Why Twitter Makes Me Cry by Conlee Ricketts
Alright, Twitter doesn’t actually make me cry, but it feels damn close sometimes. The whole world of social media marketing has the potential to throw me into a dark, self-loathing, self-conscious, state of chronic despair. Why? Because I feel as though I’m back in high school at my first and only Friday night post-game sock-hop. The year was 1979 and there I am—over there against the concrete wall—the gangly, awkward freshman watching the couples laugh and dance. I’m waiting for someone to notice me, to be drawn in by my inner beauty and to ask me to dance. Much to my surprise I’m noticed—an older boy, we dance, he attempts to give me my first kiss, we laugh, and we talk. On Monday morning I realize that he rides my bus. I smile hoping he will say hi to me, but instead he proceeds to make fun of me in front of his friends for the next month of bus rides. I hide my face every day so no one knows I’m crying.
Fast forward 35 years and here I am against the concrete wall of what feels to be more like a cocktail party. There I am again watching the couples laugh and dance. There’s that guy who leans in and whispers something witty to his follower; she throws her head back in laughter praising him for his sexy banter and then she’s off to share it with others. She gathers her tribe and shares her tribe with his tribe and together they all throw back their heads in glorious laughter. There’s me, watching it all, trying to learn the moves, the right technique, and the proper protocol for this cocktail party—I am just plain lost.
To walk up to a stranger and introduce myself is physically painful and this is what Twitter feels like to me. Trying to reach out to strangers that seem like me just to see if they might someday help me to succeed while I help them to succeed is one of the techniques, but then I’m inundated with auto-responders; I feel betrayed and foolish, and I retreat to hide out in silence again while I build up the courage to reach out…one…more…time. In order to learn other techniques I have participated in a lot of free webinars (I’m broke) and have received some very valuable information. I get it: define my audience, give away something good to capture an email address, use email address to continue to give away something good while asking for the bigger sale. But now I seem to be the victim of the social media marketing pyramid scheme where one great person partners with another great person to get more email addresses and up-sell more great programs on how to partner with people to sell more great programs about social media marketing. Wait…what?
I am invisible at this party, just waiting for someone sincere to ask me to dance. I don’t sell marketing technique; I sell my ideas, my heart, my problem solving ability, essentially my time, and at this point I don’t have my free gift, I don’t have my book, so I may have to take a big long break. I realize it’s my own fault that I’m not wildly successful. I’m failing because of my own personality traits and fears, but this is who I am and it goes against every fiber in my being to flit around this f’ing cocktail party trying to get you to chase me. Especially if “you” aren’t the real “you” I’m talking to. I approach you, say hello, then get an automated response about what you would like me to buy. I feel like I need a shower after you send me that crap.
A friend I’ve known for twelve years stopped over last week for me to work my magic in her life and she told me that I seemed “different” these days. I think she might have used the words calm or peaceful, and she’s only half right; I told her it’s more like “Humbled.” I’ve had a few difficult years of struggle, tiny triumph, humiliation, and pain, and what remains after a few years like this is a woman who doesn’t have time to be anything but brutally honest with herself and others. I will continue to try to teach myself internet marketing, but I despise feeling lost and feeling duped by the auto responder telling me how to spend my money. Did I mention I was broke?
I am not broken though; I am a beautiful mosaic of the reassembled pieces of my dignity, pride, grace, and patience that each took a severe beating over the past year or so. I will continue to be the gangly, awkward wallflower observing the party that goes on in front of me, and I will eventually find the place that I fit; I just take longer than most because I have to watch and wait. If I’m patient with the whole process maybe someone will ask me to dance and be charmed by my inner beauty—but if you make fun of me on the school bus for the next month, I promise I’ll kick your ass.