“The heavy box was postmarked Switzerland. Who do I know in Switzerland? I wondered. I’ve never even been to Switzerland.” Cyndi Briggs
I collected social media success stories while writing the book “Success Using Social Media.”
Inside, a treasure trove of Swiss chocolates and a handmade paper bead necklace. And a card. Thanking me. For my writing, my message to the world, and my intention to be of service. From a woman I’ve never met outside of social media and blogging, who connects with me in a real and soulful way.
Chocolates from Maya. A book from Elizabeth in Virginia. Thank you notes from Mo in Australia and Catherine in New York and many others. A network of hearts beating around the globe, all of us seeking connection and purpose. Showing up for each other in the virtual world.
When I began blogging back in 2009, I did so with trepidation. I’m a private person, an introvert at heart, and I hesitated to share my story with a world that might not receive it with grace or kindness. Plus, I harbored a vague, nagging fear about weirdoes. Internet stalking is a thing, right?
But, like most writers, I felt I had a message to share. Words bubbled up inside of me, insisting on expression. I needed to write about the things in life that really matter, like purpose and meaning and the fleeting, tenuous nature of it all. As I struggled with my existential questions, I observed others around me searching just as intently for their own answers. I felt deeply that through writing my story, I might be of service to others.
I took to WordPress and Facebook and Twitter, anonymously at first and then publicly, gaining courage as connections built. I started receiving emails from readers, sharing their own stories and thanking me for mine. It was astounding to me, how quickly and completely my words connected us, like dots on paper waiting for a child’s crayon to transform us into a vibrant work of art.
Similarly, I reached out to my own writing and creative heroes: Patti Digh, Susan Piver, Andrea Schroeder. I am still quietly awed when they respond to my Tweets and Facebook comments, all of us equal on this digital playing field. How amazing to so instantly and easily connected with like-minded souls. And how comforting to feel less alone as a writer, an inherently lonely process.
In the end, it’s not about the chocolates. Nor the thank you notes. Nor the business I attract without even a hint of creepy, sales-y marketing. I blog and use social media because it breaks down barriers between people, erases geographic boundaries, and allows a writer with a day job (like me) a platform for dreaming and creative expression. This is my success: that I have bound myself, heart to heart, with my tribe.