There is an awful lot of self-promotion on the internet these days. Reading Twitter I sometimes feel like I’m in one of those bad infomercials that yell at you about how great their furniture, gadget or product is. I just reach for the mute button. Sell, sell, sell.
Yesterday I was catching up with a dear friend who has recently moved to Australia. She shared with me her latest experiences with building a business in a country new to her. You see, she had been advised by a local to stop promoting herself so aggressively. Her friend suggested that in Australia, it was best to let people get to know you before you start talking about your accomplishments. They have something called the “Tall Poppy” syndrome. In other words, if you’re too big for your britches, they’ll take you down a peg or two. (Talk about mixing my metaphors). Now to be clear here, my friend is not a braggart by North American standards. In fact, she has been told that she needs to promote herself more agressively here.
In North America, we value those who can present to others what they have accomplished. There’s even a book called “Brag” which teaches people how to promote their accomplishments. Yet in other places, this is considered rude, aggressive and self-promoting.
Being in the social media space is not about you. It is about the relationships you have with others. And, like any relationship, they take time and effort to nourish. The most important question you can ask is “What’s in it for them?”
So when you’re planning your social media, perhaps you should consider the balance between self-promotion (“me, me, me”), promotion (buy my stuff, cause I’m awesome, and it’s the magic bullet), and value added (free, valuable information provided with no expectation of quid pro quo).
Bragging has become the online equivalent of shouting. Perhaps we need to whisper more.