You wanna know something?
I never wanted to build a platform on social media.
Let’s face it. Social media is a scary place! There are trolls, the mean people that lurk behind their screens and say really rude and hurtful words. You can easily fall into the trap of comparison. Have you seen those perfect people’s profiles?! I mean, c’mon! Do people really live like that?! You covet content. You know those really awesome influencers who are spewing out amazing content multiple times a day? How do they have time for that?! Do I even need to mention the time suck of mindlessly scrolling?!
I couldn’t believe that I wrote an entire book and now I was afraid of publicly writing little snippets to share with the world on a social media platform. (Okay, that IS something to be afraid of. I validate those fears!)
One of the number reason why I didn’t want to be on social media is because I was afraid.
When I finished my memoir I dove, head first, into the world of wanting to get published. As I did my research, I kept reading that I HAD to build a platform. I finally broke under the weight of the pressure, and succumbed to social media. Before I go on, one might wonder: is it possible to get published without a platform? Yes. But, your chances are slim to none.
Little by little, I started to learn the tricks of the trade. I contacted social media influencers, mainly writers, about how they built up their following. More than one of them said it was a full time job, and they weren’t kidding. When I first started I was constantly trying to figure out content, connecting with others, commenting, liking, following, etc. It was EXHAUSTING! So many times I wondered, is it worth it? I don’t need validation, recognition or popularity, so, why? Just to get published? And it’s not even a guarantee.
As I continued my research and soul search of whether or not social media was for me, I started to learn a few things:
It really started to make sense when I connected with some amazing fellow writers Ashleigh Renard and Allison K Williams. They taught me to not think of it as a platform, but a bridge. As influencers, we aren’t above anyone. We need to write, share and create content that creates a community. All of this lead me to many questions. How do I want to present myself? What exactly is my message? What do I want my audience to gain? Figuring this out was tough! (Heck, I’m still trying to nail this down.)
Everyday, I got my feet wet in the dark and scary pool of social media and before I knew it I was knee deep. I was consistently posting and steadily seeing my numbers increase.
Tonight, I finally reached 2,000 followers. I am still a baby in the influencer world, but I’m pretty proud of that number. When I saw the two, followed by three zeros, tears started to flow down my cheeks. Literally! I took a picture for proof and I also because I wanted to show Ashleigh my tears of joy. She has been an incredible resource and cheerleader as I’ve attempted to figure out my platform.
It was finally making sense. I have a message and people are willing to listen.
- We (my family and I) want to share positive stories and experiences.
- We want to uplift and be a place of refuge where you can laugh and smile.
- We want to promote kindness, inclusion and disability awareness through literature, videos, media and any other way we can reach people.
- We want to advocate for the limb loss, limb difference and hearing loss community, but most of all, we want to be:
When I thought about how my voice was being heard, the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, “We Must Sing” by Rob Gardner, came to my mind.
“I’ll sing of His goodness, Glory I’ll bring.
God made our voices, but we make them sing.
God gave us voices, so we must sing.”
I have been given a voice, and I want to use it for good. I’m incredibly grateful that people will listen, and I don’t want to take that granites. I want to serve our community with positivity and light.
Allison K Williams described it perfectly when she said, “No-one wants to be your customer. They want to be your friend.“
So, to all my friends, thank you for listening. I promise to continue to build a bridge that is worth crossing. And just like the builder of an actual bridge, I hope to carefully construct a sturdy and solid structure with a foundation that can weather the storm and withstand the wear and tear from years of use.
Here’s to building bridges!