Oprah and The Social Media Ocean

March 3, 2012 § 16 Comments

A few weeks ago Oprah tweeted to all of her followers a request to tune into her programming, especially if they had a Nielson box that affects the television ratings. The hoopla over her tweet was enormous. Her undeniable power to move the masses caused twitterers to both tune in and tune out. Many balked at the nature of her tweet. How dare she beg for watchers? With all of her power, was this unethical?

As I continue to dip my big toe into the great pool of social media I find myself on both sides of the fence. Blogging, tweeting, and pinning are great if your goal is to share and it’s purely out of a desire to express oneself. It’s pretty well-known that if you blog to make money, it is very unlikely to succeed. Or is it?

And how does one succeed in an area that is so saturated with like-minded individuals; most just as talented as the next? Should bloggers be more like Oprah or is it distasteful for mere mortals to ask to be liked?

My blog began with the most innocent of intentions. It was a way for me to practice my writing and tap into that part of my soul, which needs to share with words. I used marathon training as the driving force, but received feedback on so many of my posts that were non-running related that the personal importance of it grew.

Last week I entered Twitterland in an effort to see what was next on the horizon. I joined Pinterest, but have not yet pinned. What am I waiting for?

The truth is that I am nervous, because failure is not an option. I know what I have to offer. I know that I can do anything if I put my mind to it, this marathon has reinforced that fact. I know I need to write and must somehow find a way to parlay my love into an actual future where I have something to offer my family.

I am lucky to have a husband that provides for us, which allows me to have had this experience at all. But as our children grow I want them to see that their mothers’ work has value, too. And let’s be realistic, nice comments and higher daily bar graphs won’t pay for private schools and dream weddings.

But they can and there are plenty of bloggers who have made it happen.

What would Oprah say?

I am certain she would tell me to be authentic and to keep on working.

That little voice in the back of my head says the same thing, though without as much force and certainty.

There may never be more to my social media experiment than what it is right now. I might have to be okay with twenty-three people liking my facebook page and fifty-three followers on Twitter. I am grateful for each and every click.

I’ve never been the kind of girl to ask to be liked. It leaves too sour a taste in my mouth, so I’ll continue to let the work speak for itself.

The reality of the situation is that I’ve already taken the big leap by starting the blog at all. More than just my big toe is making circles in the social media pool.

In fact, social media is much bigger than a pool with heated water and a smooth tiled bottom. It’s more like an ocean full of unknown and undiscovered entities, fierce and angry sometimes, smooth and beautiful, too. I am currently immersed in the social media ocean and am carefully treading water (using all of my skills as a flotation device).

Now, it’s just sink or swim.

I suppose I needed to write this post as a reminder to myself of something I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned.

I’ve always been a very good swimmer.

Grace and the ocean. One of my very favorite pictures!

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§ 16 Responses to Oprah and The Social Media Ocean

  • Michelle from Alberta, Canada says:

    I’m a mom of two that works and runs (or tries to). I don’t have a facebook or twitter account. I enjoy reading your blog because it reminds me that other moms out there are working towards that balance in life no matter what their day is filled with. I don’t leave many comments but I do enjoy what you have to say. Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts out for us and even though some of us don’t write comments much or follow you on facebook or twitter, we sure do love reading about your successes and struggles. I sure hope my grammar is okay in this comment… 😉 Thank you.

    • Running in Mommyland says:

      Michelle from Alberta, Canada…. you just made my day!

      And…your grammar is perfect!

      Thanks for your kind comments!

  • annewoodman says:

    I understand and relate to what you’re saying… and I’m obviously no millionaire from my blog (yet ; ). But I am actually surprised at the people who are close to me who I have asked directly if they would follow me and haven’t–I approached it thinking I was just trying to be direct, asking for support (instead of wishing inside my head). Yet on the flip side, I have made some great new blogging friends. It’s definitely a mixed bag. I’ll be interested to see what happens!

    • Running in Mommyland says:

      It is such an interesting process and I’ve made some great friends, too!

      By the way, I clicked around your site today and wanted to thank you for all the great information about freelancing. I love that you write for you, but also make a living out of your talent!

  • K.Smitty says:

    What an awesome thought. I think I know what you’re saying. I, too, started my blog with innocent intentions. I wanted nothing more than a place to write. I didn’t care if anyone read it because I wrote for myself and not anyone else. Then something changed: people started following me. Now I start to write for others almost as much as I write for myself and I do find myself wishing I had something amazing to write about that could make it onto WP’s “Freshly Pressed” page and I’m tickled when I get more hits and followers. And don’t we all want to be liked? But like you, I’m not the kind of person to outright ask for it, and to me, that’s a super tacky move on Oprah’s part. I used to love her but have had a bad taste in my mouth for her for a while now. And I have a Pintrest for ME- so I can keep a box of mental notes of the future home I WILL have in a few years when we move and the baby I WILL have (hopefully soon!). I scratch my head when random people start following me, as I only follow people I know. And one store.
    But anyway, I also love your blog for the same reasons others have mentioned: you’re a real mom and you write about real life, and I think that’s pretty cool. So, whatever you decide to do with this blog, I wish you the very best of luck because I plan on sticking around for a while. 🙂

    • Running in Mommyland says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great comments!

      I kind of wondered if I should have posted it at all…was feeling like it sounded a bit too whiny….wearing my anxiety on my sleeve!

      I imagine that all writer’s go through phases where they try to figure out the next step. Social media may not be for me in the end, but I won’t know until I’m fully entrenched. I may be happier quietly writing books or freelancing or something, but the unknown is what is scary. I have to work to get where I’m going, wherever that may be!

      I so appreciate that you could hear where I was coming from!

      Sincerely and with much appreciation!
      Martha

    • Running in Mommyland says:

      Thank you so much for your great thoughts and comments!

      I think all writer’s go through a phase where they question the next step. I am enjoying the social media aspect to my writing, but I might prefer quietly writing books or freelancing or something. Who knows? It’s the unknown that is so scary, especially as my kids get bigger and I worry about what’s next for me.

      I so appreciate that you could hear where I’m coming from.

      Sincerely,
      Martha

  • auntieket says:

    There will be no “quietly writing books”for you!!!!! Once you get one written! It will RESOUND! You have excellent writing talent. and I can hardly wait!!! WRITE, WRITE WRITE> I tell all my students wether in painting or sculpture, you must” draw “every day, I’m thinking the same applies to writers! Just keep on writing. I’m so proud of all your avenues of expression.. I don’t tweet but I have been known to twitter….(that’s a joke as I don’t even have a smart phone!) xoxo

  • Thanks for posting this Martha and I too can relate to what you are saying. I started my blog primarily for me, as a way to document my journey to learn to surf and all the different things that I was learning (otherwise I would forget them) as well as an outlet for me to talk about all the challenges in balancing work/life/family and efforts to nourish my own soul and identity as a mother of 2 little boys. At the same time, we’re all human, right? A big part of the online community and blogging is about connecting with other people and sharing your story – feeling like there are other people who can identify with your story and some of the challenges and successes you may be have. I think that we, or at least I, strive for acknowledgement and recognition. I want to say that page views, followers, and other numbers don’t mean anything to me but I do look at these stats. However, it frustrates me that I can get upset about the number I may see. After all, what number is good enough?

    I am still torn about the social media world. I have found it amazing and supportive in the fshort time that I have been on Twitter but it also brings up the same junior high anxiety of wanting to be liked. I’m also not one to ask people to “like” or follow me. I have been trying to remind myself and going back to the reason why I started blogging rather than getting caught up in trying to be popular or like all the other bloggers out there. I want to be authentic and hopefully my posts will resonate and connect with some people.

  • Heidi from a hood! says:

    You are a very good writer! Enjoyed reading. Oh! And cute feet!!!

  • Liz Brownlie says:

    Martha – you are a great writer and I am thrilled how social media has reconnected us. I can relate to so much of what you say… I am a mother, I am a runner and I am a stickler for grammar. And I truly enjoy the pics you post, especially the ones with a little touch of K’Beach.
    I looked forward to our paths crossing there, again, soon. (crossing again, there, soon?) (crossing again there soon?)

  • I’ve been mulling over this post since I first read it yesterday morning. There is so much in it that is worthy of pondering. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and concerns about the future. I don’t know about making money from blogging, but finding freelance and contract opportunities for using your writing talents is certainly possible. Being someone who has passed on to the other side of the career fence, I can say from experience that being open to new possibilities, being available, and being adaptable with your talents will almost always lead to new doors ready to be opened. You don’t always know where these doors will lead, but when you go through one you usually can’t lose. You are making lots of new networks through your excellent blog; you never know what doors these networks might help open! Keep it going – and thanks! Jane Fritz

    • Running in Mommyland says:

      I’ve been mulling over your thoughtful comments!!!! Thanks for your feedback. Sometimes my writing is stream of consciousness and it takes a few days for even me to figure it out! BTW Loved yesterday’s post…. I look forward to your work!

  • LaVonna says:

    Martha, I’m so excited for you – such nice things have been posted here!!!

    We’re all lovin ya!!

    • Running in Mommyland says:

      I’ve met the nicest people through the blog! It’s amazes me how kind an supportive strangers can be. I say strangers, but I feel like I know them from reading their work!
      xo

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