Last week, I was one of 25 women invited to attend CineCause's Women's Initiative in Los Angeles, in conjunction with the Hollywood Film Festival -- thanks to my work and vision with Maker's Lane. It was a day filled with special guests, including Christine Vachon of Killer Films and producer Gina Belafonte of the award-winning "Sing Your Song," imparting a wealth of knowledge on everything from distribution to digital branding to funding strategies.
I felt enriched by the knowledge and the networking opportunity, knowing that I was progressing myself and my goals through the experience. After all, over 500 people applied and I was selected to attend--that's got to be some form of affirmation. But naturally, I felt overwhelmed. In a lot of ways I also felt like I was drowning in all the information, feeling like I couldn't keep up with our social media driven world and the over saturation of content.
During the conversation around digital content and strategy, there was a strong emphasis on the fact that social media reach = social currency. I don't have a large following on Twitter, Instagram or my Facebook Page. I've never been motivated by the desire to grow my social media numbers, I've mainly been focused on the content and quality of my work. And being a highly private introvert doesn't make social media easy for me. But social media reach is inevitably becoming a strong factor in business models these days. And even if I don't care about the number itself, I do care about the fact that I ultimately want people to see my work -- whether it be my writing, videos, artwork, or something else.
It's an ongoing internal dilemma of mine. I like to think that quality & product will always prevail, but maybe that won't be the case in a social media driven world. The artist with the bigger Instagram follower tends to get picked over the artist with a small following. Processes, habits and culture are constantly changing, which means value systems can also shift. It's critical that I start integrating social media into my life as a tool, not a way of life.
But there's one value that won't ever change for me -- and that's knowing yourself deeply. As I was driving through LA, I couldn't stop admiring the palm trees, loving the way they rise above buildings to carve out the skyline. They were so tall and lanky, and I wondered, "Damn, how do they get so high without falling over?" Then I started to feel reinspired by the palm trees, because they reminded me:
You need strong roots to rise to the top.
In an age of self-proclaimed celebrity culture and flash in the pan fame, I'm in no rush to get to where I know I will eventually be.