Everyone starts on social media for a reason. Like many of you, I had something to sell. But I found a community. I found several. And, so, I stayed. Now, it’s my livelihood and my tribe.
Let me tell you my story in the video below and, hopefully, encourage you, too.
My Social Media Origin Story
But the gist, if you just want to read is here:
Originally with my CD release in 2004, I sought to promote and sell (MySpace etc.).
In 2007, I started my original Twitter account after hearing about it on Leo Laporte.
It was fun to talk with people who had similar interests as me: music, the Bible, politics, dogs, etc.
I started social for my work in 2009. I was already ahead having practiced personally for two years.
Since 2005, however, I had been struggling with illness. In 2009 that was finally diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
What brought me to social was something to sell, like many of you. What kept me was different.
Social Media Community
What kept me there was the community.
I’m fortunate enough to still be able to work full-time with my illness but, like many chronic illnesses, you have to maintain your health. For me, among other things, this includes bed rest. Before I started on antidepressants in 2017, it meant I was bed by 7:00 PM every night and spend most weekends there, too.
This is how I had time to develop my skills, start blogging, and even the most daring and physically challenging, the Guru Minute videos.
One thing I’ve learned is that the more you open up, the deeper your connections will be.
Sure, I’ve heard, “Why are you online so much? Why don’t you get a life?” more times than I should, and, I’ll admit, it hurts. The upside, however, is the world that was opened up to me in spite of the physical isolation of my illness.
Being vulnerable is a risk. Telling my story is a risk. Though I’ve wavered many times before hitting “post,” “tweet,” or “publish,” I have never regretted it. Why? Most people thank me for telling my story.
The 2020 Update
I have had much success managing my illness since this post was written but most of it is still true. Being on antidepressants has helped my pain levels so much that I forget I’m a person who is ill. I push myself too hard.
Being a full-time freelancer for the last two years and a remote worker for the previous two years has given me the freedom to produce work when I feel well. I have the freedom to take naps at 2:30 PM in the afternoon which is a life saver.
When I go out to meet my friends at the pub for karaoke or whatnot, I take naps. Twenty minute naps are my lifesaver along with more protein in my diet and turmeric.
But, I still have reminders. I’ve been pushing my exercise level a bit too hard. As I update this post today (1/29/20), I do so after sleeping until 2:00 PM in the afternoon, about to order food, and go back to bed.
I manage my chronic illness so well these days that sometimes I forget that I am ill.
My body is reminding me.
— Bridget Willard (@YouTooCanBeGuru) January 29, 2020
Tell Your Story
What I’ve learned is that we all have a story. We all have value to add to this world. Sure, I can’t gig anymore. I can write. I can’t go to every Meetup. I can do Google Hangouts. I can’t tutor all those who ask for my help. I can make videos.
I used to feel really bitter and sad. And, there are days when I wish there was a solution to my disease (today included), but I wouldn’t have this career if I hadn’t become ill.
I have been living an active life like I am not ill.
I wish there was a cure for #MECFS.
At least if I had cancer there would be treatment or I would die. Not a lifetime of having to choose to not participate in life.
— Bridget Willard (@gidgey) January 29, 2020
So, what brought you to social media? What’s keeping you here?