So much of the content I see these days is about trying to get other people to reply, response or react. Engagement is a bandied about subject that speakers whose command much higher honorariums that I do can talk about with much better length to address a certain audience. I’m thinking more about ordinary people with jobs that don’t enable them to keep a pulse on the social web though.
Those people don’t care about the things that most of us do. For them, engagement is limited to the people in their social sphere. Back to what I was noticing: There is a whole sub-culture of people who use message forums to interact with people who participate in their hobbies. Some of these forums have been on the web a long time and center around games. People will often veg out for hours playing games and then writing stories about them.
What I notice is, there was once a time when people wrote long stories and didn’t care whether anyone read. There was a lot less noise, even though there weren’t as many people. Now? Everyone’s a blogger it seems and participation is at an all-time high. Or so it seems. Many folks bow out after a while, finding the curve higher than they anticipated from the outset. I run across the dead blogs (and twitter feeds) of people who had ambitions that just weren’t able to integrate those tools into their lives.
I don’t think this is a cause for alarm. We don’t need to have a conference about people who have dead blogs, necessarily. The best thing about having passions are that they belong to you and whether one person or six million people are as excited about that thing as you are, you toil in the often obscure doldrums of your particular interest(s) because it means something to you.
Now? Everything seems to be about focusing on ways to brand your hobbies into your career. That’s all fine and dandy, but to expect that we’re going to create a creative economy centered around people bartering skills they may or may not have is a bit unrealistic. Discussing ideas is one thing, actually putting them into action in a practical life is a whole different scenario altogether.
The secret is personal branding is there is no secret at all. It’s your life. Cultivate it however you want. Sharing has limits, but it did before there was social media too. Now it’s just easy to participate than it used to be. But just because the barriers to entry have dropped, it doesn’t mean you ought to go swimming.
Let’s encourage less people to cultivate their social media presence and focus on cultivating their actual lives. Live, do what you do and at some point if you discover there’s some synergy on the web…then have at it. There is a cost for immersion and the majority of us have absolutely no interest in paying it.
So let’s just stop kidding ourselves and other people.