Ann Richardson

I sometimes REALLY want to leave social media, as many others have lamented.  There are oodles of things to worry about including:

-am I alienating someone by posting this?

-am I going to look like a new, inexperienced wannabe if I post this question or share this experience?

-do the “right” people even follow me?

-what if this one friend goes rogue on my wall and posts something about a wild party or questionable night out? Or what if a family member chimes in on a sensitive industry discussion and shares intimate information about me that would not be good for my professional reputation?

-I really can’t stand some of the attitudes of others, but don’t want to block them because _______(fill in the blank).

And there is a myriad of other reasons why I’d like to leave social media sometimes.

But why would someone want to reframe the perception and use social media strategically? Here are just a few things for which I have to thank social media:

-I’ve connected with colleagues and formed wonderful friendships, thus making physical gatherings less anxiety-ridden, because I’m sure to know at least a few people (and enough about them to spark conversation.)

-I’ve discovered friends who have special talents, strengths and wealth of “previous life” experiences that could be helpful to me in the future. For example, say I’m narrating a book with a lot of German words and phrases…. I happen to know a warm, generous person who speaks German and can ask for help, when I need it. Or what if I have a tome rife with military vocabulary? I know several helpful colleagues who have been in the military and are knowledgeable with this kind of thing. *NOTE:  please remember that whenever you’re asking for help that is more involved or lengthy than a minute or two, that their time is valuable, just like yours is. Offer to compensate them, and even if they say it’s not necessary, maybe send them a gift card or something. Good will goes a LONG WAY. Be cognizant of their generosity.

-I’ve learned about best practices when setting up a recording space by following someone else’s chronicled experience with theirs.

-I’ve learned how to trouble-shoot my recording chain when gremlins break into my setup.

-I’ve learned about software options and plugins that can help me submit much better-sounding files to my clients and how and when to use it.

I’ve had clients -SEVERAL- reach out to me because of my posts.

-I’ve been able to volunteer and give back when I saw a need.

-I’ve learned that differing opinions can be very eye-opening, educating, and valuable.

-I’ve found roommates for conventions and industry events where I’ve traveled and had to stay overnight. I’ve also learned about safety and supporting others when they find themselves in questionable situations.

-I’ve learned about changes to casting sites where I keep a profile.

-I’ve learned some peculiarities about posting and respecting clients’ wishes, as well as etiquette when posting about others’ work, including authors and fellow narrators.

-I’ve learned how someone can tank their career and reputation with a few keystrokes.

And this list goes on, LONGER than the list of misgivings.  I try to maintain a positive, engaging presence on social media, by looking back over my posts from time to time with an eye toward “what kinds of messages am I sending out? Am I complaining all the time? Do I post thoughtfully and provide value? Would I want to work with me? Would I want to be my friend?”  So when I feel angst that I’ve spent too much time down the FaceBook rabbit hole, or I get perturbed by posts/threads/others not following group rules/creepy stalkers/inexperienced people distributing bad advice, I try to dial it back, unfollow/block or leave people or groups that need it, and then remember the good things that materialize through being an active participant on social media.