:

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-5-25-19-pm

Again it will be quite obvious what to do over the next few screens, and your Profile won’t look dissimilar to your Fb page. I am reminding you again that it is important not to panic now. No one is looking at you, you can’t go far wrong. My Twitter accounts are both a click away below, so feel free to safely check out what mine looks like and once you sign up feel free to put a link to your new Twitter account in the comments below if you would like me to follow you and guide you along from there. As with Facebook yesterday, your only homework before this time next week is to explore what everyone else is doing, enjoy experimenting, play around, work on your Profile pic and cover photos if you are comfortable and ask me anything you like below.

Your WordPress blogs can also automatically post to Twitter, which is a great platform for getting your name and your writing out there!

In the name of paying it forward to other readers, let us know how your experience was so that we can all learn from it🙂

Learning Facebook:

IMG_6082(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

So today we are going to go through the basics of having a Facebook PAGE. This is super confusing because those of you who have Fb already will know that most people refer to their Fb accounts as their Fb page. So I need to start off by being very clear that when I talk about a Fb PAGE I am talking about what they call a public page. The difference is this:

I have a private Fb account (FbAccount). This is me: Jen Smith (please don’t send me a Friend Request, as this is my private account and I don’t accept requests from anyone but close family). Also please don’t send requests to each other either, as during this process of setting up Facebook Pages it will add to the confusion.

This on the other hand is my Fb PAGE (FbPage): Jennifer Peacock-Smith. You are very welcome to “like” it, and in fact please do so that you can follow along as all the posts here will be posted there. As you each build a page I will “like” yours as well, and I encourage you to “like” each others.

If you compare the two, the one that is privately me (FbAccount) looks very different to the one that is publicly me (FbPage). The major difference is that for the FbAccount we need to be mutual friends to follow each other. We send Friend Requests and upon acceptance we can see each other clearly.

For the FbPage on the other hand the communication is one way. If you “like” me, you are following me, you can see everything that I post, and I will show up on your newsfeed if you want me to. But I can’t see YOU and your private account in any way shape or form.

Say for example I am a singer  and “PopStar” is my stage name, but my real name is Fred. I can’t have a FbPage for PopStar without having a FbAccount for Fred. My  Fred Facebook can have friends it is the two way valve and everyone who can me, I can see too. As Fred I save this for my family and close friends that I trust. But PopStar is my public a FbPage and 3 million people follow me there. They click “like” on his page and they are my fans. I have no obligation to follow them at all, because it is a one way valve. When they follow me they have no expectations of me following them back because my FbPage can’t follow people. I hope that that makes sense…

So here is how you do it. To set up a Fb Page,

  • Go into your Facebook on your computer and click HOME at the top of your screen. This is your newsfeed as usual.
  • To the left you will see this: screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-11-47-32-am (click on Create Page).
  • You will then see this box pop up: screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-11-48-41-am
  • You then need to click which ever box applies to you. I am a Writer, so I clicked on Artist, Band or Public Page. This is what happened when I clicked on it: screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-11-50-03-am
  • You now need to choose a category. I chose Writer for my Page, but I also have an Artist page for my artwork that I do with my friend Julie, which I named accordingly. So with your single Fb Account you can have a number of different Pages, but for now we are going to stick to one so that we don’t all get confused.
  • I can’t go any further in the process myself as I am not setting up an account. But from here on in it is quite simple. Follow the prompts slowly and read everything on each page.
  • Soon you will find that your Fb Page is active and the bare bones are set up.

Remember that this is all foundations so you don’t have to even add any pictures yet, and you can change the name later. Check out my and other FbPages and see what you like and dislike. Comment below and ask any questions and please share with us anything that you struggled with or found helpful so that you too can pay it forward for the others who read this🙂

Enjoy experimenting and having fun! (and remember to not spread the word yet!). click on things and experiment, ask stuff here and get super comfortable with the whole idea of pages and what you would like yours to look like🙂

Social Media Lessons 01:

IMG_3536(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

Welcome to covering all things new when starting social media. All of us have different reasons to having any kind of social media and for me it is to promote my writing (blogging and eventual book on my personal growth/abuse story) and my art that I do for therapy and enjoyment and sometime sell.

The first thing that I want to say is that for me this was extremely overwhelming, and I did it alone, so please don’t think that I don’t get anxious or extremely frustrated. I think that we all look at everyone else doing this and think that they do it so easily. But the reality is that most don’t. There are some amazing, talented incredible people out there on social media, but they make up a small minority of what you see. So as you go forward on this journey please remember a bunch of things:

  • Many of these people who appear to do well have been doing it for a long time, and all of them struggled at the beginning.
  • All of them would have made many mistakes along the way and you will too. Please don’t get stressed when you make them, I will be here for you at each step of the way and no one will notice almost all of your mistakes (and the ones that they do see, are fixable).
  • Many of them look like they have a following but they are mostly friends and family and many people on social media have built up big accounts but then leave them sitting there.
  • Nothing can’t be changed or fixed.

My number one advice going forward is that you take it slow. If you make a major mistake (sorry, change that to WHEN you make a major mistake), and only a dozen of us here see it, then it has little to no impact going forward. But if you race ahead and get a bunch of follows and make a mistake and lose a bunch of them, then you need to start again. So:

  • Foundations First! Over the next few weeks we will be building your social media platforms, but not telling everyone you know about them. For the first week at least, have no more than one or two people following you, and if it is me and anyone else who is part of this, then we can see each other and help each other. Don’t add anyone else at this point. We will be working around getting you completely comfortable with your tiny network
  • Then the structure: Once you have opened accounts and you have only a small handful of connections, we can work on building each platform so that it works for you. There is so much information out there it is scary, so we will be working around getting you completely comfortable with your own site, how you decorate it, what you would like to aim it at, what your audience will be and how to dress it up.

 

Social Media Lessons:

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-9-12-13-pm(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

Over the past few days I have been asked for help with setting up or understanding social media. I am not claiming to be an expert, and I haven’t been doing this long, but I feel that firstly I must be doing something right that people are trusting me and asking me for help, and secondly I also know that I am in a once off situation where I am no longer a complete novice at this yet am still pretty new myself. So I have not forgotten how overwhelming this process can be, and how hard it is to find very basic help.

So many people helped me with my starting out journey, hence I am happy to do the same thing here, but even more than that I believe that if I spend the time and effort over the next 6 weeks in sharing with you what I have learnt, for free, to anyone who wants the help, then I will hopefully make your journey a little easier than mine was, and why not pay if forward right?

Over the next few weeks I will write a few posts that cover the setting up and navigating of a handful of social media platforms, how to connect and promote your agenda on them, the pitfalls to watch out for, and the how to use them to suit your needs.

We will look at:

  • Social Media (SM) in a general sense and WordPress Blogs.
  • Facebook (Fb)
  • Twitter (Tw)
  • Instagram (IG)

There are a number of people who’s blogs and instructions and advice I found enormously helpful once I was a few steps in, so as I get to the end of this I will find those again and point you in their direction, so that you can move forward as far as you like at the end.

And don’t worry, I won’t drop you at the end of this program, I will still be here on this blog at the end and we keep going if there are enough of you interested.

Reason Two to Delete You…

img_8942Reason number 2:

(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

I have read a lot about sending bulk DMs and that this is a sure fire way to lose followers as well. I can see why that is a problem for many, but it doesn’t irk me as much as that and I won’t impulsively delete you for it as I feel that it would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater in many cases and I could miss some great people just because they thought that automated DMs is a good idea. But it does leave me feeling as though you are treating me like a number and I don’t like that, …so now you have to prove yourself more than had you said nothing.

My last blog was about the tag lines that try to draw people in by telling them what they will think about you and your stuff, but automated DMs put just as many people off (if not more) than that. So when an automated DM starts off by telling me that Your blog will inspire me, that I will want to buy your stuff, or that I will love what you do, is double demerit points in my book.

There are hundred and thousands of people out there vying for my attention, my follow, my read, my endorsement and I would appreciate the freedom to hand those out on merit alone…

Reason One to Delete You…

img_5722
(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

Reason number 1:

I know that we all want to be heard out there. I know that we want to capture the eyes and then the attention of people who might be potential fans and supporters. But there are a handful of sure fire ways to make me NOT want to engage with you. A few years ago, before social media was everything that it is today, I subscribed to an inspiring monthly magazine put out by a humble and beautiful lady to encourage young mothers at home with small children. That was me, and I supported her fully.

However as she her fans grew in numbers she started to produce other things to sell, like recipe books, CDs of her grown daughters singing, books that she was writing and so on. Which was lovely. But I never bought a single one. Every time she mentioned them they came with the tag lines “you will want to buy the whole series” and “you will be inspired by the songs”, and you will want to buy more of these to give as gifts”.

Telling me (the reader) how I will respond and what I will think of her things. I don’t like being told what to do by people who have no authority over me, but more than that, I felt robbed of the options of having my own opinions about these things, and should I actually want to do any of that (want to buy more, be inspired, etc) then should I say that, I look like I am simply regurgitating what the tag line says.

I believe in people having all kinds of responses to all things and that each and every one of those responses are real for them. Even if someone simply HATES my stuff, then that is what they feel, and those feelings are valid. They may come from seeing life through a filter of anger, what I do or say or produce might trigger something sad or painful in them, ….one never knows what people spontaneously feel and it is not my job to either dictate or to judge that.

I am not responsible for how they feel, but nor is it my job to tell them how to respond either. I write, I blog, I create… and I put my stuff out there. I hope that some people like it, are inspired by it, are encouraged by it, and when I write a book one day I hope that some people like it and buy it. But those are the desires of my heart, and the intensions behind what I do. What people out there actually feel, and how they actually respond, is totally up to them.

When they give me feedback, they are never regurgitating my tag lines, and I know they they are telling me what they are actually thinking, and that means a lot to me.

I don’t like Everyone I Follow!

screen-shot-2016-09-06-at-8-42-04-pm(Repost from my old blog from when I started Twitter):

3 weeks in and I’m still getting my head around all this “follow” business. They obviously all mean the same thing across all the platforms and if I want my voice to be heard and to interact and support people who are walking the same paths in life that I am, whether that be writing their story, recovering from trauma or living with a different ability, …it helps them and it helps me.

But there are so many who will only follow if I follow back, there are those who clearly have no interest in anything that I do whatsoever, and while thankfully my numbers are slowly climbing, I also seem to drop people every few days, …some for no other apparent reason than that I am clearly not showing interest in their cleavage or abs.

I am an introvert by nature, but I also have a huge heart for people. I get enjoyment from supporting and encouraging others, from promoting those of them who I believe in, and from “hanging out” online because I mostly can’t in “real life”. This on-line world works for me, it keeps me connected in a world that would otherwise be extremely shut off.

So I need these follows and followers, both literally (in that the more followers I have the more people will see me, and the more who stop to listen, even though not all of them will, many might actually stop and hear me) and emotionally, in that I enjoy some of the interactions that come from them. I want to follow them. I love seeing what others are doing; ….getting inspired by things like courage, new ideas and concepts, strength through adversity and enjoyment in the little things.

In real life, because I have lived in so many countries, studied in so many places, and never really belonged anywhere, I have an extremely rich group of real life friends. For me I have picked the best that life has to offer, they are outliers and the crazy ones. Those who dare and care and love deeply and richly and hurt badly and above all, as much as they are able, they are real and transparent and are all the better for it.

They cover the spectrum of gender and faith and physical ability, and some of them are deeply muslim, others deeply Christian, and some have absolutely no faith at all. They are all unique in all kinds of ways but they are all respectful, loving, deeply compassionate people. And while I love all of them, I don’t like all of them equally. There are some who I think have got their heads screwed on completely wrong, but I love having them in my life because they challenge me, they push me, and they never tell me simply what they think I want to hear.

Others don’t even do that, and are completely annoying, but when I see where they have come from, what they have achieved, how they have grown, …I so admire them, and am honoured to be a witness to that growth and that they call me their friend. To walk beside and see where they are eventually heading is exciting.

But it doesn’t mean that I like them a whole lot either, or that I can handle them in anything other than small doses or large crowds. I want to follow and be followed by the whole gamut of people too, we may not all think alike or have the same belief systems, but I won’t judge you, and I ask the same in return. I want this to grow organically, but I don’t want to miss the boat and not be purposeful either.

It’s just that if I do follow you, please know that I consciously follow you because I choose to and that you aren’t just a number…