The FEAR in the NETWORK
You take a nice picture, you have a cool idea for an article, you have an awesome experience that you want to share to the world… and you share it with the world. And you wait… and you wait… and no like/fav/retweet/pin, none of those happen in what you believe is the “right timeframe”. Meaning almost immediately… “ Because everyone can see my stuff right? Because there are gazillions of people following me, I have a lot of <<friends>> and they should somehow reward me by liking what I posted”.
Because social networks have taught us that we need social gratification. In any form that may be available: be it a like, a fav, a RT, etc. Instantly.
We’re the instant gratification society. We NEED and WANT things today, right now, because we can’t wait, only to be bored of them and become depressed tomorrow because those things didn’t give us the value we thought they would.
Because we took from our time to share something on our so-called social network and we NEED to feel rewarded. But what I find that most people fail to realize is that they want to share a feeling through that content. And as soon as that feeling is not shared back through social gratification means, another feeling replaces the initial beautiful one. And it creeps in slowly, gradually. And from the initial feeling of bliss or happiness or whatever good thing you felt when you shared to the world, there is a slow feeling of disappointment that starts building inside. And it starts to grow more and more. And now you ask yourself:
“Am I alone in here with so many other people virtually next to me?”
“Are all my friends and followers not interested in my beautiful experience because they are not socially rewarding me?”
“Have I done something wrong? Have I not liked, RT-ed or fav-ed their content enough?”
And the questions keep going in a downward spiral. Now, there’s something else you want to share to the world and make them participate in your experience. But doubt sets in, and it starts with the questions popping up before posting. Is this post strong enough to impress people so that they will like it? Or should I just quit altogether? Is what I think and post and share and express not worthy of appreciation from all the people who are following or befriending me?
And this is how the fear in the network slowly creeps inside and it chips away from your sense of self and personality (that is, if you were confident enough in the first place and felt you actually have something to express, and not trying to escape from the world through the social network).
Because the name social network is incorrect. I think the name itself is not enough, these shouldn’t be called just social networks, they should be called “individual social networks”. We are all tiny, individualized, extremely self-indulgent dots in a huge concoction or information, rich media and advertising. And it’s called a network. It’s NOT a network. It’s a brownian motion.
In this network, we are supposed to be like atoms in living matter. We are supposed to communicate and strive together towards a common goal, at least most of the time. We are supposed to create, through our ideas and goals and by communicating and forming groups and communities, for a purpose or just for having genuine fun with other people. But we’re actually brownian particles, going randomly here and there and everywhere, colliding with each other from time to time and sparking conflict just because we can.
We are at the point in social networks where we need to obtain input from the outside, from everywhere else in order to confirm or infirm what we believe about ourselves and our values and our sense of self and personality. The funny thing is that our self and personality should be created from inside and spread to the outside, not the other way around. And it should be constantly updated.
As a saying goes, the road of your life is always under construction.
So start building from inside again. You must realized you never stopped, you just put things on hold for a bit. Because your reference points were outside of you and not inside. Get back to yourself a bit, cut it out with the fear. You are indeed unique, you are indeed special, you don’t need to prove anything to anyone to confirm or reinforce that.
Instead of being a point in a canvas full of individual points with no image or meaning, start being a brush stroke in a masterpiece which you have created with other people, the masterpiece of your community and a masterpiece in the museum of your life.
Start small, get back to those 2–3 people whom you can genuinely talk to. Have a coffee or a tea. Start talking, laugh, remember and just have fun.
No more fear. No more points. No more outside, more inside.
A lot more you!