My guess is that you saw the title of this post and thought to yourself, "No shit Sherlock!", but there is more to it, I promise.
Actually, I can't really promise anything. I don't really plan most of these posts out, they are more off the cuff and (I assume) are more for me than for anyone else as they aren't really being seen by anyone at the moment. Maybe someday there will be groups of people clamoring to see the next post from the future best-selling author that I am, but that day is not today!
Anyway, onto to main point.
Lately I have been really focusing on where my life is, where it is going and where I imagined it would go 20 years ago when I had the world in front of me. I've been through a lot in the last 2 decades, and every experience has shaped me into who I am today. When I was 16, I still had aspirations of playing college football, or maybe driving in the NASCAR Winston Cup series, or if neither of those worked out, I would be a country music star a la Garth Brooks. I had a lot of dreams and as far as I was concerned the only barrier to achieving those dreams was time.
Fast forward to my mid 30's and I am still a dreamer, though with a few different dreams and some perspective that I didn't have as a teen. The idea of playing college ball was replaced with having a family. Being a NASCAR driver? That turned into a trip to Iraq as part of the army. Standing on stage and singing in front of thousands? That became a career in IT.
My dreams now mainly consist of a weekend where my wife and I can both sleep in, with a dash of hope that someone will buy my debut novel and the tiniest possibility that I might get some subscribers on YouTube. Things have really changed, but should they?
Why shouldn't I dream of making it big as an author, or YouTuber, or both? Why should I be discouraged by the lack of vision of other people? Ever since I was laid off last year and decided to try and make my own business work, I have faced nothing but negativity from most of the people in my life. I have had so many people either hint at or straight up tell me that I need to just go find another job with a company like everyone else.
When I challenge people who have told me this, I am faced with either a cold shoulder or a million reasons why I am doomed to fail. My guess is that the reason for this is less about the fact that they think I am going to fail and more about the fact that they were not able to achieve their dreams and so think that I shouldn't go after mine. This has all caused me to re-evaluate my social media presence over the past year or so and brought me to the conclusion that the best thing to do is step away from the personal side of social media.
Why this conclusion you ask?
Social media makes things so much more complicated and really muddies the waters where relationships are concerned. If I have 500 "friends" on Facebook, but none of them really know me, do I really have any friends at all? Over the years, I added people I knew on Facebook pretty often, to the point where I had close to 150 connections on the site, but it never really felt like I had any relationships with those people.
As time moved on and I started to focus on my YouTube channel, photography and writing, I started to ask those people that I knew on Facebook to share my posts, like my page, just give me a little bump to help me get started. This was where it became very apparent that those people weren't really interested in doing any of that.
The number of interactions I would get on a given post varied, but I was lucky to see 1 or 2 "likes", the rare comment and the even rarer share. One reason for this that a friend of mine mentioned was that those people "just weren't interested in the YouTube stuff or anything else". This reasoning is super flawed in my eyes because, at least to me, if you actually care about someone and want to show you are there for them then you sometimes participate in things you aren't over interested in OR in 2022/2023 you share a post you don't really care about that much because other people who may be more interested would then see it.
I would watch as other people in my personal network would ask others to share their posts, receiving shares, comments and reactions that would rival the numbers of a small content creator, then those same people would completely ignore my posts. While I don't really care about the numbers, per se, I do care about showing those who you say you support that you are actually there for them. For me, it boiled down to what kind of people do I want in my personal life and what kinds of relationships do I want?
The answer, as is usual with life, was complicated.
The first thing I started doing was cutting down on my "friends" list on Facebook and backing off the personal posts. Over about the course of a year and a half I went from close to 150 people to less than 20. The past couple of months have seen that number drop to less than 5, and I don't post anything personal on social media anymore.
My main purpose moving forward on social media will be to use it to grow my business and mainly just professional reasons. I've had to learn to separate the personal and professional lives I lead, while still being myself on all platforms. The biggest result of this is that anyone who finds my YouTube channel, website, Twitch, Twitter, etc. will find me being myself, but only a piece of me is present. Those who I have a personal relationship with get more of that, through phone calls and hanging out in person.
This change has helped a lot with my mental health over the past few months, allowing me the chance to give more of myself to the people who really want to be involved in my life. I don't have to put on a show for anyone or act cordially with someone that I barely know just to avoid saying or doing something that might upset them.
I said in my previous post that I planned to post more often, and while I haven't hit the post a week that I initially wanted to, having a couple posts in a single month is a start. The truth is that things have been really hectic for me over the past couple of months and I am trying to adjust to a new schedule and get things working so I can focus on what I really want to focus on. Between writing, photography, kids, housework, going back to school and trying to promote my business in the ways that are going to work the best, there just isn't enough hours in the day! I am starting to get into a more stable groove, but these things take time.
I do want to mention the shop here on the website where you can buy things like the eBook version of my debut novel, The Journal, as well as prints of some of my best photography work. A paperback and a special hardcover edition of The Journal will also be coming later this year, so keep an eye on that.
I would also be remise if I didn't talk a little bit about the Bearheart Nation Book Club. This new monthly plan allows those who join to read not only The Journal on the website here, but also original short horror stories I will be releasing every month or so AND a postcard sent out each month. The postcard alone is worth the $4.99 as it is a custom image I have captured over the prior month, and you can't get them anywhere but here or Patreon.
That's all I have for this post. I hope you all have a great rest of your day and I'll see you in the next one!