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Tim Denning

The Forgotten Power of Social Media: Self-Expression

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Tim Denning
Tim Denning

Self-expression with a time limit helps you release more thoughts into the world without judgment
Photo by Jay Mullings on Unsplash

rs are angels or anything. We don’t possess some higher power or turn water into delicious wine.

Self-expression is powerful. It’s a pure form of communication people can relate to. Daily self-expression on a platform like Twitter solves problems for people just like you, except you’re often not told. It happens quietly behind closed doors, away from your ego.

Stream of consciousness self-expression via Twitter speaks to people differently than formal content that is planned, edited, packaged, and given a healthy, safe, G-Rated headline.

You Can See What Your Thoughts Can Create

Thoughts on social media can go beyond your control. I shared a tiny idea about how "Quiet people in meetings are incredible."

This story has transcended me. It still gets shared daily on places like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s a thought I had while in a meeting. Normally a thought like this would stay silent and never be released. Social media changed that. I would never have predicted that thought to be so relatable to millions of people.

Your best self-expression looks insignificant — and that’s the point. Tiny thoughts can create ripple effects for years to come.

It’s Not All Kombucha and Burritos

So you’re ready for a happy dance. Life is hashtag great. Social media is a perfect art form, isn’t it? We can all be Pocahontas and live our little dream on social media, right? Not quite.

There’s an ugly side.

Self-expression is addictive. Writing online becomes your little slice of creative freedom. Your creative freedom can be restricted though. When I was unleashing creative freedom in a well-known traditional business publication many years ago, they started limiting what I could write. They’d make brash edits. They’d change pictures. They even changed the photo of a Ferrari and replaced it with one of a Bugatti, despite the article clearly being a metaphor for owning a Ferrari. They didn’t care.

They threw my delicious burrito in the bin and smashed my glass bottle of kombucha on the pavement. They spoke down to me. I was a nobody (and still am). It hurt. Editorial guidelines started driving my life. Writing a swear word equaled a ban from their publication. It felt like they were trying to tell me how to think and what to think.

Self-expression shouldn’t be altered by subliminal mind control. I escaped the dictatorship and never looked back.

Winning back creative freedom, if you’ve lost it

Newsletters are booming. It’s not because you can charge a monthly fee for them via a service like Substack. Newsletters are old-school creative freedom.

There are no editorial guidelines. You can use a racy cover image if you choose. You can be absolutely wild with the headline of your article if you choose. It’s just you and your ideas without the middle man to broker a creative deal with.

Twitter and Substack are ways to get your creative freedom back if you feel like you’ve lost it. Just don’t do a Donald Duck and start a siege.

Bringing It All Together

Your version of self-expression won’t be everybody’s flavor of burrito. My fiancé summed it up beautifully: “So, I’m going to be unsubscribing from your email list.” It was a little shocking, I’m not going to lie.

But self-expression isn’t about keeping everybody happy. It’s about setting your unfiltered thoughts free into the world to see what can happen.

Self-expression is powerful because it helps you escape the noise in your head, see your thoughts for what they are, help strangers, and witness the power of ripple effects. Use social media to express yourself unapologetically.