Some time ago on Twitter I did a Follow Friday thing. For most people, this doesn’t really mean much. Every friday people like to list all the people they like following. List tweets filled with users sent in rapid succession, it’s something you tend to skip past as it’s all just names and no reason. So many people send those things out, Friday can get spammy depending on who you follow.
I tend not to do Follow Friday except on rare occasions. This time I’d already have a list prepared. Not to do a long list of obligated mentions, but a list of people who genuinely influence or inspire me to do stuff. People I myself look up to and inspire me. Not just to tell people to follow them, but also to let them know that I appreciate them and why.
Now I might not be a social media guru, and I won’t lie about my power on Twitter. I know there are some people who keep an eye out on my tweets and that I have genuine interactions with. It’s a small crowd, sure, but it’s quality. I actually look forward to checking Twitter because I know they’ll be around. You can have your marketing potential and corporate brand structure and stuff it. Getting to know people and learning about and from them is much higher on my priority list than either of them.
Maybe I’m hurting my brand or potential with this approach. Maybe my style of Follow Friday didn’t get them too many new followers. Unless you really care about how you look on fav.star or, god forbid, Klout, I doubt the new followers would be more important than a genuine gesture of appreciation.
At the time of sending out the Follow Friday tweets, I put some genuine time and effort into thinking of who I wanted to thank, as well as who is still active on Twitter. It was actually hard because there are so many awesome people who I have met on Twitter over the past few years, and so few of them are still active on there.
That doesn’t mean they fell off of the radar. I still read their blogs. A lot of them are still over on FaceBook, where I can read their status updates and see them live their life through their photos. Before I’d have felt like an intruder seeing their photos, but that’s come to pass as I’ve come more and more to accept them as friends and less as Twitter handles.
There were way more people I wanted to tweet about, but I wasn’t entirely sure about how active they were still on Twitter, and doing the same thing over FaceBook doesn’t really feel right.
These weren’t just named recommendations, these were people I actually give a crap about. People who influenced me, and each in their own way, have been supportive towards me.
After I finished tweeting their names, I felt blessed by having met each of them and countless other people who I didn’t get to acknowledge that way. I’m still thinking of other ways to show those other people my appreciation for them.
Later that day I’d go and finish this book I was reading. There was a long list of acknowledgments in the back of the book, spanning about three pages in length. I read the entire thing.
What shocked me most was how many of these names are familiar to me. So many names on his list of people he’s glad to have crossed paths with hold true for me as well. It’s one thing to buy a book from a store and recognizing the name from retweets and FaceBook shares, but yet another entirely to see those who shared these posts personally thanked in that book.
I’m not even sure why I’m really all that surprised why I’m recognizing so many names in the acknowledgments. When I posted my review of his previous book, someone on FaceBook shared my post and tagged him in it. You’d think that would break that magical wall between author and tangible person and the friends you have in common. Yet reading her name in the second book made it more real somehow.
Guess there’s still a whole level of reverence between authors and regular people for me. Writing still feels like a magical element to me, even though it’s been ages since I decided I’d focus on getting better at it.
Almost every time I’d read the acknowledgments in a book, I’d spend time imagining what it’d be like to be one of those people mentioned at the start or end of a book. Not all too different from wondering what it’s like to have my name on the cover. Or to have my name in the colophon. I’m glad to say at least the latter one isn’t a mystery to me anymore. It feels amazing. Just as it never stops feeling amazing to hand out a magazine and say that I made this thing.
I still tend to fall under that crippling fear of being reported as a fraud and a failure by some holy authoritarian writer force. The last few months I’ve managed to do away with a lot of my anxiety and fear of failure. But it seems my fears concerning writing is still alive. Guess my fear is about as stubborn as I am.
Somehow the easy way out is mystifying writing and writers. I don’t do it consciously, but it just happens. No matter how many times I’m reminded that I actually am one of them.
It’s one of the main reasons I haven’t been writing much on here lately. Now that I’ve got some more realistic perspective again, I feel like can get into the act more naturally again. Because if I’ve learned anything, it’s not the lack of support that’s holding me back. The only thing that can hold me back at this point is myself.
Besides, maybe it’s a good thing to look at writing this way. At the very least it keeps the magic alive for me.
PS: I intentionally did not want to drop names in this blog post. It would come across as bragging, or worse, humble bragging to me. Know that I am appreciative of you taking your time reading this. This goes to everyone reading, commenting on, and following this blog. Even if you just came across this post on Google and took your time to read through it.