The term “walking in” is artillery jargon in the military. Basically, an artilleryman (or woman, now) fires the first round, an observer watches for the impact, then gives an adjustment to bring the next round closer to the target. Often, the rounds will go too far or not quite far enough, too left or too right on the first round, then almost opposite on the second. Subsequent rounds will get closer and closer until they are pretty much “walked” right on. At that point they will “fire for effect”, lobbing a pre-specified number of rounds, laying waste to the target.
Not an exact science, by any means, but there are some very effective, highly-skilled artillerymen who can get on target with very little effort, if any at all. For the new guys, however, it can take a lot of practice. Unfortunately, that practice can, at times, be expensive—even a little dangerous.
In the online world, I feel like one of those new guys—a lot. I’ve been trying to get proficient at hitting the target in social media for a few years now, and I’m still too far off, not far enough, too left, or too right. I’ve expended my first rounds, been observed being way the hell off-mark, and been given suggestions to correct. Now I’m on the opposite side of where I need to be.
I’ll be honest; I know my presence on sites like Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and (ick) Facebook means all of jack and shit to most people. I’m not a stupid individual. Where I get frustrated is that even with the guidance of artillerymen and women who hit their target the first time, almost every time, I still have to learn to do it myself—and I kinda suck at this. I know I do not have to have some grand, megalithic presence online to accomplish my goals, but I do need to have some sort of effective presence. I just keep missing that effectiveness mark.
When I first got into blogging and other forms of social media, I went way overboard. Basically, I got addicted to it. I spent way more time online chatting it up with folks than I spent writing, and after a while, more time than I spent with my family. I got pulled into a nasty little “cyber-affair”, and damn near lost my family altogether. It was an ugly ordeal to say the least.
After that, I didn’t pull away wholly, but I did become very cautious. I blocked as many people as I chatted with, and just built, chatted, built, chatted, and built some more. Eventually, I stopped even looking at my Twitter feed. There were too many people to keep up with, and most of them had no interest in what I was saying at all. So, again, in frustration, I said to hell with it all and did a massive purge of all things social.
Then I missed it. Plus, I still needed some sort of platform and presence for when I actually got off my ass and finished my books. With no online following, a “potential” agency can turn into a “non-existing” agency. I can’t afford that either. Writing and drawing have been my escape—a big facet of my life, for years. I want to go to the grave leaving a legacy somewhere in ink.
So, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and starting re-building. In order to stay well away from any possible “being too friendly” mistakes again (people misconstrue politeness and lighthearted chit-chat more than you think online), I rebuilt without constant engagement and haven’t made getting the large numbers a number one priority. So, 9/10 days, my feed basically says nothing. I rarely engage people, and the only real conversations I get into are during #DadsRT chat (which I partially own.)
See where this is going?
Now, I can yell “HOLY SHITBALLS, I’M ON FIRE!!!!!” then scream in a series of tweets and the only people lining up to piss on me to put out the flames are the guys I work with, and even they have other stuff going on most of the time.
Basically, I have failed over the course of three years. It’s getting old. I’d like to find a sense of balance, but I fear that my name has been seen so many times, been hot, then cold, chatty, then dead silent, followed, then unfollowed, that I have a reputation even the best of my former artillerymen couldn’t even take out.
So now what? If you have any suggestions, feel free. I’m nothing but ears at this point. A voice in this darkness will be a welcome one.