I was talking to one super dear soul of mine the other day and he thanked me for liking his social media posts which otherwise go almost unnoticed. Quite naturally he jumped to a conclusion that he was not popular among people, how else could you explain such apathy to what he communicates? And what he communicates is actually pure beauty and pure wisdom. It’s just perfect. High quality inspiring pictures accompanied by wisest quotes. There’s just this tiny detail to be added – neither words nor amazing pictures are his authentic content. Yes, he selects them according to his feelings and believes and he has the best of intentions to sharing all this beauty, but the fact remains plain and simple – it’s not authentic.
The thing is PERFECT no longer impresses folks. The internet is drowning in amazing pics and pearls of wisdom. Everyone can reach them by just one click, so no one needs one more source to replicate them what they can find themselves and, indeed, had already found. Just like we don’t want our friends to bury us in brainy quotes when we are in trouble. We want the real deal. A hug, a pat on a shoulder, and an all conquering ME TOO. Guess what? Social media is very humane in this aspect. As cold and inhuman as they might seem to be, social networks appreciate and reward those who open their hearts for others to see and identify with.
I remember when I first started posting my writings I also had this inclination to only share what’s super smart, what I ‘ve learned from successful people and avoid any vulnerable realities from my life. Those posts were beautiful to read, certainly looked perfect to me and yet those were the least popular articles among my readers. God, did I feel confused. What do those people want? What’s wrong with my perfectly arranged, beautifully illustrated, over-flowingly wise texts? Then I asked myself what it is about other public figures that draws me to their content and the answer was clear as a day: authentic vulnerable bold truth.
I remembered Elizabeth Gilbert’s post about how she was in the process of divorcing her second husband, yes this perfect one she loved so much, to start a life with a woman she fell in love with. The text was captivating and really brought tears to my eyes. What about Glennon Doyle Melton who is just a walking truth teller? She was going thru the most painful family crises while her job title read relationship’s expert. No, she did not hide it. She talked openly about it. In fact, she wrote a whole book on that. And once everyone was about to sigh with relief that the writer finally fixed her marriage, Glennon announced leaving her husband for a woman. (Yes, she too!) Brené Brown a world’s famous researcher on shame and vulnerability never misses a chance to open up about her own failures in the field she teaches. I could go on and on with the list of people who buy us daily by being authentic and speaking their truths.
So, does it all mean that in order to be successful online you’ve got to vomit your dirtiest stories into the public? No! Not at all. In fact, I love how Miss Melton says that “one should write from a scar and not a wound”. You experience something transformative, you digest it, deal with it, and then you share what you’ve learnt. People do not need more of the drama that’s all around. They like stories that are real but have an uplifting twist to them. Isn’t that great news? We are all walking books full of those stories. We’ve all been thru some dark times. We made it to the light again and all we need to do is to find words or images to wrap our unique experience in. That’s it!
That’s what’s called authentic content, that’s a content which has flesh and blood, that pulses. When your work has this pulsing energy it resonates with a number of other hearts that tick accordingly: me too me too me too. The funny thing is that at this point counting likability scores becomes of a secondary importance. Why? Because creating a work that has a heart gives your own heart one of the most ecstatic feelings. One of being truly alive. Of being an inseparable part of life and those around. Even if virtually.
Keeping it real,