I’ve let social media try to take my life, and now I need Medium to save it
If you check out my Twitter profile, you’ll discover I have tweeted more than 51,000 times since February 2009. On top of that, I have “favorited” more than 12,000 tweets by others.
Has all of that been worthwhile? I honestly don’t think so.
I have had a total of three different Facebook profiles since 2006. I created one in that era when we were all trying to decide whether we should have kept both a MySpace page and a Facebook profile. I ultimately chose the latter. I created a second one for work, then a third one after I deleted my original with the hopes of never coming back to get in bitter political arguments with people I’ve known since high school as well as many of their friends. Alas, that plan failed, and I’m still on Facebook.
Has that been worthwhile? The word I would use is “nope.”
I’m a member of the never-exclusive “500-plus” club on LinkedIn. As many users with digital careers do, I looked to LinkedIn as a way to keep up with what other professionals in my field or other relative industries are working on. Over time, LinkedIn simply evolved into “Facebook with resumés.”
Worthwhile? Historians 500 years in the future will likely say, “Sort of, but not really.”
Much like the accountant who forgets when taxes are due, I forget what it was that writers should be doing with their time: writing. And once I realized what was missing, and how I got to this point, I felt ill.
I’m also a cancer survivor. In five years since beating Hodgkin’s lymphoma, I’m afraid I keep forgetting about the value of time. It comes to you in one form from the start and there’s never a surplus of it.
A few years ago, as I was trying to figure out just what to change about my life in the wake of my medical victory, I started to mentally digest self-improvement ideas in various forms — blogs, books, podcasts, etc. Eventually, I came across James Altucher, author of Choose Yourself and other books about breaking your own norms in order to find happiness, among other concepts.
I first downloaded his book on Audible to listen to on long road trips to visit family and friends. Altucher’s message struck a powerful chord in me that I didn’t even realize was there. The message, in my mind, was simply this: “Change.” Sometimes, it’s all about the presentation, folks.
I’ve been a journalist for more than 15 years now, and like most other journalists I know, when I’m interested in something or someone, I search for everything I can find on my targeted subject. In that process, I was lead here. To Medium.
I usually cast doubt on discoveries I make in bed while waiting to fall asleep well after midnight (only to short myself on sleep by having to wake up by sunrise to go to my job at the time), but this may have been one of the best finds on the Internet in years.
Headline after headline registered to me that this was a place for thinkers and writers. It wasn’t complicated and no one was trying to out flank another in a debate (save for a few comment chains here and there). And there were writers who were posting about topics I was passionate about … in fact, many of the writers I came across only wrote about topics for which I was passionate.
Once I got past the initial phase of my desire for self-improvement, I eventually moved into a mindset that prompted the courage to start looking for help in an attempt to move my life forward again. With Medium, I hit the jackpot.
(Pardon me for a moment as I do a little bit of ass kissing …)
I’m tired of 20 something year olds giving me life advice and telling me “you just gotta keep hustling” (as though everyone else that hasn’t “made it” yet is just sitting on their ass), I’m tired of people acting as though working at any company is selling your soul to the devil and I’m tired of hearing that all my dreams will be realised when I become yet another Internet celebrity who gets asked to do podcasts all the time.
In my effort to make the leap from “journalist” to “journalist who can also design and develop for the Web,” I came across Lauren Holliday, who wrote a post that discussed bucking the traditional college-to-career formula and focus on learning the skills you need to build your own business on the Web:
A college degree does NOT guarantee you’ll get a good job. In fact, the majority of grads are underemployed or unemployed. A college degree by itself is NOT going to get you a job. This isn’t my opinion. It’s a cold-hard (and fucked up) fact.
My life is much better because I lift weights. It’s one of the best things I ever started doing. Maybe a few things I’ve learned can help you out. Because honestly, I wish I had started 10 years sooner.
I even met another writer on Medium in my hometown of Atlanta just last weekend … he was my Uber passenger (more on my two years as an Uber driver in a future post).
This is the digital community that I want to invest my time in … a place where I can contribute new ideas, find wisdom from the lessons of those who have been where I am or am going, and sometimes just get my troubles off my chest to the eyes of a welcoming, receptive and intelligent audience.
I hope you’ll be able to help save my life after all, Medium.