Understanding Motivations and Defining Success

I think there are many times in the lives of those who live online — bloggers, consultants, web people, geeks, etc. — where it is easy to simply lose focus. That’s true in many professions but perhaps more so in a world where everything is measured, it is imperative to “keep up,” and each day hour, there’s a new headline.

There is a whole list of ways we get measured — publicly measured — including subscriber counts, followers, mentions, links, diggs, comments, RT’s, and more. Were these particular measurements of popularity or success what initially pushed us to become bloggers, that compelled us to join Twitter, or use social news sites?

Of course not.

It is time to get back to the roots of our motivations and re-assess how we define success. It is time for us to clearly recognize that the technology we find fun, entertaining, and lucrative, cannot be the end in itself.

Each of our particular motivations and particular successes metrics might not look the same. But they need to be deeper than follower counts and more significant than dollars in the bank or new client work. These are not intrinsically wrong but when they become what drives us — being heard, being important, being recognized — we’ve devalued ourselves. Ironically, such superficial motivation will never push us to produce our best work, leaving us stuck in a frustrated and depressing cycle.

Our roles, as early adopters, is to ultimately vet technology and make it more useful for the masses. By being on the cutting edge and by being people that once understood how to program a VCR and now understand a message that looks like,

“@crzhandle yeah that’s true #ftw RT @obnxpers Twitter is no longer #fail and stuff http://sh.pr/4Twr9″

we have a responsibility to not get lost in the blogosphere, Twitterverse, or in technogadgetry obsession. If we cocoon ourselves in these worlds, then we lose out — because without the voices outside these places, we only hear our own.