Reflection – Why I use Social Media

Lately, I’ve been expanding my presence online, and putting myself out there in the public eye.  I’ve been expanding my contact lists on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and started my own YouTube channel. I’ve been tossing out examples of my past work to introduce my new friends to what I’m capable of. Some people have wondered, myself included, why am I doing all of this?

In the past decade, I’ve been laid off from three different full-time jobs three times.  I’ve had to start over from the bottom, and try to rebuild my career, only to have it shot out from under me time after time. As I approach 50 years old, I should be in the prime of my career.  I should be a department head with seniority and respect in my industry.  I should be making a lot more money than I’m making right now.  I should have healthcare and a retirement plan.  I should have vacation time.  I should have stability and security in my life.

I don’t have any of that.

Starting over has become something I don’t want to do any longer.  I’m finding the world is a very different place than it was a decade or two ago.  I’m happy with my current job, and am really enjoying the opportunities that have come my way with it, but I’m not going to just sit back and get comfortable again, relying on others for my long term employment stability. I’m going to be more aggressive and unapologetic in letting my employers and coworkers know what my full range of skills and what my ambitions are.

New media affords anyone the ability to network and introduce themselves into new areas every day.  As an artist, I can keep a strong presence with my portfolio out there on the web for anyone to find at any time.

I let people know what am capable of
I don’t ever want an employer or a coworker to say, “Oh, I didn’t know you could do that,” or, “I didn’t know you were proficient in that software package.”  I won’t hide my skills, and just sit back, hoping for the best.  In today’s job market, you must continually prove why you bring value to your employer.  At my age, I can’t afford to hide my accomplishments or my ambitions.  As I make new contacts online, I want each one of them to have as much chance as possible of knowing what I can do.

I remind people what I’m capable of
Out of sight, out of mind.  It’s easy for past projects to be forgotten about, but one of the benefits of being an artist is having an ever-growing visual record of everything I’ve accomplished.  It costs me nothing to throw out a daily “best of” posting to keep my work at the front of my connection’s minds.

I remind myself what I’m capable of
When digging back through copies of my past work to post, I found myself wondering why I still wasn’t doing some of the things I did before.  I get comfortable where I am, and stop thinking about what I did before.  Every time I get a response, I remember that I can still do a lot of those things, and may again some day.

I hope to find possible collaborators
My biggest problem has always been working with only myself.  I’m not a harsh taskmaster, and I’m easily distracted.  If I don’t finish a personal project, nobody cares.  I would love to work with other people on something we all have a passion for.  In today’s world, we don’t even have to live in the same town – we can collaborate online.  This is a goal I’d really like to see become a reality in the next few years for me.

So, coming up on the big Five-Oh, I’m not going to slow down.  I still have a lot left I want to accomplish, and I have to find new ways of doing that, so that’s why you’ll likely be seeing a lot more of me.

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