Turning down the self-promotion

We are stuck in an echo chamber, a friend said to me recently.

While the digital divide is slowly lessening and more people are online all the time, there is a very small community that is always repeating itself  on whatever the social media of the moment is – lately that has been Twitter, of course.

I’m part of it, no doubt. Because our society today demands self-promotion, or so it seems. The echo chamber is so small and there are so many people talking – mostly about the same things – that it’s tough to be heard over it all.

Your post or your story or your A1 article is getting buried, surely a big part of why newspapers are faltering. The democratization of the Web has given megaphones to anyone with an Internet connection, so no longer does your daily newspaper have the same pedastal.

So, if you want to be heard, you flee to MySpace, or Facebook or Twitter or on your blog or wherever else.  I believe that you have to put yourself everywhere online if you want to compete in a media field of your choice. But it’s easy to cross over from active self-promotion to incessant self-indulgence.

I’ve done it myself, so here’s my pledge to do better.

Self-promotion is, of course, generally heralded as a dirty course. It is most often read as an unabashed and unchecked sense of self, which is, of course, not something I want.

I aim to do so better.

I have three times submitted my own work to Digg, and mentioned them many times more. But I have a small comunity of friends who use Digg, the news aggregation site, and, looking back, I can see why I thought what I submitted was worth submitting, I could have guessed I’d never get a handful of diggs at best.

Because an individual should very rarely be doing that. I’d like to see more publications with a devoted social media specialist – there are plenty on Twitter – whose job is to promote and push their staff material, but it can’t genuinely come solely from the author’s end.

For little output, there was a big cost, seeming entirely uninterested in genuine connection. Really, all of social media is self-involved, to be put above others as being a self-involved hack, there is a real loss in trust.

In the past, I too often rushed for the success of self-promotion, without seeing the beneficial self-promotion in being myself. Because God, we all roll our eyes a bit when someone is selling something too hard, even if it’s that person himself. I missed that whatever new readers I gained, I may have bored or even insulted another existing one.

So, I’m calling off excessive online self-promotion. Here, I will continue to post links to all the stories I write and work I do – as I still maintain every journalist on the planet should – but I’m going to take a break from pushing any of it out anymore.

There’s already too much noise resounding in the echo chamber.

Image from Lakewood.