How LinkedIn Inspired me to be Vulnerable
Pandemic or not, LinkedIn continues to be a platform full of everyday heroes
Shortly after I relocated back home due to the pandemic, I had a mentor call to check up on me and see how I was handling everything. I reassured him that, for the most part, I was doing fine, and that I was doing my best to adapt to the transition (such as classes being held through alternative means). I told him that I found myself having more time to read books and work on personal projects, something I didn't feel I had the time for before.
He was glad that I didn't seem dispirited from being confined to my home, and praised me for being able to continue to see this as an opportunity rather than a setback. He shared that he, too, was picking up some books, as he had come to the conclusion that had he not, then his reasoning of "never having the time" was simply an excuse. While I realize that this is certainly not applicable for every scenario or person, his words resonated with me since there certainly were many things in my life that I thought I would take on had I had the time for it.
A few days later I was talking to some friends and relatives who did not share the same outlook or optimism I had towards the situation. They asked me how I was able to keep myself busy and motivated with so many hobbies and interests while stuck at home. They were surprised to hear that the first answer that came to my mind was LinkedIn. Along with the COVID crisis came a lot of terrible news of death, panic, recession and more. The constant stream of bad news was depressing to me. The one platform I found solace in was LinkedIn. It was the one place that I saw so many people supporting each other, post after post. Whether it was a post about raising awareness, promoting platforms that supported medical professionals, or simply a message that showed appreciation for those working in the frontlines, the people on LinkedIn were united in confronting the dread the pandemic has wreaked.
It was also full of opportunities and advice, all of which I heeded with sincerity. There were professionals offering their master courses for free, those who were offering their time to review resumes and portfolios (especially prominent with the number of furloughs happening), and people who inspired others through their writing. In particular, I saw many posts where people persuaded others - regardless of background - to start writing about their own experiences.
I was hesitant to start writing. There was something about having to translate my emotions and experiences into words that made me feel vulnerable. I enjoy writing, but seldom share my work with others. It wasn't that I was afraid of negative feedback. I understood and appreciated that they would offer me new perspectives and help me grow, even if it hurt. But sharing my writing meant more than getting feedback on grammar, and I was well aware of how intimidating people online are, especially when it came to opposing opinions.
Yet with so many people sharing posts that communicated the importance of sharing their writing, I knew I had to give it a try. At first I went to Vocal. I was attracted to their website (which is important for a web developer), and I appreciated that it was an ad-free platform. I decided to post something and keep it a secret, but ended up reluctantly sharing it to my mother and boyfriend, so long that they promised not to share it with others. My next post was a collection of short poems that I wrote in the past. This was most definitely something that made me feel vulnerable, and I almost regretted it as soon as I posted it.
The next morning, I woke up to a text from vocal telling me that a $10 payment was on its way. When I checked my account, someone had send me an anonymous tip. I immediately called my mother and boyfriend to confirm that it was not them. I had told them previously that I was not writing with the intention of making a profit. They reassured me that it was not them, as they knew I was the type of person to immediately Venmo the amount back and refuse to accept payments. My mother confessed she didn't even "like" the post, as she was too lazy to create an account (thanks mom).
I don't know who this anonymous individual was, but I hope that they know they made my day and have inspired me to write even more. In addition, I also noticed that I was listed on the home page of Vocal as a staff pick, and saw that I had received quite a sum of "likes" on my submission through the statistics page. It made me feel elated to know that there were people who not only took the time out of their day to read what I wrote, but also liked it.
I also re-read my post and realized that even after proofreading and editing it, I had made some grammatical errors or had phrases I wish I could omit or rephrase. But rather than feeling embarrassed, I felt excited to see how much my writing will grow in a years time. I realized that this vulnerability had been holding me back from pursuing something beautiful, and sharing my voice.
I am incredibly thankful for all the people who continue to support me and inspire me even with all the chaos going on in the world. I want to express my gratitude to the people on LinkedIn and Vocal, for encouraging me to be vulnerable through my writing. I hope that others who read this are also inspired to share their experiences as well, or to take a risk and pursue another hobby that they are interested in. Most importantly, I hope that they don't let vulnerability be the factor that holds them back. There are so many of us who don't feel normal right now. So many of us who are afraid. I want to thank the people on LinkedIn for helping us not only feel normal, but inspired.