Social Media, Farmville, and that Darned Myth of Sisyphus

A few years back, before I really got super involved in Twitter and Blogging, I accidentally got involved in Farmville. Actually, to be truthful, I started as a Farm Town girl, but of course, being the trend-bucker that I am, all of my friends ended up playing Farmville. I eventually caved in.

If you’ve never played the games, the concept is oddly simple. You plant crops, you harvest them, you sell them, and you get to buy things like a farm house, fences, pigs, and other things. It starts out so easy. Then you realize that to move up a notch, you need to start planting even more crops and harvesting more often. Oh, and if you don’t harvest on time, your crop wilts and you have to start over again. In short, it’s an OCD person’s nightmare.

One morning, a morning in which I found myself awake a half-hour early so I could harvest fake corn and plant fake grapes, I realized that this was getting pretty ridiculous. I was losing sleep so that I could make sure I got my seeds planted so I could harvest them during my lunch hour. A game was controlling my sleeping patterns!! I quit cold turkey and I’ve not touched a Zynga game since then.

There’s a bit of a problem, though. While Farmville no longer claims my heart, social media has. I’ve given up a lot of stuff to get to wherever it is I am now. I’ve stayed inside instead of enjoying days in the sun. I’ve missed television shows I enjoy. I’ve even, I’m ashamed to say, let my ice cream get a little melty on occasion. I feel like I should stop “doing social media” for awhile so I can remember what I used to do before I had this blog. But things are different now. There are two websites I’ve committed to writing to. There are people who support my posts and so I feel like I should support theirs. A publisher has sent me two books in the last month that they’d like me to read and review.  This has become serious stuff.

How did THAT happen?

The Myth of Sisyphus

The Myth of Sisyphus is a story written by philosopher Albert Camus. Sisyphus must push a huge boulder up a mountain and just as he gets near the top, the boulder rolls down and he has to start over again.

That’s kind of what my social media journey has been like. Let me explain.

When I first started this social media thing, my goal was to get enough Twitter followers so that I wouldn’t totally humiliate myself while doing a presentation about social media. I didn’t have an exact number in mind, but something that was at least semi-decent. I reached that goal, but the boulder fell back down.

Now I wanted to start blogging, and I wanted people to start commenting. That took a lot of pushing and a lot of hard work, but I got that boulder almost to the top of the mountain. People started commenting. But the boulder fell back down.

Now I wanted to get 100 followers on Twitter and I wanted to get retweets of my posts. I reached those goals. But the boulder fell back down.

Now, I have a pretty darned good situation here in the online world, and I feel like once again I’m pushing that boulder almost to the top. But now I have a new problem that’s making the boulder fall back down.

I no longer feel confident I’m going to be able to keep up with everything I’ve built here. I write for three sites, sometimes more, in any given week. People are following me faster, which means that going through those folks one by one  to follow back as I’ve always done is taking more time. I don’t see as much on Twitter anymore, so I need to take more time to find good conversations and good stuff to share. People seem to be attacking me more, and that really makes that darned boulder feel heavy.

And did I mention I also have an exercise boulder and a work boulder and a “Hey I want to sit on my butt and watch TV” boulder?

This is getting heavy, man!

Can I just quit?

Of course, all of the stuff I’m doing is not like Farmville, which was really just a bizarre way to spend one’s time. All of this “stuff” is a way to further my career. It’s a way to learn on behalf of our clients. It’s a way to help me grow as a person. Still, we humans tend to need breaks, right? Sometimes we need to drop the boulders. Right?

Hmm.

Factually, I think I have too many commitments to be able to do that with a clear conscience. It’s not about writing here. It’s not about tweeting to keep my Klout score up. It’s about fulfilling things I’ve promised to do for other people. It’s about continuing to read and learn and grow. It’s about following through.

Sure, the world wouldn’t end if I took a month away and just said, “Aw, to heck with this.” But that’s not really how life works, right? You’ve gotta keep pushing those boulders. I just didn’t think the top of that darned social media mountain would keep moving around. Rather than there being an endgame, there seems to only be times where things will move faster and faster.

I’m not complaining

These are great problems to have. Each path up the mountain brings something new. But who would have thought that two years engaging in something would make it such an integral part of one’s profession and life? Kind of funny how that works.

Are you pushing boulders around on the social media mountain? How’s your journey going? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tuinkabouter/3869336890/ via Creative Commons

13 comments
jackietwice
jackietwice like.author.displayName 1 Like

i can commiserate with regards to farmville.  when i realized i had gone to sleep late in order to "plant" something so i could "harvest" it right before i left for work the next morning, i threw in the towel.  one really quick correction, however.  "the myth of sisyphus" by camus is *not* the same as the myth itself.  the myth pre-dates camus by millenia.  the story by camus actually speaks to tragedy of consciousness with regards to habitual existence as well as to self-mastery in acknowledging the absurdity of such an existence.  camus asserts that the scorn felt towards the gods who punished him is the thing that gives him the win over the gods.  this is because scorn is antithetical to hope, a thing which, for camus, diverts us from seeing the truth of existence.  it gets pretty deep for such a short piece, but coming out the happy side, the idea is that in the greek myth of sisyphus, the task of rolling the boulder is a punishment.  in camus, the humanity of sisyphus is what provides his triumph over the gods, for they might command his body, but he commands his mind.

 

keep up the good work :)

dabarlow
dabarlow

Never got into Farmvile or any games on FB. Yes, Social Media can be a time sucker if you will. I combine it with other favs I like to do, e.g. Sitting on patio early in the morning to listen to the world around me come awake. I can read post by my fav bloggers and listen at the same time. There are times that I can't get to what I want to read, the post will still be there when I do. Guess where I am right now...the Quail are singing their songs...

TheJackB
TheJackB

I have very simple goals in mind. Have fun. Write a few books. Have fun. Rinse and repeat. The rest is commentary. Some days I spend more time visiting other blogs than others.

 

On Twitter I am trying hard to engage more and not be as big a broadcaster as I have been. That is never what I wanted to be, but there is only so much time in the day.

 

That goal of having fun is still what I focus most upon.

Latest blog post: The Problem With Public School

margieclayman
margieclayman moderator

 @TheJackB It definitely is hard to make time for conversation these days. I'm spending a lot more time trying to make sure I promote peoples' blog posts, but that takes reading time, commenting time...definitely need more hours in the day. Work on that, k?

BetsyKCross
BetsyKCross

I like this. I've been thinking, though, that I have it backwards. It's really hard  to start with social and then expect to build a business and do a swtcher-roo with social supporting it. I don't have any answers to that one. But I know I have to start over the right way cause the boulder has fallen on me! 

I've been spending more time outside and have been feeling much better watching the addiction lesson every day.

Thanks Margie. 

margieclayman
margieclayman moderator

 @BetsyKCross My experience has been that having something to talk about first can make social easier. So, I'd start the business, then talk about it on the social sites. I think part of the reason I was able to grow on Twitter is that I had blog posts that extended beyond 140 characters so people could get a better idea of what I was like. It took awhile for my blog to catch on, but I had something to talk about and talk to people about.

girlygrizzly
girlygrizzly

Margie!

 

You NAILED it with one of your last lines..."Who would have thought that two years engaging in something would make it such an integral part of one's profession and life?"

 

Yeah...

I can't imagine who I was before... really. Not just me, but the Manager, the Guide, the teacher/trainer, the Home school Mom, the one trying to mail out enough "packets" of information.... the friend I am and want to be. I feel like I am better at all those things, now. Not perfect, but, OH, so much more and better. I never would have (or could have) imagined all there was, not just to learn... but that I COULD learn.

 

Even the days I spend swamped in KeyWord or Landing Page HELL, I wouldn't trade one second of the last 16 months. Not for anything.

 

WarrenStrategies
WarrenStrategies

I think you need to plan ahead.  Use some scheduling tools to post some tweets and blogs while you're away, and just take a couple weeks off!  Nothing will fall apart while you're gone if it's just for that short amount of time.  You should do it.

margieclayman
margieclayman moderator

 @LuftigWarren I hear ya, but I've never really been a fan of the automated tweeting. I tried scheduling some tweets once and found that by the time I checked in I was so far behind in responding that it caused more trouble instead of saving me trouble. For me it's much easier to tweet or post when I know i'll be generally able to respond to folks. I know not everyone places as much emphasis on the quick response, but to me that's part of what the "social" in social media is all about.

CarrieJKeenan
CarrieJKeenan

That is the perfect comparison! There are definitely days I feel like I am pushing that boulder, but thankfully I have been able to rely on other people in social to hold it up while I take a breather.

 

Great post Margie!

margieclayman
margieclayman moderator

 @carrieatthill thanks Carrie! I don't know if it's good you can relate or not. But at least I know it's not just me :) 

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