Monday, January 27, 2014

Social Media Monday—They’re People—NOT Numbers!

by Edie Melson

They're people—NOT numbers!
As writers, we all know the importance of building an online following. We spend time crafting valuable blog posts with SEO rich headlines. We follow others on social media, working to connect. All the while keeping a sharp eye on those numbers that define success or failure. It’s easy to get caught up in those numbers.

But the truth is, they’re people—NOT numbers!

We even begin to judge the worth of what we have to say by those numbers. Let me remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why you sweat over a keyboard, struggling to find the right word. Why you risk rejection by submitting those carefully crafted words to editors, agents and contest judges.

We’re doing it because we want to make a difference in the world around us—a world made up of people. If all we’re looking for is higher numbers, we’ve missed the point. We’ve set a course that follows certain frustration and ultimate failure. So if it’s not for the numbers, then what’s the point? Why even bother with social media?

The point is the individuals who can be
impacted by what we write.
The point is what the numbers represent…the point is the individuals who can be impacted by what we write…challenged by what we say…changed by what we share.

When I get caught up chasing the numbers, the significance of what I’m doing diminishes. But when I step away from the race and concentrate on who I’m writing for and who I’m writing to, things fall back into place.

I’m first and foremost a writer. For me, social media is a tool. It’s the means to an end. It helps me find my audience. But when I begin to measure my worth as a writer through the numbers of social media, I’ve gotten off course.

My worth is not determined by my numbers.
My worth is not determined by my numbers.

For me, the blog posts that mean the most are rarely the ones that generate the highest numbers. The ones that mean the most are those that help someone, that connect the dots for an individual who’s hurting or help someone who’s frustrated finally see the light. It’s when I pen those words that I feel true satisfaction in my calling.

So how do I avoid the numbers race? I’ve come up with a few things to keep me on track.
  • I quit talking about myself on social media—completely. Instead I work hard to help someone else succeed or reach a new level. This takes my focus off me.
  • I volunteer. I offer to write an article or blog post for someone who doesn’t have the same size audience as me.
  • I issue an invitation. I ask someone who doesn’t have as much experience and/or exposure to contribute to my blog.  
Limit your time on social media.
  • I watch the clock. I limit my time on social media to a strict thirty minutes a day. With that, I don’t have time to obsess over my numbers.
  • I reveal something new about myself. I know this seems like the opposite of the first bullet, but it's really not. I'm talking about being vulnerable, not saying come look at me. I've discovered that I make those important heart-to-heart connections when I open up and I'm vulnerable. When I revert to slick slogans and polished posts, I'm really just hiding.

Even when I follow my own advice, there are times when the people I’ve invested in move on. They may stop following me on social media and/or unsubscribe from my blog. How do I deal with the disappointment that inevitably follows?
  • I remember it’s not about me. My first thought is always to wonder what I’ve done wrong. Truthfully, I can only think of a few instances when it’s really been something I did. On the few times when I’ve contacted someone to ask why they’ve moved on, I’ve learned that their focus has changed.
  • I remind myself that we all have limited time. Perhaps the person leaving is reprioritizing, and for that I’m glad. We’re all trying to do too much. I applaud anyone taking steps to get control of life.
  • Finally, I take time to pray for the person who left. I ask God to bless them and to let me know if there’s anything I need to readjust.

Social media is the means to an end—a way
to reach the hearts and minds of our audience.
Social media is an important part of our toolbox as twenty-first century wordsmiths, but it’s not the focus of what we do. It’s so easy to get caught up in the race to the highest numbers and forget why we’re doing it. This media driven world we live in ebbs and flows. One second we’re on top, the next at the bottom of the pile. When we measure our worth through charts and graphs generated by numbers we’re certain to fail. But when we look at the lives that are impacted by our words, success is guaranteed.

I’d love the opportunity to learn from you. What do you do to keep your focus on the words and not the numbers?

Don't forget to join the conversation!

They're people—NOT numbers! Social Media Mentor @EdieMelson reminds us of the reason we write. (Click to Tweet)

When we begin judging the worth of what we write by social media numbers, we've missed the point. (Click to Tweet)


  1. Hi Edie -

    This is a great reminder. It's easy to get caught up in promoting our books and building a platform. Readers let us know when we're veering off course - by staying away.

    My goal is to always provide a take away for the reader - something I learned as a devotional writer.

    Susan :)

    1. Susan, good thoughts! Thanks so much for dropping by, Blessings, E

  2. This is REALLY great, Edie.

    One of the things that helps me is remembering the times when I wrote random blog posts that were for me. I might've started out writing them thinking they were for someone else and would be entertaining or inspiring or draw readers or whatever--but no, God had something he was doing in MY heart as I wrote. Which I realize is pretty me-centered which kind of goes against the whole point of your post. LOL! But really, those moments encourage me because they remind me that the writing journey and ALL that comes along with it, even blogging and social media and marketing, all of it is about God drawing me closer to him, changing me and then hopefully using whatever words I write to do the same for others. And if that's the end goal, I don't have to worry about the numbers...

    1. Melissa, I don't think that goes against the focus of my post at all! I think it's vital that we follow our hearts and write what's important to us. When we chase what others think - even if it's unselfishly - we can get into trouble. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! Blessings, E

  3. Edie, this is so helpful. As an unpublished writer with a fan page for my children's book series, I often become caught up in numbers. God patiently reminds me that it is my job to stay close to Him and post what He desires my page and leave the rest up to Him. Just because I don't see oodles of responses, does not mean He is not ministering to my peeps through me...thank you for reminding me of this, too. God bless your week and your ministry. You are a blessing indeed! :)

    1. Rene, thank you for YOUR encouragement! I know you're blessing your readers, stay the course. Blessings, E

  4. Edie, I SO needed this today. I've been in a swivet lately over increasing numbers- when what I need to do is make real connections. And, of course, write! I went to a writer's conference this weekend that helped to realign my perspective- my first love is writing! Thanks for reinforcing that realiziation!

    1. Julia, we all need the reminder. It's hard to stay focused on the calling. Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

  5. Truly an inspiring post, Edie. Turn the focus to where it needs to be for all of us. Well done.

  6. Thank you Edie! This is such a struggle. Praying for grace in the process. I DON'T WANT THIS TO BE ABOUT ME! I have found that sharing others' posts and retweeting always brings me joy. My goal is to promote 3 other people each day. I want the ratio to be 3 others to 1 me promo.