‘Hey Bloggers, you’re really not that important. Seriously.’—Those were the words of very popular social media blogger/consultant Jason Falls as he begun his seminar at Blog World New York a few months ago. And to be honest, at first his words threw me aback. ‘What do you mean dude, we’re at a blogging convention for Pete’s sake??’ was the thought that came to mind. But as I listened to Jason (A+ speaker btw) and caught on to what he was saying, I realized that he was doing his best to keep us, as bloggers, grounded. And boy is this sound advice.
Blogging Pride Cycles
Ever since blog world, I’ve thought about Jason’s words. I’ve also been studying blogging pride cycles (as I like to call them)—watching how different people react to success, or failure, in diverse ways.
When we start a blog, most of us are just hoping to get noticed by a few people, get a comment here or there, and maybe even build an audience at some point. For the majority, the latter never happens. After a few weeks or months of seeing little to no results, we simply give up. But then there is another set of folks, certainly the minority, that are able to break through that initial slow period and gain traction. And as the traction builds, so does the audience, the comments, the tweets, the shares, etc.
Over time, a blogger who once would practically pay someone to leave a comment or share his/her material is now getting noticed by hundreds, maybe even thousands of people in a day. And with so many readers, the compliments also pour in. The ‘this was brilliant’ or ‘you’re a genius’ statements start to fill the comment stream or inbox, and with such compliments a blogger can react in diverse ways.
A Change Within
For some, such words and compliments only humble a person even further. For others, it starts to produce a change within—to a point where all of the sudden they believe the hype. In fact, they don’t just believe it, they embrace it. They swim in it. Instead of thinking about the ‘little things’ that got them where they are (like great content, service to others, constant networking, etc) they are more concerned about perpetuating their own genius.
A few months ago I wrote one of the more contemplative pieces I’ve ever done here on TSL. The title was “Massive Blog Growth: Do You Really Have the Time It Takes” and among many ‘personal’ thoughts it discussed how I feel the same today as when I first started blogging, despite the fact that I’ve been able to experience what some would consider a very successful blog and community. Today, when I write a post that gets 100 comments or so, I still find myself wondering why in the world all these wonderful people bother to stop in and offer their support. Frankly, I find it absolutely amazing, humbling, and motivating as well. And one thing is for sure—I do not see myself above my audience in any way.
Maintaining a sense of humility and beginnings is one of the great keys to blogging success in my opinion, and I’m clearly not alone in my efforts to stay grounded. For example, when I met the Gini Dietrich in person at Blog World, I was simply amazed with her humble and kind nature. Without question she didn’t see herself as ‘high and mighty’. In fact, if you ever had a conversation with her, you’d never know her blog has won basically every dang PR award for bloggers this decade.
Other hugely successful bloggers at BW, like Lee Odden and Jonathan Fields were the exact same. When approached, they treated me as an equal (despite not knowing who the heck I was), and not an ounce of haughtiness nor self-righteousness seemed to be a part of their makeup in any form.
Our Need to Stay Grounded
My point in saying this is simple. We, as bloggers, must remain grounded. Even the great Seth Godin is not recognized by 99% of the world. Can you believe that? But it’s true. Heck, I refer to his books all the time with friends, only to get odd looks.
But this doesn’t mean Seth, or any other blogger for that matter, isn’t doing great things. In fact, I honestly feel the blogging movement is changing the world as we know it. But we all need to be careful not to let all those comments, tweets, likes, and lavish praise affect who we are in the grand scheme of things. Let’s not allow our pride to deter us from keeping that beginning-blogger’s zeal and humility that got us to where we are in the first place. When it comes down to it, we simply need to be our best and serve others in the process. By so doing, we’ll surely remember who we are and how we reached our ‘success’ in the first place……
To close, I simply must share the coolest Facebook status I’ve ever read in my life, posted by Danny Brown this past weekend, as it masterfully applies to the subject at hand:
You’re Internet famous? Awesome – that places you at the same awareness level of Bavarian Dog Poo Cake in the eyes of Joe Public.
Ahhh, gotta love that Mr. Brown
What are your thoughts on blogging ‘pride cycles’? Why do some folks ‘forget who they are’ when they experience success while others remain incredibly grounded? Also, can you think of a ‘successful’ blogger(s) you’ve met that impressed you with their humble and unassuming manner? Jump right in folks, I’d love to see where this discussion takes us…