I think I may had read one or two too many condescending blog posts lately. Let’s be frank (unless Frank objects and then we’ll pick someone else): there’s ego involved in blogging. I’m not saying that all bloggers gave huge egos (egoes…leggo my ego?), but when you put yourself out there for the world to see, for better or worse, it impacts your ego. Yeah, I’ve got one, I admit it. I try not to turn it into a campaign to prove to people how much they should love me. I just watched a Woody Allen movie this weekend: “Everyone Says I Love You” and I couldn’t help but think about how every Woody Allen movie I see (well both of them, but still) feels like a production company-financed attempt by Woody Allen to get the world to love him. And I suspect that it’s not working. Well, it isn’t working on me. That kind of self-gratification only works if it well, works. And I’m sorry to say that I don’t love Woody Allen and I’ve made a mental note to take any of his movies off my netflix queu (please, no irate mails from Woody Allen fans…as with everything here, just my humble opinion).
Same with condescending blog posts (I really hope you don’t think I’ve done this); as if writing in such a way establishes your credibility. Yeah, we all want to put our “best face” out there (otherwise why have my head shots taken twice since I started blogging?), but does your audience care how great you think you are? Do you you need to “talk down” to build yourself up? I was just telling someone that the personality is central to the blog AND authenticity is my goal. Well, I’ll be darned if that didn’t make me feel like I need to tell you about everything I’m not good at. Seriously. We are all out here trying to establish credibility and maybe having to admit to a few mistakes along the way, but why not just come out and say what we aren’t good at? Are we worried that someone will see a crack in the facade? Just for the record:
I can’t read a map to save my life. Don’t even try to give me driving directions making reference to N/S/E/W. That’s one way to guarantee that I will not show up at the destination. If you are going to tell me how easy map reading is for you, I am going to ignore you. Does that count as two faults or one?
I stink at knitting. I want to knit. I can cast on and then I am lost. So if anyone needs me to knit something that is really just a string of yarn with a knitting needle stuck through it, you just let me know.
I over-analyze conversations. I think back and ask myself “why did I say that?”…ALL the time! I can be very direct. Also, I stink at small talk. I don’t know why it makes me uncomfortable sometimes, it just does. So forgive me if we are in a conversation and I forget to ask you about your family. I’m not trying to be a jerk, my mind just doesn’t go there.
I’m not good at relaxing. Nothing makes me relax less than someone telling me to relax.
I get nervous before I give a presentation. I’m getting better at this, but the look on my face before I present corresponds with my mental dialog: “why did I agree to do this?”. Oh yay, another area for personal growth.
I hate to fly. I know, it’s irrational. Turbulence makes me nervous (that’s a delicate way of putting it). If this is a sign of me being a control freak, then let’s add that to the list. I think we covered that in the post about keeping my house clean (stinky sponge anyone?). Anyway, I do have to take a little something before I board the plane, which I would not recommend for everyone. Then again, I wouldn’t recommend sheer panic for everyone either.
I stink at sports. Pretty much all of them. Even running. I especially stink at running (I think that is the official diagnosis when you turn purple…but for anyone that catches me trying to run at the gym, notice how long I run for…one whole minute at a time!). My trainer, James, has already built up an immunity to my whining.
I was an undisciplined student. I regret that. A little bit less since I stopped paying off my student loans. I’m just going to be embarrassed if you ask me my GPA. And looky, Microsoft hired me anyway!
I’m a bit of a loner. Well, not just a bit. Work is my social time. I can be a bit of a home-body outside of work. Well, not just a bit. This surprises many people who find me so social in a work context (any surprise that I am so enjoying working from home?). I think socializing at work is my version of getting it out of my system (so I can go home to peace and quiet and obsess about the conversations I had during the day). I don’t dislike people (I quite like most of them actually…especially the ones that don’t invite me to joined their LinkedIn network BEFORE they’ve met me… but I do dislike cats…sorry!). I don’t answer the doorbell or my home phone unless I know who it is. Is that crazy?
I don’t think my neighbor across the street likes me. I could try harder to make her like me but I’m not going to. I’m sure there’s some horrible flaw that makes me like this. Feel free to speculate. OK, now I sound like the postsecret website (language alert if the f-word makes you uncomfortable).
Well, I’m really just trying to make a point. I’ll link to the result of the conversation that got me thinking about this next week. It just made me think about the perceived juxtaposition of credibility and authenticity (at least in the mind of the blogger). People (bloggers) are willing to tell you about what they are great at (if I ever tell you I am “authority” or “expert” on anything, please feel free to question me vigorously, but I hope I don’t go there) because their blog ego is talking. It’s not so fun to highlight all the bad stuff about yourself (the stuff you don’t like, the stuff other people don’t like), but that’s what makes you real/human/authentic. And I’m trying really hard not to sound like I think of myself as some kind of authority on the subject ; )
The thing with blogging is that people will point out the stuff they don’t like about you (especially if they have no chance of ever meeting you face-to-face). If they do it respectfully, they are doing you a favor (feel free to e-mail me if there’s something you need to tell me about me…some of you have already) because a little insight is good. Others do it disrespectfully and they are giving you an excuse to totally blow them off (which I do, happily as I consider their ego…whee!). Especially if they have no chance of ever meeting you face-to-face. So I think that the more you try to proactively build up your credibility, the more other people will want to rip it down. I’m not saying that credibility is a zero sum game or the market on credibility needs to achieve some kind of equilibrium (because that would be crazy talk…and also talking like that is really, really annoying). I’m just saying that the market (readers) only have a certain tolerance for self-promoting credibility. And at a certain point, the natives become restless. So why not beat them to the punch (OK, metaphor overload) and put some of your less admirable qualities out there? Your readers were already thinking it anyway.