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Do You Like Your Own Stuff?

Mitch Mitchell of I’m Just Sharing opens a can of worms over Liking Or Sharing Your Own Stuff With Others; Let’s Talk…

My opinion on this has flip-flopped, over the years. First, it seemed to me that promoting my own work was like being seven or eight, again, standing at the end of the diving board and screaming, “Lookit! Lookit! Watch this!” over every unremarkable dive. Pretty soon, you’re doing half-gainers and nobody even spares you a glance. They might not even notice if you hung out around the drain, 12 feet under, just a little longer than the average person can hold his breath…

Actually, someone did ask me to stop doing that, once. I was freaking out the older folks who didn’t know whether to risk life and limb to save me, or whether they should call the plumber first or the coroner.

A few years later, after arguing till I was blue in the face over whether content or marketing was king, I conceded they were the king and his whorish queen, and if you ever wanted anyone to read your stuff, you’d have to get with the program and promote the heck out of it. Since I like readers, I reluctantly started hawking my wares, so to speak. It seemed tawdry and distasteful, until I made a game of it. Could silliness beat out earnest stupidity? Could trial-and-error marketing beat out a carefully orchestrated campaign? Sometimes! Look at the popularity of Super Bowl ads – people like “playful.” But do they sell product? Are they memorable? Not always.

On the other hand, if you’re 50 and grew up in Ohio, I’ll bet you could finish this sentence: “See the USA, in a C. Miller…”

After playing “spam-a-friend” to win several blogging contests, I mostly went back to quietly hoping folks would still care to read my blog, or might stumble into it by accident as if it were an open manhole cover. After several close friends asked, “Are you still writing?” I thought maybe I’d gone too far in suppressing the shameless self-promotion. And frankly, with all the other “pretty, shiny stuff” out there competing, hourly, for attention – I appreciate it when friends prod me (often more than once!) to say, “Hey, I posted something new – have you read it? I’d really like your opinion on it, when you get a chance.” And I do mean that. I’m grateful to them for reminders. Sometimes people are too quick to assume that we’re not interested, and they silently go off to lick their wounds, never to be heard from again. The sad fact is, the squeaky gate does get the grease – and there are so many squeaky gates that we may miss the most important ones, the ones that lead to the nicest places.

But if someone habitually plays “spam-a-friend,” they shouldn’t be surprised when even their closest friends seek a break and some variety.

Now, the question of whether to “Like” our own stuff on Facebook is complicated by the fact that Facebook may bury our posts if we don’t. By “bury,” I mean hide them from our own family’s and friends’ news feeds. If we click “Like,” that sends a different kind of notice. And if we comment – which seems silly if we comment on our own posts before others have a chance to – that’s another kind of notice, still. Which means that without poking our friends and saying, “Lookit! Lookit! See what I posted?” we can kind of subtly give our content another chance at life.

It’s not narcissistic – it’s sort of like poking a fallen bird, gently, with a stick, after it’s hit the big plate glass window. With any luck, it’ll hop onto the end of the stick, chirp, and fly. Or even get chased by cats, but it won’t just end up shriveling in the sun, too dry even for the maggots.

Okay, we creative writers really can kill a metaphor without even trying, sometimes.

But, now, back to Mitch’s points.

Should we share things we haven’t read? For the most part, no. Mainly because headlines can be deceiving, and we may inadvertently agree with something based on a satirical headline that’s really more troll-bait than news. That said, I often share things I haven’t read – if the person whose wall or blog I shared from is someone I trust. I share, because I value their opinion, and because I want to make a point to read later.  I tell people that on my Facebook wall or Twitter, sharing is not endorsement of a product, service, or idea. It is simply…sharing. Because it looked interesting. You read. Come back and tell me what you thought of it. I’ll do the same when I get back to it.

Should we acknowledge people who share our stuff? Of course. Of course. If we notice. I don’t think we should have our feet held to the fire if we fail to notice that someone’s clicked a button, though. Seriously – do not share my stuff, using those little “Like” and “Share” buttons to get my attention and thanks. I thank you in advance, if you find anything I write particularly share-worthy. I really do sincerely appreciate it. But I’m not going to spend my life vanity-surfing to find out who has validated my ego with a click. Thank you, but really – if you want love and validation, talk to me. Comment and engage me in a real conversation.

Poke me in the ribs and say, “Come, read my blog, now.”

Mitch asks, “If you thank one person and ignore everyone else how to you think they’d feel? And put yourself into both of these situations; how would you feel if it’s you?” I learned to stop keeping score on this stuff, years and years ago. I share things because I find them interesting or because someone asked me to – it’s that simple. I feel especially good if the blogger notices and says thank you now and then, but it surprises me. I don’t expect it and I won’t stop or get my nose out of joint if they don’t. Some bloggers are pushy or demanding in their requests to share their content, but my stock answer to that is a silent, “No.”

I feel badly if I wish someone a happy birthday and miss the fact that it’s someone else’s birthday, too. And I’m still not quite over the time my best friend in grade school pointedly wished her dog a happy birthday, knowing it was my birthday, too, and just said, “Oh, hi Holly.” But I’ve forgiven her, because I am horrible at remembering and acknowledging people’s birthdays. I’d forget my own, most years, if my husband and kids didn’t remind me. I won’t hold it against you if you do.

March 3.

HollyJahangiri

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.

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10 Responses to “Do You Like Your Own Stuff?”

  1. Mitch Mitchell
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great stuff Holly. I don’t think anyone should feel a sense of obligation in trying to thank every single person who shares our stuff. I do think we have the right to thank someone in whatever manner we see fit. After all, social media moves fast, and as I said in that post, unless someone is auto-posting something every 15 minutes 24/7 there are a lot of posts and shares that get missed by the overwhelming majority.

    Meanwhile, I’ve fought liking my own stuff on Facebook, even those posts on my business page. I know it limits who sees it but I just can’t do it; kind of like I can’t give my own videos a thumbs up when I’ve recorded them. Just doesn’t feel right.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Multiple Page Articles; Oy!My Profile

    • Well, I gave you a thumbs up – you can give ME one – how’s that? 🙂

      I think we’re too reticent, sometimes, and I understand it, but I’m not sure it’s effective. Especially when a site, like Facebook, stacks the deck against you. I compromise, usually – I’ll post something, and if it’s had NO notice in a few hours, I’ll like or comment on it.

      This self-conscious discomfort with doing it, though – it’s like me not wanting to turn on the webcam. Now, how stupid would that video have been if I’d just chatted (typed) my answers to you? (Seriously, look at my channel and you will find three silent videos there. I’m not kidding about this, Mitch.) Anyway… 😉 I don’t think people are keeping score or sneering at you if you occasionally like or share your own stuff, or thank everyone else who does. If you’re constantly – CONSTANTLY – nagging them to DO something for you, that’s a bit different.

      I don’t know who these n00bs are who decided that since they’ve been blogging for 2-3 years they get to make up all the rules. I’ve been blogging since about 1999, and hanging out online – moderating forums, even – since around 1989. So you can do any darned thing you want to, as far as I’m concerned, and people can take it any way they want to – but bottom line, I think you’re okay if you just be yourself and treat others kindly.

      People will come up with the silliest reasons to follow or unfollow, to criticize or to praise you – we ALL do it, but I think we’re just trying to find some rational justification for doing whatever it is we want to do. Where’s your rational justification for worrying about it so much? You want to thank people? That’s charming – I cannot imagine anyone finding it obnoxious, but if they leave because you’re more polite than they are? Oh well. I was happy to see Adrienne say essentially the same thing, over on your post, already. Just do what comes naturally.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Using Styles, Not Direct Formatting, in Microsoft WordMy Profile

      • Mitch Mitchell
        Twitter:
        says:

        I fully understand that when it comes to business I need to be a better marketer, more “out there” so to speak. And yet, even though I bought and read the book “Brag”, I still have those times where it feels like “hey, look at me and look what I did”.

        We fight out generational background where we were told that our actions were enough to get people to recognize us. It’s not totally true in today’s world and the younger generation gets that, and I actually get it but following through… still tough to do.
        Mitch Mitchell recently posted…F. B. Purity For FacebookMy Profile

  2. March 3…March 3..March 3.

    Okay, I need to try and remember that. Trying to make an impression on you…which may encourage you to check my blog and promote my stuff 😉

    Anyways, I love self promotion. It is selfish, but that’s how life is. Do you want to achieve success with your blog? Self promote – and ask others to help out.

    Of course, don’t be a douche bag – help others out, give and get, right?

    Then there is giving too much (I love that idea, but personally prefer not to give too much one particular blogger – divide it up, because in the long run, we build more relationships :D).

    I’ve read about the disadvantages of giving too much (I don’t remember any of the points right now. Sorry!).

    I haven’t read Mitch’s post yet, got to do that soon!

    Hmm, what else?

    Yeah, that’s all I have, at least for now. I will come back to reply back to your reply 😀
    Jeevan Jacob John recently posted…No free time? Just change when you think!My Profile

    • Jeevan! You made an impression on me years ago. But you can still do me a favor and remind me, from time to time, to check out your blog. 😉

      I really do not object to self promotion. Nope, only to PUSHY self-promotion coupled with a kind of selfishness that says, “I’m important enough for you to share my stuff, but don’t even think of asking me to share yours, because I’m not going to pass you any of MY link juice!” LOL, as if I drink link juice or care…

      I actually appreciate it from bloggers I consider friends, because everything competes for our attention all the time, and I’d rather you tap me on the forehead and remind me, than to get your feelings hurt if I seem to forget. (I haven’t forgotten – and that’s one thing I LOVE about the CommentLuv – it leaves me bread crumbs so I can find my way out of the dark woods and not end up in someone’s gingerbread house.)

      The only disadvantages I can think of of giving too much are (a) feeling resentful if you’re keeping score; (b) feeling guilty if you’re the recipient, worrying that others are keeping score and you’ll never be able to repay the debt; or (c) what you mentioned earlier, about seeming to play favorites (or feeling neglected by what you perceive as someone playing favorites).

      Given that, I think it’s important to give what you can, when you can, and never try to keep score. Others will do that for you; it’s your choice to play their games or not. If you’re sincerely giving what and when you can, and they’re communicating their needs and wants clearly, and no one’s keeping score, that’s kind of the perfect relationship, right there.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Using Styles, Not Direct Formatting, in Microsoft WordMy Profile

  3. I hopped over here from Mitch’s blog. The one time I clicked a like on my own post, someone gave me (friendly) grief. As for the thank yous, on FB I will often leave a thank you comment when someone shares my post. On Twitter, I rarely send a specific thank you. I prefer to express my thanks by sharing the work of others and try to give a personal comment as to why I’m sharing.
    Cairn Rodrigues recently posted…Pardon My FrenchMy Profile

  4. My blog posts are about CFS (not so thrilling), writing (my way or the highway), and the scenes I published every Tuesday as I finished polishing them for my debut novel.

    Not tremendously exciting.

    I’m finding that marketing is much harder to blog about – and I have nothing to contribute to the common knowledge there (as well as nothing to take from it). And I don’t want to blog much about writing during Book 2 of the trilogy because, well, I did that for Book 1, and not much has changed.

    Plus the workload has doubled with writing 2 and promoting 1 happening simultaneously.

    I love my book. That has been the one great part. Every time someone starts it on KU, and I see that they can’t put it down until they’ve finished, I feel validated somehow (please ignore the fact that if I can see a single person reading, it means only one person IS reading).

    But I’ve never been a hugely popular blogger and won’t be because I’m not writing the way most people write, and I have problems most people don’t have. It’s okay – I’m used to it. I find it incredibly useful to produce the posts – it builds writing facility and editing facility and practice with proofing and graphics and just being organized.

    I like my own stuff. I write it for me. And I’m delighted when someone else finds it useful. And I love my tiny contingent of regular readers.
    Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt recently posted…2016 and the writing of Pride’s ChildrenMy Profile

    • That’s how *I* think blogging should be: useful/fun for US; enjoyable for whoever chooses to drop by and read. I feel so sorry for people who feel COMPELLED to blog but clearly HATE it and struggle with what to write about or how to write it. For a writer, it’s as natural as breathing and it’s fun. I used to love those creative writing classes other English majors dreaded. Here’s how I saw it: I write a short story. My classmates have to read and provide feedback – they’re getting graded on that, too! I have a CAPTIVE AUDIENCE. Rinse, repeat. Well where’s the downside? LOL Okay, admittedly, as I get older, I want more readers who are choosing to be there than readers who feel “captive.” But it’s not like my classmates ever complained, and I enjoyed reading their stories, too. No, they seemed more relieved to be critiquing my stuff than to be critiqued by the whole class. Hey – critique (at least the constructive kind) means SOMEONE IS READING YOUR STUFF. Nothing wrong with that, at all.

      • Someone is reading my stuff. That’s pretty much it.

        I’ll read their stuff, too, if they are producing some. I like reading interesting bits about other people.

        I used to read all the tips about writing; I don’t do that very often now – my writing set is overflowing. So that cuts out a lot of topics.

        I look for marketing tips now, but most of them don’t apply to me because I can’t put out the kind of energy they require. I’ve given up completely on Twitter (though one of my commenters automatically retweets my automatic postings).

        But I’ll figure out MY marketing as I go, and that will have to do. The biggest part is to have more material published; I’m working on that. Give me a couple of years.
        Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt recently posted…The missing ingredient for Book 2: JOY!My Profile

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