A few years back, before I really got super involved in Twitter and blogging, I accidentally got involved in Farmville. Actually, to be truthful, I started as a Farm Town girl, but of course, being the trend-bucker that I am, all of my friends ended up playing Farmville. I eventually caved in.
If you’ve never played the games, the concept is oddly simple. You plant crops, you harvest them, you sell them, and you get to buy things like a farm house, fences, pigs, and other things. It starts out so easy. Then you realize that to move up a notch, you need to start planting even more crops and harvesting more often. Oh, and if you don’t harvest on time, your crop wilts and you have to start over again. In short, it’s an OCD person’s nightmare.
One morning, a morning in which I found myself awake a half-hour early so I could harvest fake corn and plant fake grapes, I realized that this was getting pretty ridiculous. I was losing sleep so that I could make sure I got my seeds planted so I could harvest them during my lunch hour. A game was controlling my sleeping patterns! I quit cold turkey and I’ve not touched a Zynga game since then.
There’s a bit of a problem, though. While Farmville no longer claims my heart, social media has. I’ve given up a lot of stuff to get to wherever it is I am now. I’ve stayed inside instead of enjoying days in the sun. I’ve missed television shows I enjoy. I’ve even, I’m ashamed to say, let my ice cream get a little melty on occasion. I feel like I should stop “doing social media” for awhile so I can remember what I used to do before I had this blog. But things are different now. There are two websites I’ve committed to writing to. There are people who support my posts and so I feel like I should support theirs. A publisher has sent me two books in the last month that they’d like me to read and review. This has become serious stuff.
How did THAT happen?
The Myth of Sisyphus
The Myth of Sisyphus is a story written by philosopher Albert Camus. Sisyphus must push a huge boulder up a mountain and just as he gets near the top, the boulder rolls down and he has to start over again.
That’s kind of what my social media journey has been like. Let me explain.
When I first started this social media thing, my goal was to get enough Twitter followers so that I wouldn’t totally humiliate myself while doing a presentation about social media. I didn’t have an exact number in mind, but something that was at least semi-decent. I reached that goal, but the boulder fell back down.
Now I wanted to start blogging, and I wanted people to start commenting. That took a lot of pushing and a lot of hard work, but I got that boulder almost to the top of the mountain. People started commenting. But the boulder fell back down.
Now I wanted to get 100 followers on Twitter and I wanted to get retweets of my posts. I reached those goals. But the boulder fell back down.
Now, I have a pretty darned good situation here in the online world, and I feel like once again I’m pushing that boulder almost to the top. But now I have a new problem that’s making the boulder fall back down.
I no longer feel confident I’m going to be able to keep up with everything I’ve built here. I write for three sites, sometimes more, in any given week. People are following me faster, which means that going through those folks one by one to follow back as I’ve always done is taking more time. I don’t see as much on Twitter anymore, so I need to take more time to find good conversations and good stuff to share. People seem to be attacking me more, and that really makes that darned boulder feel heavy.
And did I mention I also have an exercise boulder and a work boulder and a “Hey I want to sit on my butt and watch TV” boulder?
This is getting heavy, man!
Can I just quit?
Of course, all of the stuff I’m doing is not like Farmville, which was really just a bizarre way to spend one’s time. All of this “stuff” is a way to further my career. It’s a way to learn on behalf of our clients. It’s a way to help me grow as a person. Still, we humans tend to need breaks, right? Sometimes we need to drop the boulders. Right?
Factually, I think I have too many commitments to be able to do that with a clear conscience. It’s not about writing here. It’s not about tweeting to keep my Klout score up. It’s about fulfilling things I’ve promised to do for other people. It’s about continuing to read and learn and grow. It’s about following through.
Sure, the world wouldn’t end if I took a month away and just said, “Aw, to heck with this.” But that’s not really how life works, right? You’ve gotta keep pushing those boulders. I just didn’t think the top of that darned social media mountain would keep moving around. Rather than there being an endgame, there seems to only be times where things will move faster and faster.
I’m not complaining
These are great problems to have. Each path up the mountain brings something new. But who would have thought that two years engaging in something would make it such an integral part of one’s profession and life? Kind of funny how that works.
Are you pushing boulders around on the social media mountain? How’s your journey going? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tuinkabouter/3869336890/ via Creative Commons