From “Branding Girls: Is This a Good Thing?” by Erica Bartle on Girl with a Satchel:
“Soroya Darabi, social media strategist for ABC News in the US and former New York Times staffer… [says] ‘I wrote a tweet I now regret,’ recalls Darabi. ‘[It] said, “I’m in a new book about New York social media. God, I hope the character is cool and not a total dweeb.” The tweet was meant to show how this new-found attention weirds me out, but instead I think it came off as shameless self-promotion. Now I’m less likely to write about a personal win because I prefer to be authentic and well-regarded than notorious and famous.’”
Musings of an Inappropriate Woman blogger, Rachel Hills, calls this “the humble brag” in the comments.
I don’t think Darabi sounded like she was “shamless[ly] self-promoti[ng]”; she sounded sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating and genuine. Sometimes it’s fine to say, “hey, check out my latest freelance article in this month’s Madison” (if only I was able to say that!) without coming across like a big-noter. If you don’t talk yourself up, no one will.
But I also understand where Darabi and Hills are coming from in not wanting to sound obnoxious, and that the blogging/Tweeting medium can sometimes misconstrue our tones.
I remember Sarah Ayoub-Christie of Wordsmith Lane (R.I.P.) used to struggle with this. Personally, I never found her to be holier-than-thou, or up on her high horse, which I believe some commenters on the blog did. On my own blog, there are some posts I look back on and think I sound like a pretentious bitch (well, I am, but I don’t want to sound like one!), and others in which I wish I could just change a certain phrase.
But, at the end of the day, you can’t always be “on” when it comes to “personal branding”, and the mistakes and misconstrued comments are what make us stronger. And I also think it’s about finding a balance between the real you, you show your close family and friends, and the “personal branding” version of you, you show to potential clients or suitors at dinner parties.
What do you think?