Sure, I doubt myself all the time. Well, maybe not all the time…but definitely sometimes. Like the other day, when I suddenly started to question whether the things I do really matter. It wasn’t so much one thing in particular, but more just …everything. A lot of the times, I don’t get any direct feedback on the things that I do, so it’s tough to tell if my work makes a difference.
Take for example social media and websites, which is a big part of my work. I update our websites frequently. I post on social media frequently. I send out newsletters frequently.
Of course, I can measure success in the number of likes, followers, shares, website traffic, etc. that I can see e.g. on Facebook or Instagram. But it’s tough to be completely satisfied when the number of followers doesn’t grow much because you constantly win some and you lose some. It’s tough to be super happy when Facebook tells you that your post only reached 100 people out of the 4500 followers you have! Or when you only get a handful of likes and no comments (or only bot-like comments) on Instagram.
When things like that happen…well, then sometimes I doubt whether it all really matters. It’s the proverbial tree in the forest! If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it or sees it, did it really happen? Most importantly, does it really matter?
Yes, it matters. Maybe not right here, right now or in the “micro”-sense. But in the greater scheme of things, it matters. It matters what we do every day, what we put “out there”, whether on social media or on another stage and regardless of how big or small that thing is.
Speaking of social media, though, a part of me thinks (and knows) that the social media “game” is flawed. It’s rigged. You can’t really trust the numbers because anyone can buy followers, likes, comments or shares. The social media which was “supposed to be” free is not. It’s BIG business and the people who’ve invested in the platforms make a lot of money. So do the companies that are invested in providing “bot” services.
There’s a really great article in the New York Times, which touches upon this exact topic called The Follower Factory, which I’m reading at the moment.
You have to remember this. I have to remember this…that social media isn’t always honest, trustworthy or reliable. That the numbers often lie. You can’t have a million followers on Instagram and only get a few hundred likes and a handful of comments. When you see that, then you know the numbers are lying to you.
So, when in doubt, I have to try to remember this. I have to try to remember that what I do matters – to someone, somewhere. Likes and shares may be real nice to get, but if I can just touch one person out there and help them and provide some sort of value to them – that’s all that matters.