Shame: The fear that others will judge us unworthy of truly connecting with them.
It holds us back every day from taking risks, of discovering and embracing our passions. What if I look like a weirdo? What if no one talks to me any more? What if everyone starts looking at me like, “Oh – you’re that guy.“?
The thing, as a lady who goes by “Shameless Maya” discovered over the course of a year of social media experimentation, is that most of what we’re afraid of isn’t real. She started the Shameless Challenge in the name of becoming as confident in herself as those around her, then challenged others to follow in her footsteps.
And as someone who’s let shame hold himself back more often than he can count, I’m finding the Shameless Challenge rather tempting. But what’s really involved?
I discovered Shameless Maya while searching for advice on creating videos for YouTube a few days ago. Her video on editing lost me at “Final Cut Pro,” but I was still curious – this lady, who posts style, health and beauty tips on her YouTube channel, has a lot of brass.
I explored further and discovered that Maya, a.k.a. Maya Washington, was originally a lot more
shy restrained than the raw self in the video I first encountered.
And that was what really caught me. See, most of my encounters with people willing to help me get better at marketing are already at the end of the process themselves. I cant help but look at folks like Tim Reid or Julien Smith, and think, “Were they ever like me?”
Watching Maya in the video where she set herself “the Shameless Challenge” in April of 2012 gave me that feeling that she started roughly where I am now: Lots of talent, but little ability to stand up for it (this confident and pretty woman even self-identified as a “social turtle”).
And thus, Maya commenced a year-long barrage of daily, weekly and monthly social media updates intended to get her in the habit of presenting herself as awesome.
The Goal and Objectives of the Shameless Challenge
My main goal for this challenge is the same as Maya’s: Following through on accepting that I’m awesome and presenting myself accordingly.
To show folks that – to paraphrase Dave Chappelle quoting Kanye West – my life is dope and I do dope things.
The method, therefore, is to be as me as I can possibly be on social media. To push outside my comfort zone and my fear of judgment in particular without trying to damage myself or anyone else.
Maya’s specific objectives were:
- 10 tweets and 3 Instagram photos per day.
- 4 blog posts per week.
- 1 YouTube video every 2 weeks, with the aim of eventually going weekly.
(These aren’t fixed; Maya made sure to review on a regular basis and adjust what she was doing based on the results she got.)
To me, that seems like a lot at first blush – but let’s break it down:
Thirteen Daily Updates on Social Media
Bloody heck! Ten tweets per day! I don’t do that much interesting stuff! I don’t even have an Instagram account! Am I going to have to start taking lots of selfies?!
Once the panic settles down, the numbers seem more do-able:
Even discounting the day job, I do enough stuff (hanging out with Vickie, comic-ing, blogging, house-and-gardening) to generate a handful of tweets each day. Add the three Instagram photos to that and I’m likely to be at least halfway there (the four-times-weekly blog updates and fortnightly YouTube videos will also help).
Then there’s retweets and other shares. A quick scan of my following feed on Twitter will surely generate more than enough RT-worthy gems to make up for any shortfall. Plus YouTube automatically sends a tweet on my behalf as soon as I like a video.
If it comes down, I can always mine my archive of posts on here and Paid to Play for interesting stuff.
Another bonus I have is Tweriod, which gives me a fairly solid idea of when best to tweet / schedule my tweets for (gotta love HootSuite too).
Step One: Get an Instagram account.
Step Two: Start taking photos.
Well, I have le smartphone (provided it doesn’t lock up on me as is its current wont – gotta see the Telstra Shop about a factory reset) so hardware is no problem.
I live in Cairns, which has a fair bit of photo fodder (long as I try to avoid getting repetitive; it’s a small town, after all), and Vickie and I have a lovely big backyard, so there’s plenty of opportunity for nature photos and me
sweating my arse off doing yardwork developing my fitness, self-confidence and land-care skills.
Then there are the comic strips. A quick doodle at lunch and / or in the evening would make a good “strip progress update” photo.
Still, I may have to resort to selfies – which I have the feeling merit a post of their own…
Weekly Web Log Posts
Four web posts a week? That’s a lot of content!
One solution: Break my rambling posts (like, say, this one) into series of shorter posts. (I can’t do it for this one, though; I want to talk about the whole concept before / at the start, not during).
Three a week also seems like the magic number for webcomic creators; most of the non-syndicated strips I’ve ever read have a Monday / Wednesday / Friday (US time) schedule.
I’ve been hot and cold on the idea of making my own web comic for a while. Right at the moment I’m on a roll, with a new strip having gone up two hours ago, another one ready for Monday / Tuesday and a third in the post-scan production pipeline.
Fortnightly YouTube Videos
As you likely already know, I’ve been playing with YouTube recently, with two videos up in the space of a week. I record using a Logitech C615 Webcam and edit with Windows Movie Maker; production time about as much as a podcast episode (over an hour). Maya even has a great example for a monthly topic: A progress update.
Speaking of podcasts, I might just fudge that YouTube rule to include episodes of The Paid to Play Podcast (when I make another episode). Heck, now that I have a decent web cam, I might even do future episodes as video interviews on YouTube and separate the audio track out for the sound-only podcast.
The Shame Factor: Doubt and Fear
Content. Content, content, content.
And not just any content. Self-promoting content. Kanye West content.
Look, I know I said I’m awesome in that 2014 wrap-up v-log I did, but isn’t this taking it too far?
Just how much self-awesomeness can I create for either four blog posts or three web comic strips plus a blog post per week?! Just what do I do for two YouTube videos a month?
Three comic strips per week?! How the hell do I come up with story ideas? Do I
join find a community (even though forums and other groups really aren’t my bag)?
On videos: I don’t have the hardware or software to produce gaming videos like, say, Girl Germs, AussieGamerChick or Peter Hollens. I’m also not that enthusiastic about video gaming (although chatting with you while playing Alien: Isolation is a tempting idea).
On hunting eyeballs: Maya herself says it’s “all about the numbers” in her first monthly update. Is that what it boils down to? Pestering people to like and subscribe?
On selfies: I’m not a male and / or female model. Who’s gonna wanna see a selfie of me?
On the whole thing: Aren’t I going to look like a complete wanker taking photos and making tweets at the drop of a hat? Isn’t this the opposite of starting small?
Who’s gonna watch / read my updates? Who’s gonna like them? Who’s gonna care?!
What if I let this take over my life? What if I spend so much time thinking about the next blog, post, tweet or video that I forget to see the people and things around me as anything but fodder for the next chunk of self-promotion?
What if I look like a weirdo? What if no one talks to me any more? What if everyone starts looking at me like, “Oh – you’re that guy.“?
What’s Vickie going to think of all this?!
Fighting the Doubts
I’ve already come up with some answers to the above worries, but I think they’re worth breaking out into stand-alone posts, so I’ll save them for later.
But I’m sick of letting fear put me off of trying something new. If it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work; I can move on to other things. I doubt trying it will lose me any real friends, and I reckon that Vickie is sick of me using her as an excuse to not do stuff.
And on the whole Kanye Westness of the endeavour – well, there’s only one Kanye West, and he is not me. So maybe “awesome” or “dope” are the wrong words here.
Maybe the right word is “worthy.”
If there’s one I’m sick of, it’s thinking I’m not worthy, and if this Challenge can help change that, then I’m going all in, baby.
Finally and ultimately, the only true way to fight the doubts is to start.
Which means today.
Wish me luck?
What are you doing?
How often do you feel like a “social turtle”?
When have you gone all “Kanye West” on your life? How did it help you feel better about yourself?
How rigorous are you with updating your social media presences?
Featured image from Shameless Maya’s Tumblr. Maya in April 2013 image from YouTube.