Beware The Lure Of Internet Fame

Fear ye not. This is not a rant about the dangers of the internet, but rather a call for us to be more intentional in how we use it and take advantage of all it has to offer. If you’re under the age of 70, own a smartphone and have internet access, chances are that you have a social media account. Or several. I’m no different, with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts which I love. I honestly believe that my life is all the richer for the connections which i’ve made, the interactions which I have and the access to knowledge, help, advice, ideas and entertainment which is on offer. There is something for everyone.

The downsides of the internet, social media and smartphones have been well-documented. It’s addictive, with people regularly checking their accounts because the digital world is fast-moving and nobody wants to miss out or risk being regarded uninformed. So a Fear Of Missing Out takes hold, leading people to check their phones every 5 minutes. In turn, this affects concentrations spans and the ability to focus. Then there’s the distorted version of reality which is portrayed online.

The online world, and social media in particular, is no more real than the Loch Ness Monster or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Yet we follow online trends, buy the stuff and do whatever we can to get the lifestyles which we see and crave on Instagram in order to feel happy. Not only that, buy we buy into the myth that we can have all we want RIGHT NOW. Forget about the hard work and perseverance, there are plenty of internet marketers willing to share their secrets with you if you’ll only part with a few measly pounds. Better yet, they will help you to become a social media millionaire too, so that you can live the life of your dreams and free yourself from your tedious 9-5.

Stop. Just stop. Claims like the above should raise the alarm and send you running to the hills, because they are lies. Lies told with the aim of parting the foolish and desperate from their money. Fame and fortune is the happy byproduct of hard work and perseverance. It comes after you build something of value to others. It comes when you solve a pressing need or a gap in the market which you have identified. Those who have become rich quick have often done so through social media marketing, shamelessly promoting products and services for a modest fee and selling people courses which promise to make them rich too. If that was true, though, why isn’t everyone who has ever signed up to one of the programmes a millionaire?! Why do schools,colleges and universities still exist if all you have to do to become rich is pay for a 6 week online course from the latest social media superstar?!

Because it’s not real. Internet fame is as real as monopoly money. These superstar marketers get rich selling people an illusion. If that’s what you are drawn by…stop to ask yourself what it is that you are after. Is it easy money, or do you want to create value and make a real difference? What impact do you want to make? Do you want to be seen as just another social media influencer, or do you hope to create something good which will last?

Furthermore, stop and take a moment to ask yourself whether you are making the best use of the online resources available to you. Do you really need motivational speakers barking at you to get up off your backside and be fierce like a lion in pursuit of your goals? Or some other crap like that. And it is crap. I’ve listened to plenty of these posts over the years and most of it sounds good on a surface level and fires you up, but when you actually think about what you are hearing it makes no sense. For example, one famous motivational speaker will one minute tell you to be a lion in the world of gazelles. Basically meaning that you be aggressive and devour everyone and everything that gets in your way. Only, the next minute he preaches about treating everyone with kindness and compassion on your rise to the top. Polar opposites, yet people lap this up because of the way he presents his contradictory nonsense.

Stop wasting your time, and make the internet work for you. I have written before about content being king, and it really is. Make the most of your social media accounts. If you want to gain influence and reach more people, document your daily life and struggles on your journey towards your goals. Once you have decided what you want, and start taking action towards it, share it with the world. People love real life stories. This is why we are hooked on reality tv, because we find characters with whom we can relate and whose experiences we have at some time shared. If you are a struggling entrepreneur, let people share your journey. Your social media documentary could later serve as the story behind the product or service which you launch. If you struggle with depression, share your story in order to increase awareness and let other sufferers know that they are not alone.

As you document the journey you are on, and share it with the world, try not to get too carried away. Of course, it feels great to be liked and be able to reach more people with your message, ideas, business or service. However, all of this can be somewhat intoxicating and it becomes easy to lose perspective and forget what truly matters. Value. Using social media and the internet to positively impact others. That is what truly matters, and that is what truly lasts.

If you can bring value to the lives of your audience, then your influence and/ or business will grow. If all you’re after is money, you may very well succeed in the short-term only to be quickly replaced by the next big thing that comes along when the market gets saturated or trends and tastes change.

Everyone is unique, yet we all share many of the same challenges in our daily lives. So, share your daily life and your journey with others. Who knows where or what that will lead to?!

Content is King

Stop waiting for inspiration to strike before posting on your blog or social media account. The perfect time to get started is right now.

We waste far too much time overthinking. What does this achieve? Nothing. I made the same mistake when starting this very blog. I created it in November 2016 but didn’t post my first article until the following April. Months wasted. Why? Because good intentions and planning alone achieve nothing. You need to post something.

The answer, and the only way forward, is to take action and create content. Post that picture on Instagram or your thoughts on your blog. It won’t be perfect but it doesn’t have to be.

As you post more content and interact with your audience, you will learn and grow. You will develop your own style and voice. This, in turn, will lead to better quality content and this is what will grow your audience and influence.

So if you want to grow or develop your social media account or blog, get off google and just post content. Keep posting content. Interact with your audience. Experiment with new formats and styles until you find which one works best. And then post some more.

The dark side of social media

I, like most people, love social media. Instagram, LinkedIn, What’s app, Facebook and so many more ways now exist in which we can connect with one another.There are countless social media platforms and they all offer something different.  Some might offer business networking opportunities or perhaps a helping hand with dating, while others may provide the opportunity to share visual snapshots of our daily lives with the world. The main thing which they all do is bring us together. They connect people with like minds and similar interests all over the world, and allow them to share experiences. They can provide inspiration or information, but they also provide a platform for people with very different views to have discussions, and better understand each other.

As with everything else, though, social media has its downside too. It can encourage vanity and selfishness, while breeding jealousy, as people fill their profile pages with pictures of luxury goods and holidays in exotic locations. Some of these are genuine depictions of peoples’ lifestyles, but an incredible amount of them are mere illusions, with the photos being staged using items which are borrowed or fake. And the holidays? Many of the same pictures can easily be found with a quick Google search. All with the aim of faking it till you make it, showing the world how perfect your life is. This obsession with showing the world how wonderful your life is leads to missed opportunities to connect with people who could’ve helped you to achieve your goals and actually reach a level where that lifestyle really could be yours. After all, they may feel that you have it all, and they have nothing to offer which can help you. Furthermore, some people can become envious of lifestyles and relationships which don’t really exist.

As discussed in a previous post titled “Be Kind Online”, bullying is another very real, and very serious problem. Facilitated by the anonymity of online interactions, people who may be otherwise kind and respectful become spiteful and abusive to others in order to vent their own personal frustrations. How is this possible? Nice people become online trolls when they adopt a different online persona. Rather than just be true to themselves, they use the anonymity of online platforms to create a new identity.

All of this is wholly unnecessary. As discussed in earlier posts, I strongly believe in being authentic, and being true to yourself. Just document the life you lead, not the one you wish you had. Show people the real you, and use social media as a kind of journal to document your journey towards fulfilling your potential. In this way, you can inspire others to begin or continue their journey, or may find others willing to connect with you to offer help and share their experiences. Even if you have become successful and genuinely lead a glamorous lifestyle, I would ask that you share some lessons which you learned along the way. These little nuggets of information and experience could help, inspire or motivate so many others. If done right, there is so much good that can come from sharing the pursuit of your goals.

Social media is amazing and we should make better use of it. Instead of getting drawn into competitions with others over who has the most desirable lifestyle, embrace the opportunities it offers to bring people together, share experiences and help each other.