January 13, 2013
On the web, we gauge our success and achievements on numbers. How many likes can I get, how many page views did I hit last month, what is my follower count.
We measure other’s success by these same metrics. “That dude only has 200 followers on twitter? Must not be very good”. Be honest, you’ve thought it.
We collect friends, both in the true “real world” sense and in the sense of friends online. How many followers can you get? How many people want fewer followers? Well, besides Andy Rutledge (@andyrutledge) going on a “unfollow me now” rant. But he can do that because he has enough (and he genuinely couldn’t care less about it).
How do I know my design skills are any good? Well, by how many likes I get on dribbble of course! Let me know you love me by this ambiguous, nonsensical idea of likes and follows.
A Better Measure
So, there is a pretty common idea of purpose in one’s life. Regardless of what you think happens post-death, I think most will agree we’re going to die one day. We’ll get 80 or so years to do what we will in this life.
I don’t think too many people are going to be telling stories to their grandchildren about the time they had 10,000 twitter followers. Hopefully that isn’t the highlight of their lives. Certainly shouldn’t make it into the obituary.
Like I wrote before, I’ve been taking a break from twitter (and a few other distractions) and it’s helped give me some perspective on what achievement really should mean to me.
I don’t know what my purpose in life is or will be, but I do know that I love making things on the web. I will get better at it. The desire being to make meaningful things that better someone else’s life. I don’t know how you measure that or what that looks like though. If you have any thoughts, I’m all ears.