At Clarity, we preach the importance of clients blogging frequently. ‘Aim for one short blog a month,’ we might say. ‘It’s critical to be consistent and regular!’, we exclaim.
I haven’t blogged for 18 months.
As someone who profoundly understands the importance and value of such things, I’m embarrassed by how poorly and infrequently I communicate with the outside world.
It’s not just the fact that I blog so infrequently. I rarely tweet or post on LinkedIn, and I never participate in Facebook groups.
Periodically, I resolve to get more active on the various platforms. And, as you might have guessed, now is one of those times.
The truth is I totally see the value in being an active, engaged participant in social media.
There’s so much to learn, and so many valuable connections to form. It massively increases the likelihood of serendipitous encounters with interesting people. It’s unquestionably valuable for my company, for its brand, for new business, for hiring etc etc.
So why the reluctance to get involved?
I thought it would be interesting and helpful to dive into the reasons why people typically fall into one of two camps (and I realise this is a crude characterisation): either they’re active, generous and highly-engaged participants in online conversations or, like me, they’re peripheral, voyeuristic, observers.
Given I fall into the second camp, I feel qualified to hypothesise why people like me find this stuff so hard.
These aren’t all major factors for me, but they all ring true to a greater or lesser degree:
Personality type: Probably the biggest driver. Some people are just introverted and shy.
All-or-nothing mentality: I tend to follow the mantra ‘If you’re going to do something, do it properly or not at all’. I feel like I don’t have the capacity to commit to doing it right and doing it justice, so choose not to do it all.
Time: Is my time more profitably, more productively spent on other things?
Paranoia: Will I say or write something rash, stupid or ill-concevied that I ultimately live to regret?
Self-preservation: Why invite criticism, or open yourself up to negativity? It’s much easier to hide in the background.
Inferiority complex: What if I don’t have anything interesting or valuable to contribute to the conversation? (I fear I might have answered that question with this blog…)
Impostor syndrome: What if I’m found out and called out for knowing very little about very little? I haven’t (yet) achieved enough to command any kind of a platform.
Worrying about what people think: When you live in the digital shadows, people’s opinions of you are formed by your reputation and informed by your actions. How do opinions change once you provide a window into how you think and what you care about?
Narcissism: No one likes a show-off. Least of all me.
I’m sure there are a bunch of other equally legitimate reasons for people to lie-low. I’d love to hear them.
I’m going to attempt to raise my head above the parapet again. Force myself out of my comfort zone. Let’s see how long it lasts.