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Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, master mover, Dana Wilson, and if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story than sit tight, but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.
Dana: Hello. Hello. Hello. I am Dana. Welcome to the podcast. I am so glad that you are here right now. I am excited to talk to you today. Whoa, this is a big one. All right, so with the Words that Move Me Instagram contest going on right now, Oh, right now, by the way, is the last couple of days of February and heading into March. Oh my gosh. It’s almost March. I can’t really handle it. Time is flying so super fast. Anyways, it’s the last couple of days of February heading into March and until March 9th Words that Move Me has an Instagram contest happening, so make sure you go check out our Instagram page to get all of the details on how you can be involved, how you can win and what you can win.
It’s all very exciting stuff, but because of the contest, social media has been on the brain and actually to be honest, contest aside, social media has been on the brain. There’s a lot of talk around this right now. It seems kind of an unavoidable subject. It’s like this part of our lives now. It seems to be. Anyways, I’m sure that there is a small contingent, possibly very, very small. Maybe just a few of my listeners that still exist completely handle free and hats off to you. I actually would love to know what that is like. Um, I haven’t checked, but I’m very curious about how many hours a day. I know on average I spend a little over three hours a day on my phone, but out of that, I wonder how much of that is inside of Instagram, which is my preferred social media platform. I digress. I’d say that the sweeping majority of humans, probably age 16 to maybe 40, uh, have social media of some sort, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, YouTube or all of them. Oh, tik tok. Oh my goodness. Which I don’t have, but I hear that I quote need people tell me this like, Oh my God, you need to tik tok. And that’s very funny because I feel totally fine without one. But then again, I have never had one. It is very possible that I haven’t even lived yet because I don’t have tik tok, tik tok. Am I, am I sounding ridiculous? The tik tok? Do you use the tik tok? I’m cracking myself up anyways.
I think that social media for the most part gets a bad reputation for a lot of really good reasons. For example, it is literally designed to devour your attention. There are engineers who are paid to think of ways to keep your eyeballs on the screen longer so that they can show you more ads so that you can click more clicks so that they can make more money. And that is understandable. It is not virtuous, but I understand it. I get it. Here’s another example. Places like Instagram, especially our cesspools for comparison and competition that can really wreak havoc on you and your internal self-worth. I say that because the feed that you scroll through is full of very carefully curated and usually very heavily edited moments from lives of people that you care about, people that you chose to follow, they matter to you for some reason and you spend time looking at these carefully picked pixels from their lives and if you weren’t already comparing their life to your life, look down a little further and you see that handy dandy value system that Instagram has created to keep you clicking.
So all right. To be clear, I believe comparison and competition exist in abundance out there in the real physical world. But in my experience comparing our bodies, our work, our wins, our losses, all of that good stuff in person is like comparing apples and oranges or like apples and high heeled shoes or Panda bears. Like when you’re face to face, you see humans, you see three dimensional people that are infinitely different than you are in number of ways, but in the two dimensional world on the page, a like is a like. A heart is a heart. A follow is a follow and when she has 50,000 and I have five, it can be very hard to ignore. It can be very hard to not compare and it can be really hard to believe that I am not less. Well, here’s my angle. I believe that we are all worth exactly the same and I don’t believe that our likes and follows quantify our worth period, the end, but I’m not done.
In addition to being a time vampire in a place that can make us wildly insecure about ourselves, the social media jungle is also a place where bullying and false information run rampant. This is probably because somebody figured out that negativity and really polarized opinions, spike engagement that gets people clicking, it gets people talking. Well, engagement equals ad dollars, so you’re going to see a lot of the things that spike engagement. Also, it’s way easier to say awful things from the comfort of your own home and the other side of the screen, so that pretty much explains that. Sounds pretty grim, right?
Wrong. I actually love Instagram. It is my favorite social media platform. I mean I don’t love it like I love my husband, but I think it’s kind of great. Let me explain. Instagram and YouTube are both free and they’re a perfect place for me to put my work and get almost immediate feedback. I do it all the time. I mean not all the time, certainly not as much as I used to, but still pretty often. People argue that social media is making us reclusive and that because of it, people don’t know how to like interface with each other IRL, which is internet talk for in real life, but no matter how you slice it, social media is connective. I have met some of my heroes in person shaken their hands, actually collaborated with them because of Instagram, because that’s where we made our first contact. I also have a direct link to an audience. Well, I guess technically it’s not direct if it has to go through Instagram. In other words, if Instagram disappeared tomorrow, I would lose contact with a lot of people, which is really unfortunate. I might be putting an ask out there for some phone numbers and email addresses, surely, just be able to look out for that. Um, anyways, I have a link to people all over the world, right? I’m in the United States, I’m in California, I’m in Los Angeles. I’m talking to people in Paris, France, in, in Italy, in China, in India, in Australia. I mean, it’s actually wild to me that I can reach someone on the other side of the planet almost instantly. I’m impressed. I’m onboard to say the very least. So I call this my middle child syndrome. And by the way, I have a really bad case of it.
I can see both sides of almost any issue. In next week’s episode a very special guest and I are going go deep on some of the issues and perceived challenges of being a creative type living in a social media era. But this week I’m going to talk about how I treat my social media. I really hope you dig this approach and um, that some of these strategies are helpful in making your relationship with your social media a happy and healthy one. Now I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that are going to tell you how to post and when to post and what to post. And I’m just going to let you know right now, I’m not going to do all that. So if that is what you’re hoping for it, you can go ahead and stop listening right now. But otherwise get a pen and paper ready or at very least your imagination cause I’m going to ask you to get involved in this one.
All right. We’re talking social media very broadly, but my favorite platform is Instagram as I mentioned. And that’s where I have the most experience. It’s also very visual, heavy and very text light. And that’s why I think it speaks to most dancers. So it’s where my point of view is going to come from for now. Here we go. I like to think of my social media presence as a virtual Superstore. It is an establishment or several where people go to find all things me, my moves, my face, and occasionally my breakfast foods. I think of each platform like YouTube or Insta, Twitter as actual brick and mortar chain stores. And I imagine that I am a business, which is easy because I am a business. Um, and as such I am responsible for things like, um, deciding where I put my branches or my store locations, deciding what I put in my windows, deciding what I keep inside and what I keep in backstock and how I price things. And beyond that, what kind of experience people can expect when they come in. Okay. I teach this concept occasionally and I always start by asking what is your favorite place to go shopping, a little bit consumerist, but go with me here. Whether it’s food or clothing or school supplies or tools or anything. Just what is your favorite place to shop? I’ll get the answer and then I ask for three reasons why and after I have those I ask. Okay, so what is it like to shop there? What is the experience that you have? I’ll run through my own answers as an example. All right. My answer, embarrassingly enough, as a 33 year old woman is Urban Outfitters. I am so sorry about that. There are probably way more socially conscious, sustainable, locally sourced, organic free range, Raw, gluten free vegan places to shop. And I know urban probably has like several strikes against it that I don’t even know about and I worked there for several years so I know about it, but I still like the feeling of shopping there. And uh, here’s the why.
Number one, it’s bright as in lumens and as in colors. All of the colors of the rainbow. And I love color. Number two, it’s eclectic. There are many different styles and styles of styles in that place. You’ve got your black leather with studs and holey t-shirts, you’ve got your lace with ruffles and sophisticated blazer things and you’ve got sneakers, and stilettos and literally everything in between. And number three, they seem to have really mastered this seriously silly thing. Everytime I go in there, I see something that makes me laugh, whether it’s a graphic tee or a silly book or some novelty. It just always seems to get a chuckle. But the business is undoubtedly refined. So that I think speaks to my values. Right? I love bright, I love many different styles. I love being seriously silly and somehow refined. That’s kind of me. So in a way I think that asking yourself, what’s your favorite store to shop at can actually teach you a lot about your values.
Okay, so the followup question is what is it like to shop there? Well, again, eclectic, but overall very, very casual and that’s speaks to my values as well. I like to be personable and I feel like the staff at urban is pretty personable in their own way. Sometimes it’s like the way of your best friend who’s going to really honestly tell you how those pants look on you. And sometimes it’s in the way of the kid who’s going gonna blow spit wads at the back of your head during class and it’s going to be inconvenienced by everything that you ask them. I kind of am not mad at either of those. I love the full range. Okay, so in addition to those things, it’s light, it’s fun and it’s fast. Again, that speaks to my values. Here’s another example.
This time we’ll take the other side of the spectrum. Let’s say that Tom Ford in Beverly Hills is our absolute favorite place to shop. All right? Why? Okay. Number one, it is modern, minimal, extremely clean and uncluttered. Your eye knows exactly where to go and it goes to absolutely pristine product. Number two, it is luxury from the plush carpet to the garments themselves. And number three, it is indisputable quality made from the absolute finest and tailored to your body. Boom, Tom Ford. Okay. What is it like to shop in there? Well, there’s a doorman first of all, so there’s that, pretty exclusive. You’ve got a book by appointment and it’s expensive. That in and of itself is kind of exclusive.
But once you’re in the door, you are catered to and you feel like the million bucks that you’re about to drop, which happens quite fast, I heard from a friend, let’s, let’s go even further left. Let’s say for the sake of an example that your favorite place to shop is home Depot, which is ironic because I hate shopping at Home Depot. Literally the worst I can almost guarantee that they will not have what I’m looking for. They will have every item surrounding the items that I’m looking for and then there will be an empty hole where the medium sized boxes used to live or the very specific type of washers that I need for my shower head. It’s like almost a joke. How often they do not have the thing I need and how frustrated I get by that. But anyway, for the sake of these examples, let’s pretend that your favorite place to shop is Home Depot. Why do you like it? Other than the fact that they have what you want all the time. Um, so let’s say you love it because number one, it’s no frills, nothing extra, nothing ridiculously distracting. No bright colors or flashing neon signs with sales and crazy things like that. What you see is what you get or what you don’t get for that matter. I digress. Number two, it’s expansive. They have literally everything including the kitchen sink except the one thing that you’re looking for. Sorry, I’ll stop making stabs at Home Depot now. Okay. And I’m, let’s say number three, if I really had to dig, sorry, I’m done. I’m done. Um, number three, they really are about DIY and I have had a handful of really, really helpful people there that have told me the things I need to know or taught me the things I need to know in order to get the job done and do it myself. I really do value that. That is super cool. So what is it like to shop in home Depot? Um, sprawling, um, informative. You see things and you learn about things that you didn’t even know existed and uh, you’ll be back because undoubtedly after you leave that place, you will find out that you need something else from that place. And that’s kind of a brilliant thing I suppose. So. Okay. How does this all relate to social media? Again, uh, let’s, let’s take a look back at my urban Outfitters example and I’ll explain
When I’m looking at a video or photo and deciding whether or not to post it, I ask myself, is this one of the three things that I decided I love most about the place I like shopping most in my Urban Outfitters example? Is it bright? Is it eclectic and is it equal parts serious and silly? If I can’t answer yes to one of those questions, then I won’t share the video or photo at all. Generally, my rule for myself is that it has to meet at least two of those three criteria. And then occasionally it meets all three and I find myself legit excited to share this thing. That’s my way of deciding what gets put in my store. My guiding principle is that I want my store to represent me and my values and what I have to offer. I want it to feel a little bit like me. Bright, eclectic and seriously silly. Now you and your values will likely be different than mine. Maybe you value sleek, clean, minimal, luxury. Maybe you value specificity. A store that specializes in one thing and doing that one thing really, really, really right. Maybe your entire feed is black and white. Maybe your entire feed is landscape. Maybe your entire feed is nail art and that’s kind of the beauty of it is it gets to be whatever you make it. I had a student once as I was teaching this concept that really, really valued oranges. Like she told me her favorite place to shop was a grocery store because they have oranges and she loves them and I asked her to think of something else she liked about the grocery store and she couldn’t. Now part of me thinks she was being difficult just for the game of it, but I went with it. Cause this is kind of brilliant. Imagine you’ve got a 13 year old social media feed that looks like any other 13 year old social media feed except in this one there is an orange hidden somewhere but visible in every single post. I would follow that account. Absolutely. And there would be an element of creativity involved. I think it’s fabulous. I think it’s hysterical. I think it’s an opportunity to get really creative and also to start looking at yourself and taking responsibility for yourself as a professional entity, as a business, as a place that people go to find you. That said, it’s really important to me that my social media presence represents the real me and my real values and my real work. The storefront analogy is simply helpful in narrowing down the content and things that I share to the world because it is important to remember whether you delete it or not. It exists out there forever. Ask me how I know. Don’t ask, don’t ask. So here’s what I really like about this analogy, this storefront analogy is that I, the store owner, decide the value of the things that I put on the shelves, not somebody else’s, like not somebody else’s follow just me.
So I would love for you to take a moment, give a little brainstorm, write down to your favorite places to shop or spend time. Doesn’t even need to be a store. Technically, it could be a park, it could be Disneyland, but right, your favorite place that you like to spend time and occasionally money and get three reasons why. Then do a tiny little brain download on the experience that you have in that place and then use that as a guiding principle every time you decide what you want to share and sell to the world. Alright? This is simply my approach. I’m not saying it’s the best, but I’m saying it’s something. I would love, love, love to hear some of your social media approaches. How do you decide what to post? Do you care about when? Let’s talk about this. Leave some comments on the Instagram page or at theDanawilson.com/podcast under the comments for this episode, make sure you listen in next week as I talk to my super special guests about all sorts of social media mystery. This is, this is really the tip of the iceberg, or I guess this is like the technique of the iceberg. Next week we’re going to get into some of the muddy waters, so don’t miss that. Sounds like fun, huh? All right. Everybody have a good rest of your day. Night, week, month, and uh, you know the deal. Keep it funky. Oh man. So good. Oh, speaking of, keep it funky we got Merch coming. You didn’t hear from me.