I’ve seen a lot of people talk about engaging with people—whether that is on social media or in person—for the sole purpose of networking. And, maybe two to three years ago, I was someone who believed that networking was something I needed to do to get ahead. However, the more I grow in life, the more my beliefs change—and I believe it’s changing for the better.
One thing I almost never do is check the stats. When I post a blog post, I don’t check to see how many people click to view or how long they stay to read. I’ve slipped up once or twice since the stats dashboard appears when I log into my website, but I never dwell there for long. Simply because it doesn’t matter who views my content. Sure, I might not be making a living money off this blog—for full transparency, at this moment in time my blog has made exactly $1.34—and I am grateful to all who choose to read my posts. But it ultimately doesn’t matter in the long run. Checking stats means that I will end up unconsciously tracking what people are engaging with, and, that will, in turn, affect the ways in which I create content. If I feel like people are not reading, I might not want to post, or I will only want to post the things people engage with most. Which is neither genuine nor fair.
Distancing myself from social validation reaffirmed in me how important it is to establish genuine, healthy connections with people, as opposed to networking with a bunch of people to see what you can gain from their skillset. Someone is a lot more likely to remember that you’re a kind, genuine person who happens to be a writer, graphic designer, or really, really good with numbers than they are to remember that you’re a friend of their colleague and do a little bit of something they can’t quite remember.
Changing the way I engaged with social media also happened naturally when I made that shift. I no longer try to fake it or pretend everything is great. I am transparent and honest and open so that people sense that warmness within me and feel safe to engage with me on a more genuine level. At this point in my life, I am more interested in authentic connections than ever before. Gone are the days of surface affection or being known for things that do not necessarily have anything to do with who I am or what I am passionate about, and have to offer.
Instead of living for and defining yourself by the views or the likes, or wiggling yourself into places without creating and sustaining a connection with people beyond what you can gain from proximity to them, try being authentically yourself.
Being authentically myself reminded me that people exist beyond what they have to offer, and that connecting with only one person with my blog is still a connection. Each day I decide to keep doing what I’m doing, powerful connections are being made that I will reap the benefits from for years to come.