Very few of us perform our work – or even our hobbies – in a vacuum.
I don’t write, or take pictures, or do whatever it is, simply for my own enjoyment. Though that is the main reason, I also do it because I have pride in the work I do, and because I hope that others will find value in it.
Such is the case with most creative fields. We spent hours at our craft not just to have a finished product we’re proud of, but also to have a finished product that others are proud of.
The problem is that I’ll never accurately know the impact that finished product has. (At least, not without blatantly fishing for compliments.)
Chances are, we all care about our standing on the Web, or at work, or in whatever arena we fill. Yet, there’s no way to effectively gauge our impact – readership, influence, whatever – without making a plea for loyalty. I’ll never know until I can get a roll call, and even then it’s not likely.
It’s a Catch-22. I’d love to know if some of the people I follow – whose stuff I’m inspired by, local or national – follow me back. But I can’t let anyone know about it, because those same people are confident enough not to fish for confirmation.
It sounds pathetic to wander up to people you respect and ask, “DO YOU LIKE ME?” Even more so when you understand that they’re stuck – either answer yes, regardless of feelings, or stay silent in a perceived admission of distaste.