“You rock on Twitter, Franziska!” Recently, I received this flattering compliment by an acquaintance. I felt so happy about the fact that my passion shows and that she took the time to acknowledge that. This is not a given.
At the same time, I felt “caught” somehow. A couple of weeks ago something happened that put me off center. And it basically turned me off of tweeting entirely. Receiving a compliment for something that is no longer true made me feel like a “fraud”, like someone who was acting on false pretenses.
Why is that, though? I think it is largely due to me being “optimized” for maximum accountability. Nowadays, it is overarchingly to myself, meaning that my opinion of myself matters to me most. The weight I give to feedback from others largely depends on my relationship to them. If they are important to me, I place high value to their insights. If a person only appears on my periphery I don’t regard their comment as having much of any importance.
Accountability should, in my eyes, be seen from a completely different angle. In the case of my lack of zest for tweeting, I consider it crucial to share the struggle. To talk about why things work out or why not. I have always been vocal about why it is damaging to only mention the good stuff, the successes, the triumphs. It makes people feel bad about themselves. Because we hide the not so nice things. Being your own PR agency is necessary and good as a communicator. Private censorship should only go so far as to achieve maximum harmony for all, though. And that excludes talking about the downsides!
Not so long ago, a contact told me that my life seemed fabolous! How anyone could not envy me was beyond her. I set the record straight and told her of my challenges. She quickly sobered up and realized that not everything was as shiny as it glittered on Twitter.
Startup founders have fuckup nights. What do communicators have? I guess it falls under the realm of “public confessions on one’s own blog” if we look at this article. I believe in merciless honesty here. If I can help one colleague by letting them know what hinders me they will know that not everything is going to be picture-perfect all the time. And it will enable them to be more relaxed and thus more productive.
The funny thing is that, in 2018, I rediscovered my love for Twitter. All of a sudden, I was able to put all those thoughts that keep occupying my mind out there! How amazing! I discussed work, life and the balance in between. I found great contacts and a supportive network. Not once did I receive a hate message. The occasional off remark was easily to be taken in stride. Having a public persona, it comes with the territory.
Twitter was my pride and source of strength. I found companionship if you will. And then… boom! Something happened that basically changed the process of tweeting for me. Before that, communicating was so natural to me that, in my head, tweets were forming out of their own volition. I only had to write them down.
Did I approach this strategically? Sure! However, not everything needs to be a slave to likes, followers and reach. For instance, my tweets on afrobeats never received much attention nor interaction. I still had to put them out there, simply for the love of the message and what it could bring to readers.
When my tweet circles got out of order, the texts still formed in my head. I am, and always will be, an exuberant person with lots of opinions. However, in the moment of writing them up, a big hurdle appeared in my head. It was as if something had clamped down on my brain-hand coordination. I could not bring myself to move my fingers. It was painful to communicate, to say the least. Yet it was painful not to do so.
What was I to make of this? I decided then and there that I would take a complete break. Two weeks of radio silence with the goal to clear my head and heart.
Once the two weeks were up, I did not feel renewed. Rather, my zest had completely disappeared. What before brought me great fulfillment did not interest me much this or that way. Moreover if and when I did have the urge, the hurt had not diminished. Being the professional that I am, in this moment, I separated between job-related and personal tweeting.
The good news is that in the former category, my passion still shines through even if hitting the actual send button does not feel natural any longer. In the latter category, I have not yet overcome my current blockade.
Does this mean I will never again tweet about personal interest or opinion? I don’t yet know. Time will tell.
What I do know is that it in every process, in every struggle, there is natural progression. What I hate today, I might love tomorrow. And viceversa. Nothing is static.
- Not everything is as glossy as it looks.
- We all have ups and downs.
- Most of the time, things will work out in the end.
- We can actively contribute to de-stress and realign ourselves.
For now, I am seeing the love come out of my network for some of the things that I do. And I hope that by associating Twitter with that, I can gain back my joy for it. Because at the end of the day, it is one of my great loves in life. How amazing is this opportunity to talk to the whole wide world?
Use it and use it wisely. We all benefit from knowing about the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the easy and the challenging.
If and when I am back in full force you will definitely see it. Until then, my outlet is this blog. Because, no matter the weather, I cannot not communicate.