Self-Promotion is Awkward

Lone statue crying out in the wilderness (New York.)

Welcome to the meta blog post of your dreams.

Being a person on the internet is difficult. You opt in, of course, by signing up for social media, by friending and following people, but it gets harder when it gets more personal.

Sure, no one is going to hate on your baby pictures or engagement announcement (if they do, block them. That’s the beauty of personal Facebook use.) But posting something you’ve written? Or a painting you’ve worked really hard on?

Maybe it didn’t get as many “likes” as you’d hoped, or whatever currency you’ve chosen as bestowing value on your gift to the world. And it’s harder to block out criticism of your creations in the internet age.

As if to drive the point home, I recently listened to thisThis American Life episode from a few years back, which talks about the personal nature of starting a business. You, as a person, are the branding, and at least in the beginning, you are a part of whatever you’re selling. People have to buy into you. And if they don’t, how do you not take that personally?

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I think about whether or not I should feel narcissistic in starting this blog, and I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Quick note: if you’re a millennial and you haven’t seen that article before and it makes you angry, read till the end. A highlight:

While every millennial might seem like an oversharing Kardashian, posting vacation photos on Facebook is actually less obnoxious than 1960s couples’ trapping friends in their houses to watch their terrible vacation slide shows.

There’s no denying that we are the selfie generation, the oversharers.

Even if you’re not a millennial, personal sharing is still prevalent. Believe me, I have plenty of older Facebook friends who share much more than I care to know about their lives. But they don’t seem to care about my opinion, and if it makes them happy, why should they?

A blog post like this one is, of course, self-promotional. I want to write stuff, and it’s ideal if people read it, but I’m not good at the part between the writing and the people reading. You have to send a blog post out into the world like a toddler on the playground for the first time, except every time is the first time – will this blog post make friends? Or stumble and fall on its face in the sandbox? (Not speaking from experience, I was more of a swings girl.)

Am I supposed to shove it in your face on my Facebook and Instagram to get you to read it? That doesn’t seem great for a toddler. Lmk! Link in bio!

Anyways, whether you’re starting a business or creating something for the first time, I’m in the camp that it’s always going to be at least somewhat terrifying and intimidating.

For some people, it may come more naturally. Either way, we’re all chucking stuff out there to see what comes back.

I feel like I’m always walking a line, trying to sound somewhat inspirational and down-to-earth and creative but also not be, as they say, an oversharing Kardashian.

It’s best not to tie your personal worth in too much.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go promote this post.

 

P.S. Another interesting but slightly tangential article I found was this one from Quartz about millennials and side hustles. Worth a read.

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