I've worked really really hard on my latest project – a crowd-sourced survey of Twitter users. I've sweated over it and worked it and edited it and it's ready to go. My plan is to use Twitter to get Twitter users to join in and share their insights about themselves. Then in the true spirit of social networking, I'll share the results.
The survey is done, and I find myself unable to push the GO button because I am afraid. There, I said it. I AM AFRAID.
- I am afraid that nobody will complete the survey
- I am afraid that nobody will retweet my posts
- I am afraid that I'll annoy my followers if I talk about it
- I am afraid that my voice is so very tiny that nobody will even hear it, and that will hurt
Where did this fear come from? Since when did I become too polite and too timid to "Just Do It". I think it must have something to do with using a personal brand instead of a corporate brand. It's MY NAME on this project. If it fails, it's all on me. It's like that feeling when you throw a party and for 30 minutes before people show up you are convinced nobody will.
Or is this a Canadian thing? Too polite and too timid to "Just Do It"? Is that why Nike is not a Canadian company? But I digress.
Now don't get me wrong, I also truly believe that far too many people (especially marketers) jump into things prematurely – throwing up a website without thinking through who the target audience is and what they want to do on it, opening a twitter account and only tweeting about themselves, writing press releases in 20 minutes that are so full of Blah, Blah Blah text that you couldn't pay a reader to understand what they're saying. The real challenge is finding that perfect balance of Preparation and Planning vs Doing It Without Thinking.
I know I am too far on one side of that continuum. I have been sitting on this project, coming up with reasons why I should delay – It's the 4th of July, Summer is a slow time, It's raining, I have a headache – you get the idea. Then I watched Danny Brown run a live 24 hour Tweetathon to raise money for charity. Now that took guts. He had no idea if anyone would show up and 24 hours is a lot of dead air to fill if they didn't. But he did it, he pushed the GO button. I actually have no idea how successful he was but I think that's my entire point. I have no idea how successful his event was but I am left admiring him for not being afraid, for believing in what he does, for going out and asking people to participate, for Just Doing It.
I have never met Danny except on Twitter, but he was my inspiration, the one thing that got me over my fear of failing, the person who virtually put his hand over mind and helped me push that Go button.
There – I've done it.
Now we'll see what happens but for better or for worse, I am no longer afraid.
I hope you'll join in and take the survey. This survey is for us, the curious people who use social media. It will tell us more about us, who are we, what we have in common. It's a not-for-profit project, all the results will be shared with anyone who asks and all the questions were contributed by folks like you and me. Instead of a prize, I have also decided to donate $1 for every completed survey to Danny Brown's 12for12K charity of the month, so why not do some good – for you and for others?