Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Finding Confidence Online: What If You Gave a Party and Nobody Came?

It's not a secret that it takes confidence to succeed.  You don't accomplish anything by constantly second-guessing your abilities and avoiding opportunities to push yourself.  The fear that you'll be rejected:  "What if I gave a party and nobody came?" can be overwhelming.  

The realities of creating a presence on social media are not exactly confidence building.  For most people, it takes a while to build a "following."  Is it worth it to create content for 10 people?  For 30?  For 100?  What makes it "worth it?"  Do people care?  What am I doing this for?  What's the point?  

Creative social media - blogging and vlogging included - provide a direct connection with the public at large - for aspiring creative people, that means putting yourself out there as never before.  Unless you already have a presence in traditional media - and few do - creating online seems like the first test of your hopes, dreams and ambitions.  

So: how does a person get past the confidence challenge?

1 - There's an audience for everyone - you've just got to find each other.  Most people don't follow social media creators directly; a majority of those who watch YouTube, for example, likely are unaware of the subscription option.  As a blogger, if you're not affiliated with any of the major aggregators of blog content, you'll need to find other methods to bring potential readers to your site.  While most blogs have a subscription option of some sort, most readers likely don't know that option exists.

It's important to understand that part of your job as a creative person on social media is finding your audience, and understanding the continuously developing methods to make that happen.

2 - You're the best at what you do.  You are an unmatched expert at what you do best - which is, naturally, being yourself.  You're not a great writer - you're the greatest writer reflecting your own personal talents, interests and experiences.  Likewise, countless talented YouTubers lose themselves in emulating their favorite YT stars.

With social media -  every imperfect creative person the ability to find their audience.    Are you the greatest performer of all time?  The greatest writer ever born?  Probably not.    Whatever your perception of your own abilities - good or bad - you are the best at what YOU do.    You don't need to apologize, disrespect yourself, or give up.  You don't need to fear discovering you're not who you think you are, either.

I remember, back in film school, there were always the students who emulated their favorite directors - they dressed like them, they created like them, and they designed their entire creative ambitions around the pathways taken by their idols.  Learn from others, but don't try to be them.

Every legit social  media pundit will tell you, above all, to be patient.    As a creative individual, you're creating a relationship with your audience that will develop over a lifetime.  Social media isn't so much a numbers game as an interactive game.    If you build it, they will come...eventually.

Remember - this is all new.  The rules aren't in place.  There are no set guidelines.    While there are both less and more effective ways to build an audience, your strategy - like yourself - will be entirely unique.  With persistence, you'll reach your goal.  

And who am I to give advice, anyway?  I don't have a huge YouTube or blog audience - yet I keep this up.  What do you think - why are you reading this?


  1. Agreed that there's an audience for everybody ... even you or (gulp) me.

    To your question above, is it worth it for an audience of 10, or 30, or 100? For me it is. Sticking to just the video aspect of it, when I started on YT five years ago, I had no idea if anybody would watch. I created that first content only for myself.

    YT being what it was then (sparsely populated), I found an audience nearly right away, and was creating content for hundreds, then even a few thousand very quickly. And, I think to some degree, having that audience shaped what I was doing with video.

    Now, five years on, my life (and daily schedule) is very different, and I don't have the time to be creating videos every few days - I'm lucky if I post something every two months. The audience has contracted back to 100 or so per video.

    And I don't really care. Because the videos I do now are, once again, the videos I make only for myself. That there's still a few good people who like to watch them and comment is very nice, and I appreciate it. But I'd still do it even if five people watched.

    My blogging story is much longer, but pretty much follows similar lines. I create what (and when) I need to create - not what I think will sell.

    Now... to your last question, why do YOU do it? The babes. Definitely. You do it to meet chicks. ;^)

  2. Yeah, the's that workin' for me? LOL....

    I do think that there's a large, untapped audience out there - particularly out of the younger demographic - that hasn't been pursued. In much the same way that Facebook moved beyond it's college-student roots, I think, potentially at least, YouTube and the like could find an expanded community (as opposed to casual viewers) in the wider population.