I did something that made me a bit comfortable this morning. I spent about an hour or so going through the archives of this blog. I read some (many) of the posts from 2006 and early 2007, and I cringed. They were terrible. I was in complete 'this is about me' mode.
But I noticed that toward the end of 2007, the tone of the posts began to change. There were more 'here is what I have learned' and 'what do you think?' posts. When I started blogging, this was a place for me to share my voice. I blogged about what was interesting to me.
Yet as time went by, I found my blogging voice. I connected with my readers, and wanted to change how I created and presented content here. I stopped focusing on 'let me share what's important to me', and started trying to create valuable content for my readers.
But the now wouldn't have come without that first year or so. It took time for me to connect with my readers, and realize what type of content they want to read. And I am still learning and tinkering with the content and experience that I co-create with each of you. Every day I try to improve.
The point is, you will have that same period of 'failure' that I did with your social media efforts. Embrace that as your growing pains that will allow you to improve the way that you use these tools. I recently saw a TED talk from Sir Ken Robinson on children and creativity, and I've embedded it below. He made a wonderful point that children don't fear being wrong. They will 'make a go of it' even if they aren't sure what the 'right way' is. But he suggested that as we grow older, that we become fearful of being wrong, and I think he's mostly right.
When you start blogging, or you start using Twitter, you will 'fail'. You will make mistakes, and these mistakes will be incredible LEARNING experiences for you that will help you move forward.
Embrace your failures with social media. They are the key to your future successes.