Halloween Ignorance Helps Overcome Social Media Fears

Social Media Fears




A recent Halloween inspired post “Top 10 Social Media Fears That Go Bump In The Night”  by Liz Strauss on her excellent blog, Successful blog, looks at 10 fears that can cripple new bloggers or anyone starting in social media.

As a relatively new (and older) North American,  Halloween is  a new and strange concept for me. New, because in Southern Africa it was not recognised or practiced. However with the influence of  American television programmes and smart retailers exploiting another profit opportunity, its popularity is spreading in South Africa.

Strange, because it focuses on  spooks, ghouls and the paraphernalia of the supernatural. Although I am not particularly religious, I do find it difficult to reconcile celebration of the macabre with the celebration of life that most religions and particularly in North America, Christianity practice.

Perhaps another reason why Halloween was not widely popular in my old countries was geographical. This time of year in the Southern Hemisphere is the start of summer, October is often the hottest, driest month and November brings the start of the rains. Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) had an economy based on agriculture so farmers were as busy in November as Northern Hemisphere farmers are in May. Most of South Africa was the same.

Despite my personal opinions about Halloween, I have no problem with other people enjoying themselves, it seems that it is one of the few occasions when parents and kids have fun together, so that has to be a good thing.

Liz’s post got me thinking that perhaps my different outlook on Halloween which comes from my different experiences growing up on the other side of the world in a different, but similar, society, enables me to look at other things in a different light.

I believe it does.

So here is my take on Liz’s 10 Social Media Fears

10) Fear of looking like a fool.

When you have spent a large part of your life in countries unfairly attacked and condemned by most of the world, then sacrificed by former allies, you grow a thick skin and don’t worry about looking like a fool, you have to be resolute in your beliefs,  you are far more interested in survival and doing what is right for your country, friends, family and employees.

Suppose we do make  fools of ourselves? How long will people remember it anyway? Only until someone else makes a bigger fool of him or herself. Our politicians seem to have this one down to a fine art, rest assured that no matter how big a fool one might feel today, it will only be a few days until another one steals the limelight with a more juicy example of foolishness.

When you are just starting out in social media, you have not got that many followers to be a fool in front of anyway, so who cares? Bad publicity can be a lot better than no publicity.

9) Fear of Content

Learn from other writers, but don’t make negative comparisons about our own work. Everyone has to start somewhere and then improve, producing good content is a lifelong work in progress. Do we all admire everything we read? Of course not, I see many posts by “good” bloggers that do not do anything for me, I also see stuff by newbies that I think is good. Sometimes a 140 word tweet says more to me than a 600 word blog post. Remember you can’t please all the people all the time – trying to do so is a recipe for disaster.

Also remember that as long as you follow the libel and copyright laws, the absolute worse that is going to happen is some hate mail, rude comments or lost visitors. Unless you are another Salmon Rushdie, it is unlikely that anyone will decree a fatwa against you.

Accept that if your writing is any good at all, as soon as you attract large numbers of readers, as surely as day follows night,you will get people who will disagree with you. That is the nature of things.

8)  Fear To Do Lists

Probably the easiest fear to overcome. Have a big to do list, add things as you remember, check it every morning, copy the 5 or 10 (whatever works for you) most important tasks onto a short list. Put the big list out of sight for the rest of the day. Cross off items on the short list as they are accomplished. Do not under any circumstances look at the big list again until the next day. Repeat every morning.

7) Fear of Code

Stop fiddling, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Accept that your website might never be perfect, every hour spent on tweaking is an unproductive hour. First priority is to get visitors, when you have enough visitors, you can afford to pay someone else to tweak.

6) Fear of The Numbers

A wonderful time waster and a symptom of any of the above. Set a schedule to spend a limited time on statistics after completing the day’s productive stuff.

5) Fear of Ideas

This one gets to most of us at some time. Pages have been written on getting ideas to write about, including several on Liz Strauss’ blog. My favorites for blogging inspiration  include:

  • Google Alerts set for relevant keywords.
  • RSS feeds of other blogs.
  • Newspapers and magazines.
  • Just write about a random topic and see what develops.
  • Prepare a blog schedule for a couple of weeks ahead as ideas come.
  • Review past blog posts and re-work or expand upon.

4) Fear of Relationships

Use common sense, remember relationships, both real-world and virtual, are 2 way streets.

3) Fear of Saying No

Celebrate saying NO. I am a naturally helpful person, so in the past I have often become overwhelmed from saying yes to too many requests. With the benefit of advancing years, I have become more comfortable adopting a contrarian role, going out in front of the herd, sometimes against the herd. Recognise that we all have to say no at times to remain sane. So don’t fear it, enjoy it, you will be stronger for it.

Set aside an hour every 2 weeks to “prune” email newsletters and RSS feeds. Just go through incoming emails and hit unsubscribe, same with your RSS reader. Do you know how refreshing that is. Don’t feel bad, we have all been throwing paper junk mail in the garbage for years. Don’t think you must read every feed for every bog you subscribe to, the “mark all as read” button is a great timesaver too.

2) Fear of the Written Word

Use common sense, find our own style. I enjoy some writers who love long sentences and big words, others who are masters of brevity, some are grammatically perfect, others break all the rules.

1) Fear of Your Personal Worth

As Liz so correctly writes, this is where all the other fears come together.
This fear can affect us in many areas, not just writing. It’s a huge subject for a whole series of posts, so I will just mention one tactic that helps me.

Keep a gratitude and success journal. Last thing at night or first thing in the morning, write 5 things to be grateful for and 10 successes. Do it every day, the 10 successes can be small  one of my regulars is ” I fed and groomed 2 horses” another might be “I walked for 20 minutes today” or it could be a huge one ” I got a new client today”. The daily routine of recognising that we are all successful in many ways each day reinforces our sense of self-worth.

Two resources you should look at today Liz Strauss at Success Blog.

With thanks to Liz for inspiring this post.

Wishing you success in all your endeavours.


Peter Wright




Disclaimer: I have no commercial relationship with Liz Strauss, I recommend her blog because it is good. You should assume that I will get a commission on anything else purchased from links or advertisements on this website.

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