A friend was remarking on going back and deleting posts from his facebook and instagram accounts, trying to be quieter and more purposeful.  Part of the reason seemed to be a lack of attention to recent photos, etc. and it became painfully obvious to me.

We are more than a collection of our digital posts and data.  We are more than our audience and brand.

Do not value yourself based on the number of likes, etc. you get on your daily stuff.

Unless you are trying to build a business, run for office, or something else that relies on building a brand and pleasing an audience every day, FORGET THAT STUFF.

Be Yourself.  It is Good Enough.

Facebook was designed so friends can keep in touch.  It’s morphed into a place you can easily see as a bragging billboard, or a marketing billboard.  And it’s okay for it to be that in part.

What I love about Facebook is the personal interactions that matter. Connecting with friends I might not see for years and keeping in touch in a low-level way. It’s like a “Hey, How are you?” call without the time disruption.  (We should make more time for those sorts of calls in our lives, by the way, but that’s for another post entirely.) Heck, I even put up with my brother’s trolling my political/policy posts. But at least I know what he thinks and feels, for better or worse.

I keep in touch with extended family. I keep in touch with podcasting friends and neighbors who are now spread all over the world, and sometimes, I actually get to see them in person. And that makes all the difference, right there.  To see a friend or classmate, you haven’t seen in years, but you happen to visit their own, or find out on Facebook they are coming to yours… it’s such a joy to grab lunch, catch up, and see people you really like and enjoy, but may not be as close as you were in another part of your life, when you shared the same physical space more often.  It’s been all pleasant memories and fun, and that’s the joy in living.  It’s much better than just a Christmas card.  It’s another super experience that you will remember and one that makes life richer.

Now for business, I try to bring that human voice and caring to my clients.  I want them to know the business cares about them, and we try to offer helpful stuff, interesting stuff, things worth your time. Because just like friends, I want people to see the business as a part of the fabric of their community.  Sure, they would like you to come and buy stuff, but we’d like the business to be more of a relationship and not just strictly transactional in nature. And the folks who run these businesses mean it- they want to be the folks you like and trust, because it not only helps them grow their business, it feels good to be one of the good guys in the community. It’s a positive cycle.  That’s what we need more of.

Even as a township supervisor, I want people to see our Township Government not as a monolith, but a group of folks in charge of getting things done, with the best interests of the community at heart. I want people to know our roads master and code enforcement office, police chief and township manager, and everyone on their teams as the friends and neighbors they are. Sure, there are things we can and cannot do as the Government, but we’re also trying to be people, doing the best jobs we can, day in and day out.  We make mistakes.  We try to fix them when they happen. We make choices. It’s not easy, but in the end, it’s about so much more than a popularity contest.  It’s about the people we live and work with every day.

When you start everything from the human perspective first, from the kindness and caring perspective first, the other stuff will follow.

The best performances in music, art, acting or anywhere else are always when the person is in the flow, in the moment, and whether or not anyone is watching is secondary.  Sure, the performer is happy when the audience is pleased, but the real satisfaction is knowing the job was well done to begin with.

We need to be that way in our everyday lives.

Sure, there are tons of trite sayings about dance as if no one is looking, but the real message underneath that is to do what you enjoy for you, not for others. Because in the end, they decide for themselves how they feel. You can’t make anyone else feel anything- you can only present what you have to offer and their feelings will take care of themselves.

Do what makes you happy. Please don’t hurt other people in the process.  Be kind. Treat others with respect and the benefit of the doubt. And the rest will mostly take care of itself. Constant self-editing of your overall “profile” is largely time consuming and pointless, since the real you is always clamoring for attention anyway. Just be you, and seriously, I promise, it’s all good.