Perfectionist? you may not resonate with this, but imperfection is well … erm, actually pretty perfect.
The Demand For Perfection In The Corporate World Is Something I Have Been Trying To Get Rid Of Ever Since Leaving It And Social Media Has Saved Me …
I mean that in the best possible sense. You see, working in a corporate world for years prior to jumping feet first into my own thing, every single move, action, e-mail, process etc etc …. had to comply with business procedure, protocol, company ethic yada yada. Perfection in everything I did was key to impressing my employer and adhering to company protocol! Perfection seemed unattainable in that world and it was, it really was. Just when you thought you were within a miniscule of attaining it, a new process, procedure, goal post or target would be implemented and it became further away than ever.
I struggled in that world, where I was compared to colleagues and them compared to me and so on and so on. Perfection was something I was encouraged to achieve, day in, day out and it got tiring, really tiring. Those who know me, will know, I’m one that likes to vocalise my thoughts and feelings and I would often get the same old response from my dissaproving colleagues ‘But isn’t being perfect a good thing?’ Erm, Not really. You see, I have learned that perfection is the greatest obstacle to being who you are, it is counterproductive and it limits the potential of what you can achieve when you just allow yourself to be imperfectly, flawed you!
Fast Forward To Now …
Through The Screen Of My Phone Imperfection Becomes Perfect
Social Media really has saved me. Working in the imperfect social media space is my idea of perfection. I can surround myself with incredible creatives, be creative and I get to use that creativity to help businesses of all shapes and sizes to flourish, grow, build relationships and generate money. Social Media moves fast, it is a space where attention is a currency and content is desired and consumed instantaneously.
Live streaming apps and social apps such as Snapchat and Anchor facilitate producing content at speed. Within seconds we can create content for consumption. We have the ability to produce and consume instant, raw and real content in a unique and imperfect from. If we make a mistake while we are live streaming, who really cares? We are all human beings that no longer sit behind filtered content. We are REAL
Imperfect, Real, Raw, Reactive, ‘Off Topic’ Content Is Desirable!
What I have come to learn is since hitting the ‘Go Live’ button on Periscope, around 8 months ago now, that imperfect, raw, real, unfiltered content is the type of content that I both desire to consume and to produce more than any other type of content, granted I am blogging right now, but it’s good to keep a balance … right?
I enjoy watching my friends, peers and social influencers live streaming a Periscope while they are in their backyards, on the streets of cities, in their homes, at the beach and at events, being reactive to the discussions that their communities are having in their live streams. I like watching content change direction and go ‘off topic’ so that communities feel involved, included and listened too as their questions, view points and ideas are acknowledged, valued and discussed. I enjoy being able to have conversations, build relationships and include my community in my own live streams without always thinking about staying ‘on track’ with topic, because that is REAL.
I have found my ‘perfect’ through imperfect, unplanned, reactive content that has more meaning than a scripted post or a filtered Instagram photo (sure, these still play a big part in content strategy) but, I feel like there is no substitute for reactive content in Real Time!
Behind The Scenes … Snapchat That!
I am fascinated by Snapchat. An app that some few months ago I believed to be for children and inappropriate messaging, now has me transfixed, daily. I am able to see the lives of friends, colleagues, storytellers and content creators all showing their lives, the ‘in between moments’ the images that don’t make it to Instagram, the short snappy video clips that don’t sit on You Tube. I am drawn into seeing daily life moments, as they happen, not scripted, not perfect, but real! I enjoy creating this type of content too! It’s quick, it’s instant, it requires little preparation, yet, it provides me with more relationship building and engagement than any other social channel. It would appear that the imperfect parts of my life are more desirable than scripted, carefully crafted content, judging by the engagement, depth of interactions, and relationships that are being formed on Snapchat.
Looking Back To The Corporate World …
Looking back, that constant feeling of being measured against someone elses idea of perfection in the corporate world seems like a lifetime ago. Of course, there will always be some sort of judgement or opinion around the things you do, the decisions you make and the content you produce, that’s life. Everyone is different and the world would be very boring if we were all the same and we all thought the same! But, the beautiful thing about the social media space right now, is this: in the majority, people like to see others achieve, people like to see how others create, people like to see the imperfect parts of your life, the moments when you don’t quite get out the words you want to say in the way you wanted to say them, because people are able to resonate with that. We have all been there and there is nothing wrong with showing a less than perfect side to your life. You are who you are and social media gives you a space where you can show that without upholding perfectionism.
Imperfection is also a source for growth …
I am a firm believer that we learn more from our critics than the people that praise us! Sure, praise and recognition are nice! but, it is in listening to the feedback that is more critical that helps us to improve and become better. Real, raw, reactive content opens us up to discussion, to praise and to critique. I enjoy being less than perfect and my thoughts are this: If you are always trying to achieve someone elses idea of perfect, it is almost cetain that you will never achieve it, you become stifled by someone elses ideal. In today’s social media space, the ideal is your own ideal, what you determine it to be and if that isn’t perfect, at least it is YOU!
So, Where Does Perfection Fit In, In Today’s Social Media Space?
I believe that perfection has less and less business in the world of social media today and I believe it will become even more irrelevant as the desire to consume raw content, at speed, increases. Moving at today’s fast pace, you have to weigh the opportunity cost of letting perfectionism slow you down. If you won’t send out content until it is perfect, you’re not moving quickly enough.
To reference the founder of LinkedIn, Mr Reid Hoffman, “if you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” Similar applies here. If you are not comfortable with seeing yourself in a less than perfect light on livestream or you don’t slightly cringe at a Snapchat video that you have posted to your story every once in a while, then you are taking yourself WAY too seriously and you are missing the essence of social media completely, to enjoy it, create with it and have fun with it. Opportunity missed, if you are not doing that.
Through my experience of working in the social media world, I have come to learn that it is completely ok to allow myself to be me, not to strive for perfection in everything I do, not to look for approval in everything I do, but to create, be real and unfiltered whilst having the ability to be gracious and take critique and praise where it is offered. I am comfortable in this imperfect world and I wouldn’t ever go back to where I was before, for being in this world allows me to be me, warts and all, and I kind of like it that way, A LOT!
This was first published on Medium