Who Do You Think You Are?

Posted on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 at 12:06 pm by bryna
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by messages about social media, and how best to market business online. I, like many of you, read and reread the same articles, opinions, and blogs, looking for some nugget of truth or wisdom, but in reality I just haven’t found what I’m looking for.

I’m told to be authentic, but to keep my writing short and to the point. What if I like big words? Should I skip the authenticity, and take things down a notch?

I’m told to be real, but then I’m given lessons in small talk. How real is that? What if I just enjoy talking to people?

I love this post by Danny Brown, in which he asks: Who do we think we are, anyway?

Does it matter if you know who you are online? Yes, but not for the reasons many people might be telling you. It matters not so much to stake a claim on a few pixels of space, or to gain the title of “expert.” You need to know who you are to be effective.

The truth of the matter is that, as Seth Godin says it, “All marketers are liars.” I don’t care if you’re selling a product, service, or by way of saying you’re “real and genuine” or you’re “building community,” you’re trying to make money. You’re selling something. That’s OK, a lot of people are doing it really well, and I benefit–you benefit. What turns me off is when I realize I’ve been daft to listen.

We talk about “content” but don’t challenge each other to think.

So the challenge I give to you (and myself) today is this: Define your own voice, and speak from it. Be OK with the fact that it will grow and change over time. Understand that some people will like it, others won’t. Overall, keep learning; keep experimenting. Eventually you’ll have a stage–you’ll have an audience. The best part is they’ll be yours, or your brand’s, not someone else’s.

If you need some inspiration, take a look at Lauren Luke, a single mum from England with “not many mates, and not much confidence” who’s found her voice on YouTube, and as a result of being real, an audience of millions.

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