Social media. We're on it all the time. Sometimes you're retweeting that article from that personyou admire, other times you're posting pictures from your latest vacation in St. Lucia. But have you ever shared something about you that scared you?
Something you thought would make you look like a fool if it got out? Like maybe a meme you threw up on your phone and sent to a buddy that was mean to be a private inside joke?
John Lim of the Moving Forward podcast sent me a meme about relationships and pumpkin pie. It talked about how much he loves pumpkin pie but can't find a woman he loves as much as pie.
I told him I was putting it on Twitter. He responded with a haha go for it but I knew he was scared. I did it anyway.
And what did John do? He retweeted it and put it up on Facebook.
Within seconds, the post got more engagement, likes, retweets and shares than almost all of his other posts. Why? What was it about this silly little meme that got so much attention?
5 Reasons Why You Should Share Your Love of Pie:
1. It's who you are
So many people want to be seen as the expert. I'm an expert at a lot of things, but I don't really talk about it all the time.
In business hours, I work at Keck Medicine of USC. When I started back in October of last year, they were getting 52k organic impressions (views) a month on Facebook and 72k a month on Twitter. Nine months in, we hit 357k organic impressions a month on Facebook and 716k a month on Twitter. Other platforms increased too, but I've never called myself a social media expert. Boring information, right? Does that make you want to get to know me as a person? Probably not. Why? Because they don't resemble who I am. They're just fancy numbers to stick on a resume.
Well, this meme is John.
He doesn't only do podcasts, but he's human too. He loves pie, he's a romantic and wants to find someone who he loves as much as pie. It's pretty awesome actually. If you want to get to know John, read this meme and share it with everyone you know.
2. It lets people know you
Who cares if I own a course that teaches people how to build their personal brand? And who cares if John does podcasts that inspire people to leave their 9-5? It's just what we do to support living our lives. People want to know who you really are.
This one meme let people know who John is, the John I have gotten to know. Some know John as this really smooth podcast voice but underneath it, he's just a silly, fun loving guy who's trying to figure it out like the rest of us. Until that tweet, no one knew that. If I went to a party with a bunch of successful people, I wouldn't care what anyone did for a living. I'd want to know the pumpkin pie guy. That's why I'm friends with him.
3. It's a friend filter
I get tons of invitations from people who want to connect with me and tell me how I've inspired them. Sometimes they just want something out of me, but don't offer anything in return. There have even been times where I had people tell me how much they love a speech that I supposedly gave when I was on the couch crying about how broke I was on the date they remember.
There was a time when I would have gobbled these invitations up like a vulture staring into a diner window at a slice of pumpkin pie under the glass. But today, I'm at a point where I have everything I want and I'm no longer chasing anything or anyone. If I spend time with someone or let them into my network, it's because I've learned something about them that's fun, unique, funny or bizarre. The only way that will happen is if you let your guard down and stop being afraid to look like a fool.
4. If you're afraid, you're onto something
When I tweeted that meme, people joined in on the conversation and started sharing it and saying how much they love pie too. John thinks it went viral, but it was kind of a normal conversation for me. I kept egging John with each response though. Why? Because each response was a step in getting John out of that comfortable polished shell and to have a moment as the center of attention. It was uncomfortable for him. I know because I've been there too.
Neither of us were the cool kids in high school so it's a foreign experience. When I wrote my first Quora post, I was shaking with tremors before I hit that publish button. And that continued to happen when I got more and more vulnerable. I know John felt some of that when launching his podcast but I think this little meme took that a step farther.
5. It's freeing and that's what people gravitate to
What does it mean to go viral? Most people think that it's about saying something really profound and clever or worse, acting like you're better than everyone else. And for some famous people, that may be. But for most of us in the social media swimming pool, it's harder than that. You have to do something that allows them to know a part of you that you didn't think you wanted them to know.
Before this meme got out, only I and two of John's close friends, Matt and Beverly, knew about it. Now, the internet knows.
And you know what they see?
They see a reflection of themselves.
A love of pie but also the hard lonely road of trying to figure out love, success and everything else that life has to offer. And even though John was scared at having this meme go out, it's out there and he doesn't have to be afraid of it anymore.
And you know what?
People love it.
But what if they don't?
Then who cares anyway, right?
When you start to share the parts of yourself that you hid behind the curtain, that's what people are going to connect to. That's why my content has been read over 10 million times. It's not because I'm a great writer. I got C's in English. It's because I let go of the things that I didn't want to escape from my treasure chest of secrets.
Ask yourself why are you on social media?
Are you trying to build a business, a brand or just connect with people?
Then ask yourself what is that one fun or quirky thing that only three friends know or better yet, that no one knows. Is it pumpkin pie and love? Cupcakes and writing? Spaghetti and dumplings? That thing that you're afraid to let everyone else know about because you think it's weird or ridiculous.
Whatever it is, throw it on a meme and share it with everyone. John and I want to see it. Chances are, a lot of other people do too.