Who Am I? (Guest Post by Jasmine Banks Brown) - Evolved Mommy
Technology is robust, accessible, and ever evolving. With so many new venues to express yourself it is easy to become confused about how to create a cohesive image. How much of YOU do you allow out into the inter-webs? Who are YOU anyway? If you are a blogger that is interested in creating a career for yourself, a steady readership, or just avoiding looking like multiple personalities on the internet, here are some ideas on how to create synergy between the virtual you and the real life you.
1. Decided who you want be by determining your purpose
The blogosphere gives each of us a unique opportunity to create who we want to be. A persona is an idealized version of ourself. They key is to determine WHY you are blogging in the first place. Are you blogging because you want to review products and make money? Are you blogging because you have a particular cause you want to bring attention to? Or, are you blogging because, like me, you are
an attention seeking voyeur an outgoing individual who uses blogging to connect with people? Each of these avenues requires a different voice. Blogging about products as your primary motivation *might* require a marketing scheme.
1.Create a need
2. Offer a product or service
3. Give reward or consequences
4. Create a sense of urgency
Determining what your place and purpose in the blogosphere is helps you determine “who” you are going to be. Establish that and you are halfway there!
2. Easy does it killer! Be YOU and no one else!
People, your readers, are able to see what is authentic and what is not. If you are stretching to pull off a “voice” or persona that is not a good fit for you (or isn’t like the actual you, at all) people will pick up on it. It is easy to get over zealous in our attempts to be catchy, popular, and gimmicky. Nobody likes a faker. More to the point: people are reading you because you are like YOU, not someone else.
*Warning! Unpopular Opinion* When you attend bloggy conferences you *might* hear this:
Find a blogger that you admire, look close at their formula, see how they behave and present themselves… and match that. Go to blogs that are like yours and comment and be seen.
Maybe it is my background as a therapist (and belief in healthy differentiation), maybe it is because
I think I am way awesome I like being an individual, or maybe it is because of my belief about creativity and infringing on others…It is my strong belief that emulating a “successful” blogger in order to create a niche for yourself might be one of the worst ideas ever. Don’t search out blogs in your niche just to leave comments. IF you weren’t reading them in the first place, or are only reading them because doing so *might* bring in some comments to your blog… well…. STOP THAT!
Dooce is amazing. Chris Brogan ain’t bad either. They achieved their success being, well…. DOOCE and CHRIS BROGAN. They are THEM. And you are YOU. While taking their advice or using their models as a loose framework for how’d you like to operate is fine (kind of), it goes without saying that if someone wanted to read Heather Armstrong or Chris Brogan they would read THEM. Find out who YOU are and be YOU. So what if Chris Brogan or any other blogger says it isn’t the way to do it “right”. Making mistakes, being tacky, cliche, or annoying IS part of the process of authentically finding your voice. Finding your voice takes time. Heather and Chris (can I use their first names?) didn’t wake up with huge followings. It might, also, be safe to say that they spent more time concentrating on what they were doing instead of what others were doing.
3. Say it with me, “COMMUNITY”
We can’t be ourselves without others. Take that philosophical truth and put it in your back pocket. The paradox will blow your mind. This maxim is true in life and in the blogosphere. One of the best ways to find your voice is to get connected with others. The best sounding boards for if you are “faking it” are people who have gotten to know you and can see what fits with who you are. That means making friends, even if those friends are part of a virtual community. For me, it means bathing and leaving my house and attempting to be more socially appropriate so I can join writing groups and get good feedback. This is not to say you should take every critique as the gospel truth. Sometimes the community you are involved in will get it wrong, their advice will be misdirected or inaccurate. The GOOD thing, though, is that you have an outlet that pulls you from a one dimensional approach. So trust others, trust yourself, and let people give you constructive criticism (and try not to cry about it).
*UNLESS you have friends like mine. Because *MY* friends let me make the mistake of unitards. I can’t get those years back ladies! Someone should have said something. There is NOTHING “hip” about unitards and stirrup pants…sheesh!
4. Sit down and take a big ole gulp of REALITY
Um. I know your mom, grandma, teacher, et al probably told you that you’d grow up and be somebody. I once stood in front of the mirror holding a hairbrush singing to the Carpenters, waiting for the moment where I would transform into Karen. I wanted to be somebody too: Karen Carpenter. So inevitably, there are tiny bloggers logging onto their accounts for the first time dreaming of their awesome recipes being discovered magically, resulting in cookbook deals. Mommybloggers wanting to stay home and make millions by posting pics of their dogs and kids, DIY bloggers salivating over becoming the NEXT online Martha Stewart. Dream big! For sure! But lemme say this: I have had moments where I was “top of the world lookin’ down on creation” but I never, not once transformed into Ms. Karen Carpenter. Beside the sad VH1 ending of her story, thank God I didn’t for other reasons. The other reason? REALITY. So when you are attempting to find your voice take into consideration:
1. Not everyone will like WHO you are or how you operate. Get over that.
2. You may not become as successful as you want/dream. That is okay. Hopefully you are good at other things…
3. You may not have a voice (right now). Many of us are in process and aren’t able to establish a cohesive image until we become better acquainted with who we are.
4.Who you are or what you are wanting to accomplish may not have the right space to take off the way you’d like, or at all. Try try try again.
5. IF you want to be successful work for it. There are the lucky few who just happen to be awesome and get lucky breaks and then there are those who work hard, market themselves well, and are faithful to their goals. These people learn how to be good writers, respect their cohorts and collegues, and pound the virtual pavement to become who they want to be. They find their voice through hard work.
Be the second one, us less successful people don’t hate them as much
Jasmine Banks Brown is a freelance writer who is currently finishing her Marriage and Family Therapy degree. She moonlights as Social Media Director and Public Relations Guru for a local natural parenting store all while wrangling Addison and Isiah. Also, she has special love for mini things like chapsticks, tiny nail fails and tiny ketchups. True story. You can follow her @djazzo and read her shenanigans at The Brokins.
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