How not to be a square on the web. Free stock photo courtesy of unsplash.com and Dustin Lee.
How do we make ourselves cool in today’s society? See, you probably don’t ask yourself that like I do. In my case, I think I may be an introvert. Recently, I’ve been having this conflicted feeling about whether this is good or not. This, introversion or the need to be alone.
As I traveled the other day with the team I’ve been writing about recently, I didn’t know what to do about normal conversation. All I wanted to do was ask questions; open the minds of the youths next to me and learn about their backgrounds and what inspires them to be so good at the the craft I wished I dominated myself.
What did they do on the trip? Smile ear-to-ear about everything and anything that wasn’t basketball. I was amazed. Don’t we all assume that the guys that’re THIS good talk about basketball all the time? No. This is their profession, just like I don’t really like it when people ask me, specifically that is, about journalism. Talking to one of the players about their jump shot form is the equivalent of them striking up a conversation about AP style.
So as I sit next to a 17 year-old kid I possibly may admire, I ask a question here and there about the lyrics he was writing for his mix tape, ask him about other sports he played then sat there and read my Sports Illustrated magazine quietly. My subtlety showed that I’m still a technical person; reading about stats for two hours. My coverage of the game went fine and the trip was an overall success, but interestingly, my personality was edged and boxed in the eyes of that player.
“Your friend is cool, but he a square brah (laughs).”
A square. Anything but that. But it’s true. As an introvert, I box myself in. This closeness to myself is the most dangerous feature that I can’t expose to the groundswell, or internet community that we try to thrive in. No successful journalist keeps to themselves. I notice that my peers often, in my opinion, take their openness too far which is why I try to tweet or write only about openly objective things. But in today’s society, I’ve learned that you actually have to take risks with what you say.
HOW TO OPEN UP
“(Insert head coach name) SHOULD BE FIRED,” I see one friend tweet. My brain utters and says, “should he be saying that? What if he wants to interview that coach?” Or does he say this knowing that the coach will never read it? Am I overreacting? Either way, this lack of being conservative with his online language has garnered him a couple thousand followers. He makes his opinion matter through force. He pushes himself onto people; not arrogantly, but as if his words have substance and validity. Like he’s the Nostradamus of the sports world and his predictions and statements will be considered for times to come.
What can I do?
The player that called me a square? He sat close enough to me where the contents of his phone were in my peripheral. So, naturally, I peeked and saw that for four straight minutes, with off and on peeking of course, he looked at nothing but pictures. You see, I’d like for him to follow me on Twitter and see what I write about him, but if he doesn’t read, why should he follow me? Now I can’t offer him beautiful women (what he was looking at) but I can offer him pictures of himself playing and of his teammates.
I don’t plan on making outlandish statements, but I have to be confident with my work. There’s no intention to change my writing that delves into the specifics of game play, but I have to add pictures and video of what I’m trying to relay to my writers. In my last article, I talked about the team using a 1-2-2 defense. Pictures need to be taken of these formations for clarity. If I don’t include the whole package, then I’m squaring myself into a certain aspect. Just like I box myself into specifics of like, which is noticeable after a two-hour car ride.
KEEP OPENING UP
Why stop there? I should be asking him to stop and take his picture. I’m a journalist write and I want my potential fans to see that I truly care about them. Only writing is truly only caring about myself. Again, being introverted. I need to take video of interviews; ask players to stop and take some time in front of the camera. That way, they’ll be looking at my pictures and follow my work.
I’ve learned from 461 that you have to accommodate to all types of people. You have to write for the readers and create media for the lookers. It really is that simple. I’m glad I’ve been given the opportunity to write this, because even though it’s a reinforcement for myself, it’s a self-taught lesson that will make me burst open this square and open up to the world.