Pushing Buttons!

What is it about some things that are just personally challenging? For me, right now, it’s building a social media platform. “I’m an author,” I grouse to myself, “not a computer geek.” I have numerous freelance articles and academic studies that have received flattering compliments— but the one novel I’ve finished (and the two in progress, the one in the wings and the multiple series sketched out on paper) can’t go anywhere until I have a wide platform with several million followers. Okay, that’s exaggerating— the followers, not the platform. The old method of traditional publishing— write something great, show it to an agent/ publisher and move forward— is gone. Today one still needs to write something great, but you also have to have a marketing plan, which includes said platform. That’s before any agent or publisher will even begin to work with you.

I am not technologically savvy. You might have already guessed that. The easiest way to get a naughty word past my lips is to put me in the position of dealing with a tech-based problem— not only will I not understand it, but I’ll have even less desire to do so. I can set up electronics— my stereo is old-school and the newest devices usually have color-coded attachments (“Connect the yellows, then the reds, then the greens…”) It’s when I have to figure out why in the heck my smart phone is using up ALL of our family’s monthly data allowance (in five days!) that I begin to panic. Or why the digital art pad my youngest daughter received for her birthday won’t work on her tablet; after three days of my fighting with it, my husband wants to know why I’m so “testy”. (Turns out, anything that has to do with Amazon is “special” and won’t play well with more plebeian brands.)

So. Here I am, having to build a social media platform. Oh, I’ve had a FaceBook page for years, but I seldom accept “friend” requests. Not because I don’t like the people asking to be my friend— quite the contrary— most of them are good people. And, also, who doesn’t want to be asked to be someone’s friend? That’s a compliment in my book (no pun intended). But today, the definition of “friend” has morphed; I’m still of the belief that a “friend” is someone close to your heart (some closer than others) while the connections that are popping up on social media are more likely to be “acquaintances”. A quaint, old-fashioned distinction which gives more meaning and strength to the word “friend”. Anyone who knows me will tell you, mine is not a cold, distant personality— pretty much the opposite, in fact. I embarrass my children by striking up conversations with absolute strangers if I’m left too long in a line. I pass along helpful information (“There are baby elk in the middle of the road, just ahead!”) and my curiosity gets the best of me at times (“Where did you get those shoes??”). But allowing someone access to my personal life— not to mention connections to my children!— well, that’s a bit too close if I don’t know you.

My solution? Wall-off my personal page and open a new, professional page. I’m also now on Twitter, Instagram and GETTR. My long-lived, seldom-used LinkedIn account is seeing new life and I’m about to join Parler (properly pronounced “par-lay”; it’s FRENCH, meaning “to speak”… That’s gonna bug me…) and post short videos on YouTube for my non-fiction work. The problem is, I have to LEARN all of the different nuances for each site. So, my gag reflex is working overtime every time I look at my phone (which now has so many apps that I’m out of storage space— how do I fix that?) or my laptop. And I LOVE my phone and laptop. They’re almost friends!

So, there I am. I’ve revamped my website and think maybe I’ve connected all of the different sites so “I can be found”, I just need to push whatever button that will send out an info-blast to my contacts, begging them (without being too pitiful), to pass “me” along to their contacts and on down the road I hope (and, pray) to go! All I’ve got to do is push that button.

The button…It’s ready. Ready to go! It’s flashing green. Needs to be pushed. Take a deep breath… and…

Here’s my question: What button do you find hard to push? What’s your personal challenge right now? Share it, if you like— maybe we’ll discover that we face a lot of the same challenges. Maybe we can help each other find the courage to push that button!

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