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Totally Together

Bloggers and Narcissism

July 18, 2013 by  

are bloggers inherently narcissistic?

original photo credit: The Secret of Narcissism

This is part of the Business of Blogging Series. You can see all of the posts, here.

 

I’ve done a bit of speaking this summer at various conferences, and I’ve said a few times to the audience (and been met with great laughs),  “Let’s face it. Bloggers are narcissistic.”

While I do love laughter responses, I’m completely serious when I say that in order to be a good blogger, or to put yourself out in the public eye, you’ve got to have a part of your personality that believes that You Are Better Than Others.

and this is a challenge. It’s a struggle for me, and I know it’s a struggle for many of my friends. It feels wrong, it feels fraudulent, and it feels deceitful to decide when you wake up in the morning that you are going to make and write about THE WORLD’S BEST BEEF STEW.

or the best way to fold a fitted sheet.

or write about a completely ordinary trip to Walmart but in a way you just *know* your readers will appreciate.

or heaven help you, post a #selfie on instagram.

I wasn’t raised to seek the spotlight, I was raised to sit quietly with my hands folded while the grown-ups talked and not to interrupt. And that is how I’m raising my children. Nobody likes a know-it-all who interrupts. Blogging is about interrupting.

DID YOU HEAR ME?

gah. It’s loud, it’s annoying, and it feels icky.

So what do you do? How do you balance the self-doubt, the negative voices, and the twingy feeling that you are doing something wrong when you decide to put your heart and voice online?

I can tell you that it gets easier, but I can also tell you that I personally stress and analyze every time I write anything online. This is the list I weigh in my head before posting (on any of my sites, on facebook, on twitter, and even on pinterest)

1) How does this help my audience? (and helpful can just be a feel-good moment. there doesn’t need to be a lifelesson in everything you put online, nor does it have to be a how-to tutorial.)

2) Am I writing this only because so-and-so has written about (kale) a lot and I feel like in order to stay relevant I need to write about (kale)?

3) Am I jumping on the bandwagon about a certain event that has a lot of drama and I want people to link to me when they, too, write about this certain event?

4) [related to #3] am I stirring an already-bubbling pot? Is that what I want to be known for? Pot-stirring?

5) In 3 days, will I still be proud of my writing?

6) Am I writing this because I’m getting paid to write about it (like a sponsored post)? Have I told my audience this truth?

7) Will my writing be search-engine-friendly? If not, how can I massage my words to help with SEO?

8) and then back again to #1…. am I being helpful to my audience?

If you respect your audience, they will respect you.

If you jump in front of the camera keyboard every single time any fleeting thought passes through your head, you might gain lots and lots of followers initially, but they will leave in the longrun. Build a lasting legacy — something that you enjoy, that you can see yourself working on as your life’s work.

As for the negative thoughts? Embrace them. Listen to what they have to say. Maybe you are posting too often, and without anything valuable to offer your readers. Maybe you are only tweeting 7 times a day because some expert told you that’s how many times a day you should tweet. Maybe you are solely only writing about the latest conference drama because you want to be in the spotlight and want to be someone “in the know.”

and if after some soul-searching you realize that you don’t like your current path, then tweak it a bit.

But don’t let the voices win. We ALL have something to offer. We are all on this life-living journey together, and we all have something to share and to teach. Differing perspectives are fantastic — that is how we, as readers, as humans, make decisions. That’s why we read Amazon reviews — our culture needs to know as much as possible about pretty much everything right now. Right this instant. We can’t even wait to get home to our desktop, we have to whip out our phones in the middle of the store and tweet a picture to the masses to see if these shoes are actually a good buy.

This is a great time to be writing online. Do not let self-doubt or shyness prevail. Yes, bloggers are inherently narcissistic. We have to be.

And that’s okay. Just make sure to acknowledge it.

Post a comment · 9 Comments »

Comments

9 Responses to “Bloggers and Narcissism”

  1. Judith W on July 18th, 2013 10:08 am
    1

    What you are describing most certainly does not sound like Narcissism (believe me, i worked for a *certifiable narcissist* – this is not that), nor does it sound like you believe you are better than everyone else.

    In fact, if I had to tag anything, I would say you may be a true introvert, and probably (like so many people in my sphere) struggle or have struggled with issues of self esteem.

    I’m just saying/keeping it real.
    :-)
    Judith

    • Stephanie on July 18th, 2013 10:22 am
      1.1

      oh good. ;-) I am definitely more introverted than people think I am. I need to pump up to “do things” and at the last minute always want to chicken out (of parties, speeches, talks, get-togethers, etc) but then once I’m where I need to be, I am fine and enjoy myself. But I do think you need to have a certain about of chutzpa to put yourself out to criticism whether or not it’s online or in traditional print media.

  2. Jill on July 18th, 2013 10:16 am
    2

    So…I missed something…what IS the best way to fold a fitted sheet? (Really, I’d like to know this!)

    I love that all you folks blog, I don’t really care if you have NPD or not. If you write well and about interesting stuff, I will keep coming back, and probably even develop a strong affection for you.

    Do keep it up, I love to visit your site!

    Jill

    • Stephanie on July 18th, 2013 10:26 am
      2.1

      LOL! I hate fitted sheets. If you put your hands in the “pockets” and find the actual corner of each pocket (you’ll see a seam), fold the sheet that way — the elasticy part will lie down and you’ll have a relatively flat surface to work with. Some people advise stuffing the entire sheet set into pillow cases and suggest storing the sheetset that way. If you just stuff, you’ve got a rather bulky item to put in the linen closet, but if you fold as-flat-as-possible, as I described, it does work to slide everything into the pillow case. The pillow case bundles still kind of take up a lot of room in a linen closet, but if you have the space, it’s a neat way to store, especially kid sheets. :-)

  3. Mary Soulios on July 18th, 2013 10:48 am
    3

    I love those of you who come out and are CANDID. It is so refreshing, as I have become a tad negative toward blogging as it has not been successful for me, and I’ve formed some not so positive thoughts to bloggers who post on FB, pin every five minutes, etc., but your blog post totally sums it up – FOR ME. Thanks for sharing and giving me new insight. I’m not narcissistic or even somewhat think I nor my projects are better than others so I definitely won’t fit in this blog world. I have a successful career in healthcare that is very rewarding and I am a leader daily to 11 staff members who respect me, and that is soooo much more than getting featured on a blog or having a gazillion comments on my blog, which is what I hoped for, but I’m lucky to have 10 total on over 180 posts! It’s okay, though.

    • Stephanie on July 18th, 2013 10:57 am
      3.1

      I’m happy that I was of some help, Mary, although I certainly wasn’t attempting to discourage you! ;-) I struggle with this. I started the crockpot site as a means to an end. I needed to do *something* and I really like writing, so I thought a 1-year blog was perfect. I honestly expected to be over and done with after my year. I wanted to write a book, but assumed it would be a memoir, never did I think I’d write cookbooks.

      That said, I am overjoyed that I have learned new uses and have developed new recipes for crockpotting, but it was certainly not my intention. it’s a weird, weird world. oxox

  4. Carrie on July 20th, 2013 12:30 pm
    4

    Oh goodness! I have felt this feeling many times but never heard anyone talk about it. Sometimes I think about my own blog and wonder if I don’t come across as narcissistic… because some of my favorite bloggers definitely are a touch! This is why I almost never post pictures of myself, because I don’t want to appear that way.

    And I do struggle with feeling “good enough” to charge money for my work, right now I’m writing an ebook that has a lot of value but it’s difficult for me to put a price tag on it. I just have to ignore those voices in my head. :)

  5. Neena on August 15th, 2013 1:02 pm
    5

    I battle writer’s block everyday because I, too, have never enjoyed the limelight. And I ALWAYS worry what other people will think.

    As a blogger – it is hard to find the right balance.

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