The worst way to do social media

The worst way to do social media is to sit down at a computer and read through hundreds of articles to find the two worth talking about that haven't already become ubiquitous. What a waste of hours that could have been spent making something brilliant! How depressing to work so hard for a handful of shrapnel!

Over the years, I've created various systems for myself so that I can do the work, but also share the work. My motive used to be for my marketing to take care of itself, but it's become a different issue lately: more about giving out of love instead of withholding out of fear. I don't want to be afraid of new opportunities and expansion and the decisions I might have to make when that happens. Instead, I want to keep the people in mind who are coming and listening and investing their time with me. I want to do good for them, and I want them to know that there will always be something for them when they invest the energy to check. 

So instead of focusing on a consistent outcome (x tweets per day; x facebook posts per day; x blog posts per day; x emails per week), I'm focusing on a consistent process that is built into how I experience my day.

Be myself, and become an expert at what that means. 

I find the things that make me feel the most myself, and then I do those things as much as possible. For me, that's being exposed to new ideas constantly. Mostly by reading books, but it's also listening to podcasts (while I'm making food) or reading books out loud to my kids (I choose good ones that also spark my own imagination). I also really enjoy meeting with a client or a colleague each day; those neurons bouncing off of each other have a profound effect on getting me inspired to do the next thing.

(Sidenote: my natural tendency is to turn "being Sarah" into "doing the things Sarah likes to do", as you can see above. "Being Sarah" without the "doing" part is something my brain doesn't comprehend yet...I'm working on it.)

Notice what's going on around me. 

For me, being on social media is a lesson in mindfulness. When I am mindful about the connections my brain is making or about what brilliant thing someone just said to me or what ironic thing I just witnessed, the world is an endless repository of inspiration that can be shared and explored. When I am not mindful of it...when I am worried and thinking too much about the future or about what people may be expecting of me, those are the times when I feel disconnected and uninspired to share (and those are the times I get lost in the black hole of checking all of my accounts a million times without contributing anything, leading me to think, erroneously, "Social media is RUINING my LIFE!").

Make something new. 

This includes writing or drawing or coding or designing or strategizing...whatever it is that I'm inspired to do with my ideas. I don't set out to make something to fulfill some sort of quota or obligation. I make something when I am inspired to make it, or when someone asks me to make it, or when I see a bunch of people having the same problem that I have (or, of course, when I'm working on a nation-building project with someone). Being myself and noticing the things around me naturally spurs me to make things in response.

Document my epiphanies. 

This could mean documenting my actual process or simply sharing the thoughts I have along the way. It certainly means sharing anything I noticed that makes an emotional impact on me. It also means sharing anything I made, in a way that is useful and not merely self-gratifying.

Documenting is a habit, and it's one that is easy to fall out of, especially if I'm not mindful of my process and experience. It will be different for everyone. For example, I have several different places where I share (here, at A Small Nation, 2 mailing lists, 2 Facebook accounts, 2 Twitter accounts, sometimes Pinterest...HOLY WHAT), but the only one that is consistent is A Small Nation's Nation-Building Tuesdays. I recently decided to have one thing people could count on (and that I can count on myself for). Everything else is based on being myself, and then documenting what I'm noticing and what I'm making. I then decide the best place to share it.

Social media really isn't a big deal, but it can certainly drive you crazy if you feel like you're constantly "behind" or inconsistent or not one of the cool kids (btw, nobody's that cool). 

Basically, live a glorious life; do glorious work. Let your work be the focus of your time, but don't let it be an excuse not to share your brilliance...instead, let social sharing fuel your best work with the mindfulness and connection it can bring.