Social Stamina: Sustaining Our Staying Power
What Keeps You Coming Back For More?
Although the answer to that will vary depending on the subject, chances are the internal feeling tone will be similar no matter what.
For a sweet-tooth it’s a secret recipe for a sinful dessert that never lets you down and the yummy reward of tasting it or serving it to people you love. It could be breaking through the barrier of a daunting physical challenge or work process that gives you the deep satisfaction of something completed in good stead. We love positive results and we want to repeat them.
What Drives Us In Social Media?
In the Social Media landscape, any number of things might keep us coming back- cultivating our social stamina. Hopefully, it’s not merely a sense of duty or pressure but rather a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment, connection. A love for learning. Or a pressing urge to find that last little bit of information you’re seeking so you continue searching and asking questions. You may want to participate in a stimulating conversation or feel compelled to join into a debate and have your voice heard. You could have a need to achieve that won’t let you rest until your actions prove effective. Or you simply have a burning motivation to make sure your message gets out.
Is It Gratification Or Excitement – Habit Or Addiction – Peer Pressure – Escape Or Entertainment?
Likely, each of the above at various times. Regardless, we tend to get hooked.
It might be an emotional gain of some sort. Like getting the hoped for response from people you care about and admire. Perhaps it’s a dawning realization that others are listening and gaining respect for you, giving you the encouragement you need.
It’s possible you’re looking for substantiation that you are part of something big. And then you realize you are, in fact, part of something big and you don’t want to miss out on anything. Or it’s simply feeling like you’re home amongst your tribe. Take your pick, but I’ll venture to say that dopamine or oxytocin rush are among the ingredients.
And that’s the receiving end. Giving gives it back thrice-fold.
So Why Do We Keep At This? And How Do We Do It Since We All Know It’s Not Always A Piece Of Cake?
We are all in it for something. Hoping to satisfy a need- whether personal or business. And those needs may be different at different times.
Your efforts in Social Media might begin with a somewhat hit or miss trial and error campaign where slowly but surely, something starts to gel and you get a glimmer of why this matters and how best to make it work for you.
Not unlike gambling, it’s the recurring and consistent hope that we can and will win in some way if we just keep at it. We bank on the dream that if we can muster some chops, we’ll get more of whatever it is we’re looking for. We can feel it in our bones. We hope for the best. And when we get that small reward? Yep. That’s right. We come back for more. And then some more again.
Did You Say Failure?
Naturally, we can’t expect consistent linear gain. Our time on Social Media will have its ups and its downs. When we fall short or fail, we’ll experience that all too familiar stomach dropping disappointment, doubt may creep in and we worry about what we’re up to; am I wasting my time? Am I going about this the wrong way?
But then that same failure, perceived or real, will tickle at our consciousness, whispering that if we can just try a little harder, give it a little more time, things will shift in our favor. Our hope is that we will learn more, become experienced, get smarter, more facile in our communication and at some point soon arrive fresh with just the right tools, actions and behaviors for succeeding. Figure out our magic bullet. Sound familiar?
We never really know the impact we are having on others. We can measure, count and analyze to our hearts content but the real effect we’re having on real people may always remain illusive. With this in mind, do not give up if you become discouraged.
Keep plugging away, speaking up, asking questions, offering your help when you can; joining in.
Here is a real life example of an impact I made but didn’t learn about for well over a decade. It was a stunning example for me that we can be oblivious to the mark we make, the trail we might leave behind. And it’s only through the generosity of people unknown to me, that I found out that I was, on the other hand, known to them. We all have examples of this in our lives whether we’ve been made aware of them or not.
Similarly, we can’t precisely measure the positive impact our actions on social media are having for our business or search ranking. We tend to trust that it is, however, because usually, we have enough indications to keep us hoping.
This Is A [Not Very Well Disguised] Pep Talk
When I find myself in the spot of wanting to feed that internal hunger that craves connection, recognition, success, reassurance that I’m part of something big and important, and that my participation matters, that people care if I’m around, it sparks an awakening of my doggedness, my compulsion to make things feel or be just right, with do-overs and trying again. Persistence. Determination. Steadfastness. Those all-important other ingredients for sticking with something that can, at times, be hard to do; hard to sustain, even treacherous.
Take Google Plus, the platform I consider to be the most exciting and surprising in its rewards; fully satisfying when things are going well. We each arrive unsure. It can be hard to get our bearings – if you’d like some insight and suggestions about that read this article on Google Plus-ing with a twist (and other how-to resources).
We each find exactly our own, singular way. We gain a little traction and eventually more traction. We develop meaningful relationships, even grow to love the people we meet and connect with, good things start to happen, we learn cool stuff, new horizons open and we get excited. We feel inspired. It’s happened to me and I’ll bet it’s happened to you, even if just for a moment. That’s all it takes to keep us hungry for more.
Nope, It’s Not Always Pretty
The truth: I’m all too aware of the sensation and the thoughts that arise when things don’t go the way I had hoped. Like others, I’ve had the notion of pulling back when that happens to me, entertained thoughts of re-evaluating my purpose and strategy; considering a repositioning, adjusting my approach. And then that tickle comes creeping back in- usually almost embarrassingly quickly, actually. I have no resolve when it comes to backing off.
It could be an addiction. (said with only partial tongue in cheek) I experience the classic signs, and maybe you do too – those hallmark qualities: impaired control over behavior, preoccupation with the substance (whatever it is), continued use despite (sometimes) unwanted consequences, tolerance and withdrawal and even denial.
I know it’s feasible to continue moving forward because I’ve done it once, I’ve done it countless times. It will go better next time. I learn something either way.
Are There Answers?
I don’t have concrete answers for tolerating the unavoidable ups and downs. We each have our own coping mechanisms and looking at the questions is really what matters most.
Understanding our own unique drive and what keeps us coming back may be the closest to an answer there is.
As we move along in time we do get smarter, we do get more facile, we do learn our way. If you are discouraged, overwhelmed, disappointed or disillusioned, you are not alone. We’ve all been there. And we will each visit that place again and again. It’s unavoidable.
How do we tackle those obstacles? How do we find our way around the rough spots so we can keep coming back for more? How can we support each other through to the next layer of excitement and encouragement? That’s what we want to continually be considering and striving for.
What’s your approach? How do you sustain your stamina and keep coming back for more? I’d love to know.
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Pre-Remix image from iStock, Remix: Gina Fiedel