Everyone’s biggest fear about social media and how you can overcome it

At least a couple times per week, major news stories will circulate that criticize people or a particular brand for using social media poorly. Whether it’s politicians, sports figures, or companies, there’s no lack of mistakes made in the digital media realm.

Have you ever stopped yourself from pressing the “Share,” “Post,” or “Tweet” button because you fear criticism, too? Of course. We all have a certain degree of trepidation when sharing things in the public eye. There’s an even bigger fear than criticism, however, and this fear is stifling the growth of both your business and personal brand.

First though, have you heard of the 1% rule of the internet? It’s a rule of thumb that describes the percentages of everyone who’s online, and breaks down as the following:

  • Ninety percent of people online are spectators or “lurkers.” Lurkers only read, watch, or listen. They use the majority of bandwidth on the internet, not just because of their sheer number, but because of what they spend their time doing. Next time you’re in a coffee shop or walking through an airport, check out what people are doing with their devices. The vast majority will simply be consuming content created by other people.
  • Nine percent of people online are participants. Unlike lurkers, this 9% actually engages in some capacity with the content they’re consuming. This engagement can take the form of likes, retweets, comments, or shares. These people show the world how they feel, but only by way of how they feel about other people’s content.
  • That leaves us with only 1% of the online population. What does this 1% do? They actually create the content that the other 99% consume.

Why only 1%? Do 99% of people online have nothing to say? Of course not. How many people have you ever met in person that never speak or only speak when spoken to? When it comes to social media or digital content, there’s a fundamental issue very few of us have acknowledged.

Ninety-nine percent of people online have one major underlying fear, and it’s not criticism. It’s silence. Before sharing something for the public to consume, have you ever stopped yourself and asked, “Is anyone really listening?” At the core, we fear sharing our original ideas, not just because of shouted criticism, but also because of deafening silence.



Do you have that fear? First off, don’t feel bad. You’re part of 99% of people, right? Here’s an easy way to overcome this fear, and it consists of two simple steps.

1. Start engaging proactively with those whom you’re targeting. What’s one of the best things about social media? You can find and participate in conversations that are already happening. By listening first, and understanding what problems people are facing, you can shape solutions to help them. What’s an easy way to listen? Start with my article on How to use #Hashtags in your business.

2. Create content that will assist the audience you’re targeting. Share what you experience in doing what you do day-to-day. Think to yourself, “Will the people I’m serving benefit from hearing what I’m about to say?” In this respect, you can never be too simple. Keep in mind things that are commonplace for you are brand new for thousands of people every day.

What do you think? Do you fear sharing your thoughts with the public? Have you ever published your ideas only to hear nothing in response?

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