There are a couple of basic ways we tend to view life’s journey: Either you’re in control or you’re along for the ride. The former can place undo blame on oneself while the latter leads to complacency.
It’s with this in mind that we strategically dabble between action and acceptance — “I should fight for a new job because my current job is not my passion” vs “My current job sustains me and is an inevitable timescale marker that will lead me to the next inevitable thing”. If a person subscribes to either notion entirely, there’s little chance of reaching happiness or success.
And so it follows that breaking one’s routine is a necessary component in realizing breakthroughs.
OK… But what does this have to do with social media? Well, I’m glad you asked (or at least I’m pretending you did). Simply put — Tweeting becomes routine. And unless you mix up your approach, you’re likely to experience stagnant or dissipating results.
Here’s a story that helps highlight my point:
While Tweeting about my usual interests (sports, technology, city life) during lunch, a news story caught my eye. As you probably remember, Tupac Shakur’s hologram appeared on stage during the Coachella music festival in mid-April. After viewing the video, I was fairly disturbed. Twitter was abuzz with reaction. And while I considered joining the conversation, I stuttered on the following logic: “I have nothing new to add here. This isn’t a topic in-line with the interests of my followers. I should continue curating along my usual path.”
But that notion only lasted an instant. Fleeing from the tweet-topic cage in which I’d felt momentarily entrapped, I shared the first thing that came to mind.
Sure, this thought was crude and devoid of eloquence (and something I would only share on a personal account). But it was also straightforward and honest.
The retweets began rolling in: First from some close friends, then from a CBS sports reporter, then from Touré. After a few minutes, I’d been retweeted over 100 times. And then this:
— Courtney Garcia (@courtgarcia) April 16, 2012
One word: Really?!
But there were other words, too, including: Fortuitous, Opportunistic, Hilarious, Timely.
I’d just been quoted, along with Questlove and other prominent voices, on the lead story of an MSNBC.com article simply because I decided to speak my mind wherein I’d normally refrain. An off-hand comment experienced massive reverberation in a digital instant.
Because Twitter feeds are linear platforms and begin to appear as people (this Twitter account talks about X, Y, and Z), it’s easy to limit their diversity and remain within the confines of the niche audience you’ve already built. But if you ride the same wave for too long, it eventually breaks, and you’re left treading water. By remaining open-minded and occasionally bold in your approach, you create new packets of information that serve as keys to unlocking new channels.
This isn’t rocket science — tweeting my thoughts about a popular topic was not ground-breaking — it’s just a friendly reminder to take the shackles off your fingertips. The best way to find social media opportunity often starts with dabbling between action and acceptance, between testing new waters and appeasing that which already exists. By employing a fluid philosophy, you’re guaranteed to stumble onto opportunity otherwise avoided.
Or, simply put: Sometimes in life, you have to hit “send”.