Don’t “Fake It Till You Make It”

…because you look like an ass when you do that.

I was thinking about this, yesterday, over coffee. And I realized I couldn’t write with tact or diplomacy on something that had me thinking phrases like, “you stupid, pretentious poseur.” I didn’t want to infuse that kind of negativity into the blog. But then, talking with my friend Abhi Balani last night, I started to see the humor in it. See, he’s joined another blogging contest, and his entry, “Blogging Concepts I Never Understand,” is a much more delicately tactful way of saying many of the things that were bubbling around in my brain, yesterday.

Now, Abhi is a hard-working, unpaid intern living far from home. And like most hard-working, unpaid interns living far from home, he doesn’t like asking his parents for more money. As a parent, I find his desire to live independently quite laudable, and I think he deserves a night on the town. So, let’s help him win this thing, eh? You know the drill – read Abhi’s post, comment on it (lots!), do the button dance (wildly and often!). Share. Encourage your friends to join in the button dance. PARTY ON THE BLOG!

But seriously, I asked Abhi if he’d been reading my mind, yesterday – he tapped into all the major themes I wanted to rant about, but managed to sound like he truly didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Of course, I didn’t, either – which is why I didn’t write about these topics at all. It’s much more fun to comment on them and promote a friend’s efforts to take Brian Belfitt’s cash! πŸ™‚

Abhi has called out a few practices that bloggers seem to think are effective, but really just make them look ridiculous and erode their credibility. Like the solo entrepreneur who says, “Contact us.” Who is this “we,” Pardner? Are we the Queen of England, now? Or using the tired phrase, “killer content.” I think it’s high time we resurrect “paradigm shift,” personally. It’s got that retro 80s feel to it, now – and everything old is new again, right?

Abhi even included a link to my writing tips on his own blog. Sweet!

My personal pet peeve, though – well, I didn’t notice Abhi was getting to that when I laughingly said to him, “I get all these stupid invitations to connect on LinkedIN – I swear to God, no offense, but when the picture is of a 17 year old blogger who calls himself “CEO” or “Founder” of anything, I want to punch him in the throat. In the most loving, maternal way, of course. Pretentious poseurs.”

And then I went to share his post on LinkedIN, and noticed Abhi still had the “CEO and Founder of” title on his profile. We had a good laugh over that, and I make no apologies for confessing to wanting to punch him in the throat. Lovingly, of course.

We all make mistakes. That’s why maybe this blog post is one bloggers ought to read and pay heed to. Because I think the era of “fake it till you make it” is done; let’s all start admitting that we don’t have all the answers, and we’re all learning life as we go. Credibility matters.

Oh, I know I keep threatening to go over to The Dark Side, every time I see how easily people are suckered in by some stupid urban legend. It’s tempting – very tempting – as a fiction writer to see if I could create viral content in the satiric style of The Onion and time how long it takes to get picked up by the mainstream media. But in life and in business, honesty still matters. So read Abhi’s post and don’t be a Bullsh** Blogger. (And fix your LinkedIN profile. And don’t try to connect with me if you haven’t read all the way to the bottom of mine, where I talk about spam and pineapples.)


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 For more information on her children's books, please visit
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20 thoughts on “Don’t “Fake It Till You Make It””

  1. I can’t explain how good I am feeling right now after reading this post and being a part of your blog post. Thank you so much for mentioning me and for those nice words.

    Link to your article? You know, whenever I write a post, especially on my blog and if there is a word ‘writing’, I link it to that post. If you remember, I already told you how much I love that post. So once again for writing that on my blog.

    Well, I hope I will get some boost in the contest as well, through your post.

    And I had no idea that I am still having that on LinkedIn. πŸ˜€ Thanks for telling me that. It’s been reallyyyyy long since I updated my LinkedIn profile.

    So basically the credit for this awesome, REAL post goes to me. Hehe…. πŸ™‚
    Abhi Balani recently posted…Things to consider while starting educational blogsMy Profile

    1. Well, I never REALLY wanted to punch you in the throat, and I’ll let you take credit for inspiring this “awesome, REAL post” – since I would not have written it if not for our conversation on Facebook last night. I do wish you all the best in this contest – wish I could help more! πŸ™‚ Guess I have to sit back over here and yarn-bomb a site…I mean, a scarf.

      I need to drop by your blog, now!
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Trying New Things: Lasagna Roll-UpsMy Profile

  2. Lol Holly! I lost myself as Owner/Operator of my own site. One day if it ever grows then I might Chang that title. Until then I’d rather call it as I see it.

    CEO well xcan’t knock em for having high aspirations I guess!

    And Abhi is a great blogger in the community. I’ve guest blogged on his site a few times. And somehow he made mean Author instead of a lowly Contributor!
    Jason Mathes recently posted…Blogging Goals for 2014 | What are Yours?My Profile

    1. I don’t knock anyone for having high aspirations, Jason, but proclaiming you’re something you’re not is just laughable. And not in a good way. It’s also not all that interesting. I looked at someone’s profile last night, and it was basically “CEO/Founder of [some blog or other they couldn’t spell twice the same way in one paragraph]” and then under other interests/hobbies, they had “I’m a social worker, too.” Now, I’m thinking, maybe, they meant “social media worker,” because if you were truly an educated, professional social worker, you’d probably put that FIRST on your LinkedIN profile, right? Well, I’d like to think so, since it’s far more interesting and says more about your abilities and character than claiming to be CEO of your own blog. Unless you’re Ariana Huffington. Or Darren Rowse. Or any blog that’s big enough to actually require a team (and/or a board of directors) to run. It’s silly.

      And if I guest blog for anyone, ever, you and Abhi are on my short list. πŸ˜‰
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Trying New Things: Lasagna Roll-UpsMy Profile

      1. True Holly – I can agree with you on that. I don’t typically visit those blogs anyways. I just shake my head and move on down the road πŸ™‚

        I’ve figured that LinkedIn is really Facebook that you list your resume on. I don’t take it half as serious as I originally did. I figured it was originally a place to network with potential jobs. Now its more of a ME ME ME LOOK AT ME network where they want to charge you for the privilege of putting all of your work history on their site.

        And if you look at my profile? Nowhere is there a CEO in it! πŸ˜‰
        Jason Mathes recently posted…99 Ways to Promote Your Blog You Aint Doing One of ThemMy Profile

      2. I haven’t paid LinkedIn a penny. But there’s one thing that does stop me from treating it like a “Facebook you put your resume on,” and that is that every connection potentially has access to all your 1st/2nd level connections. This is great for headhunters and spammers, and I try to be considerate of those connections, if nothing else.

        On the other hand, the social media gamers have moved in, and it is a much less credible source of professional contact info than it once was. I agree with you on what the site, itself, is becoming. Even as far back as 2009, this was true:

        I’ve seen people blatantly lie in recommending each other.

        It’s a shame.

        That said, it’s still a resource. And I’m told some hiring managers take it more seriously than others, and that people are still being advised to have a profile there.
        HollyJahangiri recently posted…Trying New Things: Lasagna Roll-UpsMy Profile

  3. Holly

    Sold to the woman in pink! I totally agree – “But in life and in business, honesty still matters.” Honesty, integrity and authenticity without feeling the need to wash your dirty linen in public either. Be yourself, everyone else is taken. Judith x

    1. Exactly, Judith! I try not to write anything cringeworthy – no one wants to see dirty laundry on a blog. Wait… I don’t HAVE dirty laundry. I don’t sweat or poop, either. You almost caught me, there, Judith! πŸ™‚

      But well said: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Or, as the meme on Facebook says, “…unless you can be a unicorn. Then be a unicorn.”

      Thanks for visiting!
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Trying New Things: Lasagna Roll-UpsMy Profile

  4. I read Balani post on blogengage and most confess, it will spark some sort of controversy. I also left him a comments, gave my opinion.
    This CEO thing is common and most of “us” are guilty of it when we’re just starting out. Trying to show what you’re not.
    Well, I wish you best of luck in the contest, Balani.

    1. A little controversy is always a good thing for a blogger, don’t you think? πŸ™‚ And “trying to show what you’re not” is a common beginner mistake, that’s true – the problem is, you don’t realize until later how silly and pretentious it looks to people who know better, or have worked all their lives to earn the title. It’s not really the image most bloggers are trying to project to the world when they do it, eh?
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…One Weird Blogging Tip: Links, Images, and Tooltips My Profile

  5. I hate prentious people as much as I hate myself when I find myself doing it. It’s human nature to fake some parts of your personality to look better. And it’s probably OK when it comes to oral conversations, because 90% of the time you get away with it (even though in the long run you’ll be caught). But it’s more evident when it comes to writing. Your readers will smell your fake writing straight away. I’m glad that I’m reading one of the most honest bloggers out there, well done!

    1. Oh, Jack, you’ve hit the nail on the head, there, haven’t you? Pretention and hypocrisy are hard to avoid (they’re so ubiquitous that we probably all do it from time to time) – and we shouldn’t throw stones HARD, even if those traits deserve to be called out, sometimes, and eradicated.

      I really don’t blame a kid for trying to look smart and successful, but sometimes it crosses a line. It’s all about intent – and deliberate deceit – isn’t it? We all want to be seen in the best light possible, and there’s nothing wrong with “spinning the truth a little” to present the best, first and foremost. Lying – inventing work experience or job titles, getting others to write completely bogus references/recommendations, referring to oneself as “we” when there is no other… these things will turn around and bite folks in the butt, eventually, and only make them look ridiculous to people who know better.

      Thanks for dropping by, Jack. Hey, do you know Amy? πŸ™‚
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…We All See the World Through Our Own Set of LensesMy Profile

  6. Hmmm… gotta figure out how to proceed here…

    As almost always I’m of two opinions here; gotta be me. lol First, I don’t have a problem with the “fake it until you make it” principle in general, but I do have a problem when those people faking it aren’t qualified to do it. For instance, someone putting out a shingle, so to speak, after having 20 years of experience and possibly being imminently qualified to provide a service but hasn’t yet signed their first client wouldn’t have a chance if they said “I just got here but hire me and let me prove what I can do”. Maybe friends would hire that person if they needed the service but no one else would. However, if you’ve done nothing, like most of the “make money blogging” group, I’m with you because we know better and can see through that group.

    As for the titles… well, that’s an interesting one as well. I always went by owner when I first went into business for myself until I incorporated the business. At that point I was supposed to call myself either President, CEO or President & CEO because I’m now considered as having shares I could sell into my business, even though right now there’s just the one share and I’m holding it. I call myself President instead of CEO because the second one just sounds like there should be lots of people in the organization. lol

    And there you go; hope I didn’t ramble too much.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…The First Story Of The Year Is About… Dessert!My Profile

    1. I don’t think you have a conflict or that we’re in disagreement, here, at all.

      In your first example, the person isn’t lying about their experience; they’re simply not flaunting the newness of their business. Not having patients doesn’t mean a doctor’s not a doctor. But no matter how good my diagnostic and “Dr. Mom” skills may be, I would not gain any respect – but might earn jail time – if I started a clinic and practiced medicine. (People DO this – I wish I were just making it up.) That’s an extreme example; few are hurt by the blogger who calls himself a CEO. But I see this tactic used to gain trust and commit fraud, and hate to see “innocent” naively following suit, to be tainted by that similarity.

      As for the titles, themselves, I am, in FACT, the “owner” of this blog. But would I rather be “owner” or “founder” of this blog, or “author of several books,” “writer,” and “blogger”? Which is more meaningful – to me, or to readers? My blog title is not a company or a legal entity, either. (I could rightfully call myself, “Founder and Managing Editor of Race to Hugo,” at – the silly thing really is an ezine and has an ISSN issued by the Library of Congress. It would be accurate, meaningful, and perfectly legit.)
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Would You Like Spam and Eggs for Breakfast?My Profile

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