I disappointed myself last week.
It was as simple as a reminder in my Outlook: "Check this out and do the usual." I was referring to The Shorty Awards, another vaguely worded contest to feature the world's "Top Twitterers." It was just one more made up PR stunt where I hoped to get some traction and gain a few eyeballs for this blog.
Luckily, local Chicago folks offered a reality check. @Tankboy and @me3dia weighed in, but @BlahGeeTsa put it best by questioning whether Twitter had turned into a high school popularity contest with The Shorty Awards as a prominent culprit.
It's Not The Shorties, It's Me
So why was I disappointed in myself?
It wasn't really about The Shorty Awards, but rather my reaction to them. I didn't question them, didn't investigate, didn't consider why my blog readers would care - I simply went into promotion mode.
That's a tough mindset to break out of. Marketing your marketing blog is de rigueur. You're required to demonstrate your theories while you talk about them. It's akin to giving juggling lessons while keeping all of your own balls in the air.
The danger, of course, is if you start to do these things without thinking. The way I'd begun to flock to every promotional opportunity was similar to the way other people artificially increase their friend count on social networks. It's like an insulation against obscurity.
And of course, this is dangerous and unnecessary. From Scott Brown in November's WIRED: "We squirrel away Friends the way our grand-parents used to save nickels - obsessively, desperately, as if we'll run out of them some day." For me, running blindly toward every marketing opportunity to show off my web 2.0 chops actually hurts the case I'm trying to make about new marketing!
I'm not bad-mouthing The Shorty Awards. If that's your thing, knock yourself out.
Even those who seek to build "Friends" lists as a means to have a bigger audience to pray 'n' spray their marketing message - I find it inane, but I won't say much.
Rather, I'm going to focus on providing better content, helping more people, and showing true leadership. In 2009, I will worry less about my stats or my rank on Technorati and the Power 150.
I would love to see us move more toward Intimacy 2.0, as defined by Mitch Joel:
"Maybe true success in these online social circles will not involve metrics like amount of connections or how many times something happened, but rather how powerful and poignant something is to the specific target market."
And my target market is you, the readers I appreciate so, so much. Here what you can do for me in return: keep me honest. If you see me veering into hubris or promoting without providing, I want you to call me on it. Immediately.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here soon.
(Image courtesy of re_birf via Flickr)