Half Closed Doors
I share a lot of my thoughts and observations here on this blog, as well as on Always Off Book. I am also fairly open and candid about what I may be going through at any given time, as well as the circumstances of my life.
But lately I have been asking myself the question, at one point is it none of their damned business?
Nobody forces me to blog or tweet. I do it of my own free will. At least to a certain extent I do. I choose when I post to those platforms, and what I will say. How often I will say it. Yet in the world of “personal branding” and networking, and all of the other ridiculous, (and may I say for the 13 trillionth time) ineffective methods of making one relevant, respected and sought after online, there is a little less free will and a lot more expectation.
If a person wants to attract business, or interest in their talents, or simply readership to their platform, there are a whole slew of rules, methods, guidelines and expectations one supposedly must follow. Certain products you have to use, certain key phrases you must pump into your content, certain platforms that are considered acceptable. Each of these things in constant flux as one tries to keep a float amid the fickle seas of online public esteem. Petty things that by Christmas won’t even apply any longer, thus requiring ever more potent bouts of sea sickness as one attempts to adjust again. And again and again.
If you read this blog, and especially if you have one of your own, you know what these things are. I won’t go into them again now. But suffice to say that the vast majority of the things I am expected to do in order to gain the sort of lucrative or influential presence online are things that go not only against my style, but against my nature. My grain. Beyond my scope. Yet when I can, I have twisted, turned, sucked up, swallowed down, and dealt with those contrary to my nature things. Each time much to my own anxiety and discomfort, as you might imagine.
Trying to maintain one’s own voice, approach and goals while being deemed as worthy by the pack is a draining, soul-sucking, mind-numbing investment. So in this sense, a lot of what I do, or have tried to do online has not been totally of my free will, because I actually want to be a thought leader. I want to have influence, and I want to use that influence to land jobs so I can support myself.
And what’s worse; it doesn’t work most of the time. Not even a little bit.
Therefore I ask myself just how far I am supposed to walk down a blogging/writing/thought leadership road that isn’t leading me anywhere. Does it make sense to continue to follow the distasteful rules and crippling norms of a world that has given me absolutely nothing in return? I say no.
That is to say, I feel less and less like being open and honest about certain aspects of myself. Maintaining that “personal brand” everybody talks about of course demands candor. Openness. Full disclosure and public, verbal exploration of my discomforts and insecurities. Or else, nobody will respect me, right? Nobody will want to follow me, engage in me or hire me.
Guess what? In many cases, that has been the case anyway, when I have been frank with my thoughts, and frequent with my posts. So why put forth extra effort now?
I am a little tired of the small voice inside of me that says I ought to be sharing with the blogosphere, or with Twitter things such as my financial problems, the confusion I have over things others find easy, the need I may have soon to make a humiliating change in my lifestyle, the uncertainty of my future. The resentment I have towards all of the success surrounding me, and the fortune cookie advice I get to fix things.
I have never been one to give much of a damn about my “brand” whatever that is, and if it requires me to share even more of what I am about, what I am going through, and what I desperately want to do to a mostly unresponsive medium that hasn’t made me more marketable by one jot, to hell with my “brand.”
Sometimes, what I am going through, even if it’s a huge change in my life, is just none of anybody’s damned business. I want people to get to know me, and understand what I am about, but unless it’s an all or nothing proposition, sometimes I’d rather them just know part of the story. And if that part of the story is not enough to reply to my blogs, retweet my tweets, or determine that I am an intellgient, talented individual worthy of time and money, than perhaps I am not meant to ever make any money.
I can only hope that the small inclination within me that says, “this is writing material“, or “share this story on Twitter” quiets down a bit. At least until I see some evidence that the investment I make in candor reaps dividends in something else.