I must start out by saying that I really did not get Twitter at first. It’s as if “Twitter for Dummies” was a 100-level course and I needed to take the 099 version which would be called “Twitter for People Who Aspire to Be Dummies”. I have already been on Twitter for at least a year and have been in the habit of tweeting a few times a day. But to really make it mean something? And have it mean something to somebody else?
I am discovering that much of this Music Success in Nine Weeks program is about overcoming the mental and emotional obstacles I have created for myself, so it is somewhat embarrassing but necessary to drag my insecurities out into light, and perhaps by doing so I may help others on their journey. So it with chagrin that I admit how much my insecurities get triggered when I see how many Twitter followers or Facebook friends other people have, people that I have known well and have become quite famous. This sort of thinking is horribly toxic, of course, and I have to do a 180 on my mindset. Social networking is not about how many people follow my every move. It is first and foremost about building community.
We had the assignment to follow at least 100 people. We were even provided a starter list of sorts, and I started following many on these lists, and then waited to see what sort of stuff showed up. I discovered, frankly, that most of it didn’t really mean a lot to me. Hmm… this is going to be harder than I thought.
I tried searching on some different things, such as “songwriters in Seattle” or “Seattle music” or “healing music” or “relaxation music”. I found a few references here or there and I went to the tweeter’s profiles to see if there was anything else interesting they had to say. Perhaps interesting to somebody, but not to me.
But then I decided to search on “creativity” and noticed that there were a few people who showed up in the search results more than once. They seemed to have something interesting to say about creativity. And then the light bulb started to come on. I can follow some of these people; I can comment back or even retweet things they say to the community I’m building. And when I say “follow”, I mean doing more than just casually reading their tweets but actually entering into the life that they are sharing. Actually listening.
Okay, now I’ve found one bread crumb on this trail: Creativity. So along those lines I tried to find a community that is interested in Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”. I haven’t had a lot of luck here, a few random references. But then it occurred to me that I could start a community. I could even do some quotes out of her book and hash it with #theartistsway. And I can also retweet her tweets.
And maybe I will find more kindred spirits, one bread crumb at a time. And truly listen.
I have spent the past week on Vashon Island near Seattle, holed away in this rustic cabin which overlooks the Puget Sound. It is absolutely beautiful here. I have had no internet connectivity other than through my smart phone and have been forced to relax. While here I have been reading this book that is blowing my mind, “A
Million Miles in a Thousand Years”. The premise of the book is that we can make the story of our life meaningful by living a life that is meaningful rather than living only inside our heads. To put it into contemporary vernacular: Live Out Loud. (I could write a whole blog post about what this means to me, but I’ll save that for another time.) For now, all to say that it occurred to me that I can start following—as in listening– to the author, Donald Miller, on Twitter.
find your voice.
I am starting to get it now. Twitter is about life and community. It’s not just about my career. But career can be a part of it once I find community and listen to what others have to say. Then I will have something interesting to say too, other than “Buy my record”.
So if you are like me, somewhat Twitterpated, here are a few starter-kit questions:
- What are some books you have read in the last year that have been transformational?
- Are there things that are worth quoting and passing along to your friends?
- If you blog, what tags have you used for your posts?
- What movies have you seen lately that has moved you?
- What type of music moves you? (Not just stuff you want to emulate because you want it to sell.)
- What moods does your music inspire? Search with those descriptors.
- How about causes that you believe in?
- How about one or more successes of the day that you want to share about? What about people who are doing the same sorts of things?
I believe these sorts of questions lead us on a search to find a community of kindred spirits. And once you find your community, you find your voice. And people will not just follow, but listen too.