I’ve made a promise to myself to be more visible starting this month. However, when I created my blog 11 years ago, I had no clue about using social media. I probably wouldn’t have even tried to interact with social media if I hadn’t needed to engage with people to read what I had written on my blog.
Social media use is a daunting experience to begin. I wrote an essay titled My Face Revisited: The Story of My Journey onto Facebook about my rough entrance onto Facebook. All the fear about being seen and by people you don’t want to see or be seen by, and the confusion about the platform and what the rules may be. The only reason my husband is friends with me is because I went on his computer and friended myself.
After you realize you won’t die by making this choice, there are still a few levels you reach as your experience deepens. Here’s my descriptions of the phases you go through in their initiation into social media usage.
The Phases of Social Media Acclimation
First, you are the Ghost. You may have created an account, but you abandon it. Because being visible means that we let people see us or our words. If you never post on a social media platform than you are safely unseen. You are Invisible. Done.
The next visibility step is The Voyeur or the Stalker. I sign up to Facebook, but not only do I not post anything, I just lurk around peeping and reading what others do. There is still no interaction with anyone, but you are studying uo on how this all works, still deciding if this was a good idea.
The Voyeur is then followed by the Commentor, one who dares to comment on others’ posts. This brings a little more visibility your way as people tend to read and respond to comments. But it’s low risk and you’re in control as you didn’t post about yourself. This step increases the reward for everyone involved because it’s interaction.
The last phase upgrade is to become the Poster by of course, posting something. This is very scary especially when you’ve witnessed how snarky people can be online. You risk being seen and judged as you say or display anything. You also risk been seen and complimented and supported.
True Friendship Means Being Seen
In the act of allowing yourself to be seen by others, you complete the circle of true friendship by connecting with other people. This is how humans are wired, we are not meant to be alone. Connection is the very definition of being a part of society and community. If people genuinely like me as a friend, then I need to be visible and available for them to enjoy the person they like, Me. I owe our friendship and them this.
And by allowing myself to be seen, I can then see what they see in me. Not only does this mirroring and witnessing by others give me gratification but again, it’s immensely necessary to my self-esteem.
The last phase of the visibility process was the posting of an actual picture of myself online. Sounds scary right? Because I’m often unhappy with the way I look. But truly, I am no uglier than most any other normal person out there. And again, my friends need a chance to see and feel our friendship. That is a gift I give others.
Remember, there are four I’s in Visibility because I need to see you and be seen by you.
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