Gary Schaefer

“All I can hear, I Me Mine, I Me Mine, I Me Mine.” This Beatles classic could easily be talking about today’s social media. There is so much focus on self that it’s easy to lose sight of everything else. Namely, your audience.

At a recent webinar I heard the following, “If it starts with ‘I’, don’t bother saying it.”  This line has stuck with me; it would be nice if more people followed it. Blogs and other forms of social media are wonderful tools, they provide great value to many on a daily basis. However, more and more, they have taken self-indulgent promotion to another level.

We’ve all seen posts along the lines of “I did,” “I am,” “I can”. Translation: I’m awesome, and I’m going to tell you why. I’m of the opinion that if you have to tell me why you’re great, you probably aren’t.

A reader of a blog is looking to find value. Generally, this value is found in content that they can turn around and use in their own lives or businesses. The focus of a good post should be on the reader in one of two ways:

  • Provide value to a reader
  • Provide entertainment to a reader

With an “I, Me, Mine” post, the focus is:

  • Look at me.
  • I think I’m great, don’t you?
  • No seriously… I am pretty great.

So, just what is driving the proliferation of these posts? What is their purpose? The only person that derives any value from this type of post is the writer…and his or her ego. Did it provide the reader value? No. Was it entertaining? No.  In fact, blatant self-promotion is the opposite of entertaining, it’s annoying.

The most damning fact of all is that these sales-pitch posts aren’t even accomplishing their own narrow purpose. The focus of this type of post is selling how great you are. This may gain you a short term audience, but people have little patience or time these days for content that has no true value.  More than ever this is a “show me” world. As Shakespeare reminds us, “the empty vessel makes the greatest sound.”  Instead of telling people how great you are, prove it in the value that you provide.