Is Social Media For Me?
by Betsy Cross
Erasure, Take a Chance on Me
Foreword by Stan Faryna
Of all the things that can own us, shame is the greatest of these. It stands in the way of opportunities, relationships, and self discovery. Shame counsels us to speak softly (or not at all) lest our ignorance become known to others, to enjoy the lawn from the sidewalk when we should be running across it barefoot, and, worst of all, to play our cards (or not play at all) or else.
Or else what?
Most of us have seen Brené Brown’s TED talk about vulnerability and whole-heartedness. If you haven’t seen it, you can see it here. Against your and my better instincts, Brown demonstrates that vulnerability is as beautiful and uplifting as it seems terrible.
If connection is what being human is most about as Brené Brown argues, we cannot connect without vulnerability. Brown explains in her TED talk: we have to let people see us, we have to be us, and we have to feel the feelings that we feel.
Betsy Cross is herself struggling with being vulnerable in social media. She also see others struggling with vulnerability. She observes the social media game of falsified connections, superficial engagement, and an underlying desperation for people to connect to other people. The underlying desperation to connect, she notices, is an apparent contradiction to the vast and immediate opportunities provided by the various social networks.
What’s up with that?!
The most obvious problem is the lack of vulnerability, transparency, and authenticity of even veteran social media professionals and influencers. The old guard teach new comers how to do online relationships in a manner that correlate to measurement, analytics, and infographics. But what passes for social media etiquette does not fully address peoples’ need for deeper connections. It doesn’t help people build things that last – neither life-long friendships nor online communities. Betsy is right when she questions standard social media process.
I am reminded of Emily Dickinson who wrote in a letter: Friends are my estate.
At the end of my days, if I shall compare online friendship to a million silvery ships passing at warp speed among the stars (a breathtaking sight to be sure), my estate will be as cold and barren as the terrible distance between the stars.
Although a newcomer to social media herself, Betsy embraces vulnerability and speaks whole-heartedly in this guest post. She’s worried that she doesn’t have all the answers. I am honored that she is doing it here on my blog.
Hers is an act of courage and vulnerability. She wanted very much not to take this step, but she did. And I am proud of her for doing so.
Thank you, Betsy.
15 October 2011