I am having a weird relationship with social media recently.
I’ve been on Facebook since it was The Facebook and your school had to be invited to join. I think I joined in 2005. I’ve been on Twitter since…
…apparently. And I joined Instagram February 4, 2015. I was on MySpace long before Facebook (though I can’t find my old profile). I talked to my friends on ICQ and random people in chat rooms (which, somehow, are still a thing) before that. I had a Geocities page I blogged on before I even knew blogging was a thing, but it’s long gone.
This has been “Useless Information You Didn’t Ask For.”
My point is, I’ve been socializing on the Interwebs for a lot of years.
Anyway, my opinion of social media when I joined was that it was this cool place to share my life with people I knew who I didn’t get to see very often, as well as some people I saw all the time.
But when Twitter started gaining popularity I just didn’t get it. It was like…here’s a feed of nothing but Facebook statuses – (yay) – and I didn’t bother with it at first. I joined when I was starting to seriously look for jobs that I could use my degree in, and I just could not get the hang of it.
Honestly, it’s really only since moving that I’ve gotten into Twitter. It’s kind of become my way of reaching out into the world and interacting with people since I spend the majority of my time inside my house like a recluse.
Recently, though, I’ve been faced with needing to establish Captain Optimist – and…well…me – as a brand, I guess, because I’ve got a few things in the works that could be really cool. But I’ve been turned off of “traditional” marketing for a while now because it’s. just. so. fake. It reads fake. It looks fake. It feels fake. It feels like pandering, to be honest.
(I felt fake in my last post because, even though my sentiment was genuine, I was looking for ways to gain traction with this post, which I wanted more feedback on because it’s been a while since I talked about anything but how much it sucks to be depressed and I’m trying to get back into my groove.)
The more time I spent on Twitter, the more it seemed like “fake” is what gets you noticed. Such a reflection of society, right? So I made this.
That checkmark is currency. People want it. Hell, I want it. Essentially, you get it when you’re well-known enough for people to care that you are who you say you are, though the criteria for that seems to be pretty arbitrary. Movie stars, authors, prom dress wearers, etc. Make a loud enough splash and get noticed by enough people.
There are some popular non-checkmark accounts, but for the most part if you don’t have one no one cares what you have to say. At least that’s how it started to feel.
So I was feeling kind of jaded about the whole social media thing for a minute.
And then today happened.
I got noticed.
I’ve been seen before. Likes here and there, maybe a reply from a Checkmark. But today was different from the start. It was like I’d hit this magic threshold where Twitter’s algorithms decided I was interesting and people could see me. I wasn’t just another faceless voice shouting into the void.
…I got noticed.
I had an entire exchange with one Freddie Prinze Jr, who I’ve been a huge fan of for a long time. I got noticed. And getting noticed is different than being seen.
For one thing, it made me feel cooler than I have ever felt before. Like…someone really important thought I was interesting.
That’s a huge thing, especially when you feel like nothing a lot of the time.
The other thing? There’s a side effect to being noticed: Other people notice you, too. I gained a few new followers, which was great. Several of my tweets were liked and I could see more people were reading my blog. And I don’t know if it was purely coincidence, but I received several DMs today (compared to the none I usually get, for reference) from people with relatively larger followings who are showing interest in what I have to say, which is really cool.
Now, while I realize this seems like a really frivolous thing to blog about (ooh look at me I got noticed by a celebrity!), the initial attention and the small influx of followers I got made me realize that I’m not just shouting into the void. I have a voice, and people hear it.
And it made me really confident about the things I’m working on. Like the podcast a friend and I are about to launch which I might not want my mom to listen to but I think is going to be a lot of fun. The YouTube video series I’m getting ready to start recording (which means my channel won’t just be a mishmash of Mario Maker videos and uke songs soon!). The book I’m writing. The blog topics I have planned.
I’ve got a lot to be excited about. Today made me feel like I’ve got good reason to be excited.