Why I Haven't Been Sharing Things on the Internet
I have often had the intention to share something, but most frequently I end up not doing so in the end. I've been thinking about why this is, and I'm trying to identify the reasons that I don't often post things. Here are some.
I don't share because it takes a lot of time.
I think time has been my largest constraint lately.
It's a particularly busy season of life for me, and life's priorities don't always line up with desires like writing on my website and sharing. But life is busy for just about everyone, and I realize that if I want this to happen, I need to make time for it.
I also know that my perfectionism can lead to things taking a lot longer than they need to. I want to get better at sharing things more quickly, and without overthinking it too much. At the same time, I don't want to produce low-quality and low-effort content.
I don't share because I don't think anyone will care.
I think this is basically mostly true. But that's ok. As I initially wrote:
I've realized that the answer to the question "who cares?" really doesn't matter beyond the fact that I care. I want to do this for myself — even if nobody else reads it.
That said, I hope some people will care. I hope some people will notice.
I don't share because I am overly concerned with appearances.
A distasteful aspect of some types of social network interactions is when things feel self-congratulatory or vain.
In some ways, I have a fairly cynical outlook on people's motives in their social media posts, and I think that this outlook has often discouraged me from sharing much.
Now, I do not believe these concerns to be completely unwarranted, but I wrote that I am "overly concerned" because this concern has dissuaded me from sharing things. This is to my own detriment, and to the detriment of others who might have otherwise benefited from my work as well.
I desire to find a way to share my work while remaining entirely authentic. I don't want to worry about showing off or seeking attention to the point where it prevents me from sharing good things.
I don't share because I don't have an audience.
The social networks that I (somewhat) participate in currently are Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
My Twitter usage originated in the world of web and software development. The people that follow me are a mix between people from the software world, and some personal friends that are completely outside that world. It's also a very small following.
Regarding Facebook, I reluctantly maintain my account there because of the nature of personal connections there that I don't want to cut off, but I dislike the company and many aspects of how Facebook works as a product. I want to share things there, but I don't see Facebook as a place where I want to "build an audience", and I'm not sure how many of my friends there will have much interest in what I'm doing here.
There's obviously a chicken and egg problem with sharing things online. I don't post because nobody would see it. But if I'm not posting anything, why would anyone start following me?
I'm inspired when I see people online who have fostered and cultivated healthy and helpful communities that they can interact with and learn from as they share what they are doing.
I haven't pursued having a community like that in earnest, and while I never want follower counts to be my goal, I do desire to have the attention of people who care about the things I do.
I don’t share because I have a wide range of interests.
Conventional advice is to specialize, to target a niche — that’s how you gain a following. But I have no interest in doing that. My goals for this website are not dependent on following conventional advice, gaining a following, or doing what is considered normal.
I’m going to do what I am interested in without concerning myself with questions of audience.
Another thing I've noticed is that exposure to new subjects is sometimes a nice surpise that can spark a new interest in something that I probably wouldn't be aware of otherwise. Seeing people share things that are completely unrelated to the subject for which I started following them has been a fun catalyst to expand my knowledge and awareness of the world. I hope and trust that some people will feel similarly about me sharing things from a diverse range of subjects.
I don't share because I don't want to re-express thoughts that are not original.
I'm not quite sure why I care about this — why it affects me. But it does.
It's sort of like when you hear a cover of a song that doesn't do anything new. The same arrangement, tempo, feel. The same flourishes, just trying to faithfully emulate the original. But who wants to hear that? It will simply never be as good. What's the point?1
I know at some level that when I share what I've learned, it's not just a meaningless cover. But I have trouble really trusting that.
Part of what I'm averse to is the trite, soulless content that is so commonly farmed for views and provides little value. But I know I'm not going to just regurgitate random useless information, and I need to be willing to talk about things that have already been discussed elsewhere.
Most thought — even if arrived at independently — simply isn't original. There is nothing new under the sun. But I know that expressing and re-expressing what has been said before is a natural and essential part in the dissemination of ideas and knowledge. The original hardly matters. Even if I'm saying something that seems obvious to me, I should trust that there are people for whom it could provide value. And who knows? Maybe I can help someone become one of today's lucky 10,000.
That gets me wondering though — who was the first person to express trepidation about expressing unoriginal thoughts? 🤔.
I don't share because I don't want to waste your time and attention.
I believe that attention is the most precious of resources.
There's a deep-seated fear in me that I will be wasting people's time. Though I endeavor to make what I do worthwhile, I recognize that not everything I do is going to be relevant or interesting to everyone.
It's hard for me to trust that if someone is following and seeing what I post, that they want to see it, and that if they don't, then they can deal with that in whatever way they see fit.
I think part of my fear stems from the way that I personally tend to pay close attention to those that I follow. And I naturally hope that the kind of people who follow me will do likewise — even though it seems like that's rare these days.
I've also been getting better at skipping content that isn't worth my time and attention, and I think that's an important thing for me to be more discerning about what is worth my time and attention.
With that said, thank you for your attention. I deeply value and appreciate it.
- Okay I realize this sounds a little harsh. I've recorded covers like this before, and I will again. It could be a tribute. Or a test of recording skills. There are valid reasons. I'm just saying that it doesn't generally add much value.↩︎