Why you should Favorite everything

by Heather on February 11, 2013

favorite_fancy

I felt pretty proud of myself the first time Lori Pickert favorited one of my tweets.

Lori is the author of Project-Based Homeschooling, a book that continues to influence how I approach my two kids’ education. She guest-posted here a few months ago about her journey as an author, and her blog is always inspiring me to not only educate my kids with more passion, freedom, and intention, but to pursue my own work with the same joy.

Clearly, I respect the woman. So back before I’d spoken with her personally, I was pretty excited that she liked what I’d had to say about one of her posts.

She favorited me again not too long after. I did a fist pump–I was on a roll!

Then I noticed a pattern. Every time I sent out a tweet to Lori, she favorited it. Not just tweets that complimented her, or her site, or were witty. No, she favorited tweets like “Thx 4 the RT”.

That’s when I realized: Lori is just really enthusiastic. Like crazy enthusiastic.

 

I’ll be honest with you, Lori’s enthusiasm confused me for a while. Was it wise to favorite so profligately? Didn’t it make her seem, well, too easy-to-please? Did it cheapen her “favorite” or make me question her discernment?

A while passed. I asked Lori to guest post (she, of course, favorited that tweet) and got the chance to exchange emails a little more personally. And one day, I realized something:

Lori’s enthusiasm was infectious. It was genuine. And it was kind of inspiring.

It seemed absolutely fitting that someone who is writing about how to collaborate with children would favorite pretty much anything I threw at her. It was akin to the enthusiasm I showed when my children invited me to look at their newest art work, invented a new game, or started working on a new skill. Lori talked over and over on her site about valuing the work that children want to pursue without reservation. About how to give it space, support, supplies, and kind, enthusiastic collaboration.

Was it any surprise that after practicing that kind of daily enthusiasm in her school, and with her kids, she would aim it, almost automatically, at everyone she encountered in the Internet?

 

Lori’s blanket favoriting made me look again at my own sense of my work–and others. So often, I stand at an ironic, critical reserve. I’m afraid that if I get too worked up about anything I make, I’ll hear crickets. Or be embarrassed when what I do proves lacking. Or be ridiculed.

I’m afraid of being enthusiastic about others’ work if it isn’t perfect yet. Or it isn’t well-known enough. Or is controversial. I’m back in seventh grade, afraid to be friends with the new kid until it’s clear they’ll be acceptably popular.

Here’s an example: when thinking about writing this post, I was worried I’d seem crazy for liking Lori a little too much. Maybe she’ll think I’m stalking her! Maybe others are tired of me recommending her work!

Maybe I’m getting tired of dimming my light in order to stay safe.

 

You know the thing about enthusiasm? It feels good to be on the receiving end. And it feels even better to let myself be enthusiastic, excited, and supportive of others’ work.

Enthusiasm doesn’t just feel good, though. My attitude towards other artists, creators, and risk-takers always–always!–spirals back and hits me in the gut.

If I’m suspicious, critical, stingy and picky? Guess what kind of attitude I show my own nascent efforts?

On the other hand, when I approach others’ work with a desire to help, to collaborate, to get excited, to find what’s working?

I create a larger, more generous space for my own creativity.

Let’s be enthusiastic. Let’s favorite other’s work a little too often. Let’s become the kind of collaborators we’re dreaming to find.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel Barenblat February 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Thanks for this post & its spirit of generosity — what a great thing to find in my aggregator on a Monday morning.

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Heather February 14, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Thank you, Rachel. Isn’t it lovely to realize that people have real generosity of spirit? That when you reach out, you could very well be met with excitement, welcome, and new ideas?

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Lori February 11, 2013 at 5:10 pm

hee hee — this is such a great thing for you to notice & think about. i’ve been called out by other people about my profuse favorite-ing on twitter. :) hey, it’s my way of THUMBS UP-ing stuff!

i absolutely believe in the life-giving strength of positivity vs. the withering properties of negativity. i find myself avoiding the people who blast negativity all day long on social media. they have a lot of complaints and anger but even when they’re *right*, i can feel their negativity draining my energy. i would much rather focus on people who are busy doing, making, creating, solving problems, and offering solutions.

i do NOT favorite everything in my twitter stream. (i’m following almost 1500 people!) and i definitely do not RT everything, even if i like it personally. i try to keep my message fairly clear; if i RT something, i want my followers to trust that it fits with that message.

that said, i try to maintain contact with a wide variety of people doing a wide variety of things. i like surrounding myself with positive, active people who are hard at work and enjoying every minute of it — and i guess my personal mission is to help create as many of those people as possible. :)

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Heather February 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I love your personal mission, Lori. It’s funny, but it often takes very little effort on our part to encourage and life up other people. I love seeing you model that for others–it inspires me to do the same.

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Tammy February 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm

So, so funny! I notice that Lori favs my tweets from time to time, and it did seem like a “thumbs up” but I hadn’t noticed anyone else using twitter favs in that way. Creativity emerges in so many ways! Thank you for honoring Lori in your writing. She is a gem.

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Heather February 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm

You’re welcome, Tammy! I love seeing how people appropriate social media in unexpected ways.

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Faigie February 12, 2013 at 8:48 pm

That is really funny about the favoriting. I had also noticed that Lori favorited lots of interactions but, I thought it was a marketing thing, like she could somehow use it some way and I asked someone about it, but they didn’t know why someone would do that. Good to hear that its a thumbs up for people

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Heather February 14, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Yes, it’s endearing, isn’t it? I sense that Lori is a savvy marketer, but not in an exploitative way. As writers, finding an audience to engage with has to have more depth and purpose than simply finding numbers. It’s that kind of practice I’m trying to learn as I develop my own audience–inspiring, not “capturing” eyes.

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amanda February 14, 2013 at 8:00 pm

i had a very similar thought process when lori started faving my tweets but you know, i love it and yes, her enthusiasm is contagious. i just want to grab her in a big hug and tell her i love her.

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Heather February 15, 2013 at 1:26 am

Absolutely. Love fest for Lori!

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Glo February 27, 2013 at 7:46 am

Who is Lori and why am I not following her on twitter? Thank you so much for this. I find I am one of those people who can be so enthusiastic about the things I love that sometimes I scare myself. There are absolutely people whose work I never stop recommending then pause and worry if others will find it as amazing as I do. From bands, to blogs, to books, then poets…the list is endless but I am glad to know I am not alone!

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Heather February 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Ha! You should follow her :) She’s @campcreek. And if you are looking for inspiration in your own creative work or for guiding your kids towards creative work, she’s a great resource. From a usual not-enthusiast, thanks for making the world a little more sparkling :)

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Dawn Suzette March 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Lori was one of… If not the… First person to follow me on Twitter. She set the tone of my twitter experience right from the start. I loved it!
Thanks for sharing your thought process on this. It is amazing how infectious her enthusiasm can be and how it actually has encouraged me to support and encourage others more.
Great post!

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Heather March 25, 2013 at 1:35 am

Thank you, Dawn, and welcome! I too am amazed at the power of a few “favorites” on twitter. It really is life-giving to be supportive of others–for everyone involved.

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