The more I learn about social media, the more I think there’s one huge contradiction.
The biggest problem I see is with authenticity.
I’ve heard time and time again that the secret to being a successful blogger is to:
- Write great content
- Solve a problem for your readers
- Meet some specific need or desire for your readers
- Differentiate yourself from the 1,000’s of other blogs out there
- Be yourself
We know that blogs with massive numbers of subscribers follow the five guidelines mentioned above, however, I would like to focus on the last one: be yourself, and here’s where I see the problem. How authentic are we online?
We’re told that the best approach is to:
“Be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not; people can tell if you’re a fake.”
Before I go one step further I have to admit that I’m not 100% myself either (Gasp!) because if I were, I wouldn’t be spending hours producing a how I made my blog welcome video where I sound perkier and livelier than I would at a martini party with my closest friends. And since my article is about being authentic, let me say right now that I wouldn’t spend days and weekends blogging, Tweeting, FaceBooking and commenting on other people’s blogs if I didn’t have a book coming out? (Gasp again!)
I do this because I’m Sonia Marsh and not Sarah Palin. Unfortunately, that dirty word, “self-promotion” for unknown people like myself is what’s expected in the 21st Century. I feel like my online world has sucked me into become one big self-promotional tool and that if I step off and enjoy good old-fashioned phone, and face-to-face conversations with my human friends, I might be “forgotten.”
“Part of me (and I’m sure some of my fellow bloggers) thinks this is crazy with a capital C. There’s this idea that if you stop writing, the crowd will disperse and never, ever come back.” (From Jen Gresham’s blog.)
So what’s wrong with us? It’s like we think, if only I put in more hours into my social media, I can grow my blog. For whom? For what reason? Is that because we want fame? money? more subscribers to feel better? Get people to follow us because we’re more popular than they are?
I think some of us need a reality check. Do you feel like you’re truly yourself online? Come on, be honest with me.
Here’s a list of things most of us are guilty of, and yes, I admit, I’ve done these myself.
- Saying, “Loved your post, or great post,” because we want to be liked.
- Skimming through headlines, because we don’t have enough time to read as many blog posts as we feel we should.
- Trying to read and make a comment of value on certain posts, especially if we know that blogger is popular and hope he/she will notice us.
- Retweeting something because once again, we hope to be noticed.
So what’s the truth here? Are we phony?
You know something’s off kilter when your social media takes precedence over your own family. I remember feeling guilty as hell when my 23-year-old son called and asked me to check airfares for him to come home, and before I did that, I had to check my social media responses first. Sick, sick, sick… What has happened to us? Have we become so self-centered and competitive because of social media, or are we getting sucked into it because if we don’t do it, we’ll never make it.
Of course there are several reasons, one of them might be a problem with addiction to social media. But in many cases, it’s either about making a living, becoming rich, famous, getting exposure, getting more readers, fundraising or sharing what we do with others.
So I invite you to comment, e-mail, Tweet, FB and “like” me, and there’s always the telephone, if you have time to go out for a real cup of coffee and we can be ourselves.