Have you ever thought about the power of your digital patterns?
Digital patterns are the story you tell in your posts, the kind of support you give to others, and the way others understand you online. Digital patterns are powerful and important when we think about identity. This year I’ve done a lot of thinking about my digital patterns and the story I tell through my work online.
I’m a dreamer. My heart carries big ideas about the world I hope come true. It’s the reason LivBits started. I dreamed about sharing my story with the world, and I hoped the world would care.
I’ve learned that sometimes when you’re a dreamer, you meet people who don’t believe in dreams. Sometimes they say things to discourage you. Sometimes they act in disappointing ways. Sometimes they work against you by doing things that are confusing.
At a recent conference presentation, someone asked me if kids are jealous of my work. It was a question I had never been asked before, so it really made me think. The truth is, most kids don’t care about my work unless grown ups share it with them in a positive way. It’s sort of like kids are busy doing their own thing. With the exception of a few mean kids at my school, (and they’d be mean even if I didn’t do LivBits), most kids have no idea what LivBits is or how much it means to me. I don’t share much about my LivBit life at school because I never want people to think I am bragging.
But, grown ups are another story. When the person asked me the question about kids and jealousy, I answered honestly. I shared that kids are mostly fine, but grown ups are weird. I’ve had grown ups stop following me, stop encouraging me, and say terrible things about me, and sometimes my mum. I think my mum is a target because she believes in me no matter what. After my session, several people from the audience came up to me to say I MUST be misunderstanding the grown ups. It was like they had to convince themselves that grown ups could never mistreat a kid.
But, guess what? It’s true. Grown ups have mistreated, taken advantage, and disregarded me. I think if people knew who some of these grown ups are, it would shock them. Sometimes grown ups spend a lot of time excusing the behavior of other grown ups when they would never allow this behavior from kids. It’s sort of like people saying grown ups can’t learn anything from kids.
It’s Media Literacy Week and in lots of places people are gathering to talk about important things related to online work. I hope those big thinkers remember there are dreamers like me who understand the power of being connected. We also understand the power of our behavior.
It doesn’t take a lot to show someone you care on social media. It can be as small as liking, sharing, or commenting on their posts. I’m learning how to stop looking at other people’s feed and noticing how some of my former encouragers are now promoting other people. It’s hard on my heart, but an important heart lesson to learn. I’m also learning to focus on the people who don’t mind my texts, take time to answer questions, and truly share the joy of my LivBit work. Those people haven’t stopped liking or sharing my work. They’ve stayed consistent in their support, and I’m incredibly grateful for them.
Truthfully, none of these things are social media lessons, they’re life lessons. People move on. Sometimes people you love move on without you. I’ve learned some people are better at loving than others.
The best part of my LivBit story is there are MORE people who encourage than discourage; MORE heartbeeps than heartache; and MANY digital connections that have turned into real friendships.
So, I hope you take some time this week to think about your digital patterns. I hope you reach out to people in positive ways, and reconnect with people you may have left behind. I hope you’re brave when things get tough, and help others find their brave when they need it. I hope you shine so much awesome that the world can’t help but notice because, after all, the world can never have too much awesome!
Keep reading! Keep thinking! And, thank you for following LivBits!