Blog

Bollocks to showing up

Jo Watson

agoodwriteup

PRO

This blog started as a simple post about showing up for social media, but then I realised that I had a bit more to say on the topic. Shocking, I know.

The only solution would be to turn my ramblings into a blog to moan about it, and then have people moan at me in return because they don’t agree, and because I’m a disgrace to a profession that should be all about getting people to write.

Let’s see, shall we?

‘Showing up’.

You’ll see and hear that phrase everywhere in social media posts from experts (real and otherwise), and on training courses taking place in person and online. I’ll admit, I’ve even talked about ‘the importance of showing up’ when I’ve spoken over a lovely lunch on courses that I’ve previously run.

I want to retract my statement, however, and instead put forward an alternative thought process for anyone out there who panics over social media content, and in particular, panics in response to all those who warn them to keep showing up.

I’m not even going to go anywhere near the word ‘authentic’ because I can’t bloody stand it. But if we’re all going to bang on about being the real ‘you’, then we need to be respectful of the fact that, sometimes, for the sake of your own mental health, you just don’t want to show up. What should you do in those cases?

Don’t show up, that’s what.

The day people start handing out medals, money or Maltesers simply for showing up (or posting, in this case) when you really don’t want or need to, then I’ll consider revising my opinion, but until then, just don’t bloody post if you can’t/don’t want to. What’s the value if you do?

If you’re being paid to do something – show up.

If you’ve got a moral obligation to do something – show up.

If you’ve been summoned by a judge – show up.

For anything else, what’s the benefit? In the case of this blog, what purpose is churning out bog-standard content really serving for you? Would it not be better to just comment on somebody else’s stuff instead, if you really don’t want to stay away?

I can’t help thinking that the whole concept of showing up day in day out on social media is becoming the online equivalent of Z-list celebrities who, you guessed it, show up to the opening of an envelope.

I must find out who coined that phrase. I love it. It’s synonymous with people who are almost desperate to keep themselves relevant by making sure they’re ‘seen’ (or showing up) at as many events as possible. You’re not a Z-list celebrity, though. You’re a credible business person.

On social media, with or without a following, you’re only as good as your last post, so I’m a big believer in quality over quantity. Some of my posts backfire horribly or fall spectacularly short even when I’ve thought as a copywriter that my content was decent.

But at least I’m not throwing them out every 10 minutes, so you can be thankful you don’t have to put up with me on a daily (hourly) basis. Put simply, I don’t want to run the risk of diluting any of the good stuff I might be putting out there by drowning it in dross.

Yes, people need to know who you are, what you do, and that you’re out there ready to engage for business. There’s no doubt that, in 2020, social media is one of the most amazing tools you can use to achieve this, but it’s not the only way to build your brand.

So the minute you start panicking that people will forget or replace you because you haven’t posted something online in 4 days is worrying.

You’ve gone to those meals, gatherings and nights out where you haven’t felt like showing up. You wanted to stay at home and binge on Netflix and crisps in equal measure.

Sometimes, you’ve shown up out of whatever obligation and had a good time. Mostly, though, you end up having a shit time, and your face, lack of engagement, and general attitude merely proves it.

We have this fear that if we don’t turn up somewhere, people may stop asking us to go all together, but whilst that may be true over a prolonged period, there’s also the other side to consider.

If we keep showing up when we’re too ill, too busy, too stressed, too drained or just too empty to have anything to contribute, then people may start regarding your presence with the whole ‘Oh FFS, who invited her‘ response. Just me this happens to? Oh well…

If people do forget you after 4 days (or god forbid, 4 hours) because you haven’t ‘checked in’ with them, then either you’ve got some pretty shit people in your network who don’t fully appreciate you anyway. Or, and by all means strike me down for saying this, what you were putting out previously just wasn’t that strong in the first place.

You may want to read I’m a good copywriter… but I can’t polish a turd if you get chance.

If you’re going to show up, you need to be happy to show off. That doesn’t mean only post about winning awards, or working with the best clients, or having ticked something massive off your list (To-Do or Bucket).

I post about the most random and depressing of shit, and hardly any of it is directly work-related, but because I look back and feel that the post reflects who I am and perhaps does something to make people feel like they know me a bit better and may like to work with me, then I can be happy to show it off.

Not always of course, but I’ll be following my own thought process in future – please tell me if I’m not!

Similarly, in actually wanting to post rather than feeling that I should, I’ll be willing to stick around to respond to the people who went out of their way to engage with what I’d written once I’d put it out there…

Bland rambling post, end with generic question to followers and ever even respond to anyone who answered your question in the first place. It’s bollocks. You obviously didn’t want to post, so why did you?

We’re all in this for business, and in blunt terms that means money, so if you need to be getting on with work that your clients are paying and trusting you to get through, you don’t need to show up on social media.

If you need or want to spend time with your family or loved ones, you don’t need to show up on social media.

If you don’t feel that you have anything particularly valuable to say, or you just can’t face interacting with the world, you don’t need to show up on social media.

And because I can feel the mob coming for me already, this is NOT me saying ‘Don’t post’. Firstly, that’s none of my business, and secondly, I’d be a fairly dodgy copywriter if I didn’t believe in the power of good content.

I think you should always keep some running notes of posts or blogs you may like to share in the future if and when the time is right, but no, I don’t believe you need to post for the sake of it. As with anything in life, quality is often the better option over quantity.

Same goes for piece-to-camera videos, though to be honest, I can’t stand the thought of doing one of them at all…

First published on A Good Write Up

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