Blogging, Social Media Marketing and Avoiding the Narcissist Within.

How do you become the uber-marketer, promoting your work, your webiste or blog and not fall into the vortex of narcissism?  How do you balance the need to promote your work with the need to not be so focused on self?  Is there a way to engage in Twitter and Facebook without the redundant drum-beating of ‘look at me,’ ‘look at what I’m doing now,’ ‘look, I just completed a menial daily task and now I’m tweeting about it.” Is that really necessary?  How do you utilize social media in a way that both gets your message in front of people and builds your online audience without becoming a self-indulgent, non-sense twittering narcissist?

Twitter Overload.

Twitter Overload.

I ask this because I’m not sure of the answer and I’d like to open the dialogue.  Do you use Twitter in an effective manner that builds an audience and doesn’t put them to sleep with useless information?  Does your Facebook status update resemble a schizophrenic multitasker juggling cubicle life and children or is it strictly for promotional purposes- or both?  I know mine is questionable at times, no matter how professional I want to be.  How do you engage in email marketing without seeming like a 5 year old jumping up and down, shouting, ‘I’m here, look at me, talk to me!’ What are your methods? What works for you and do you think self-promotion is overdone in our socially inclined media climate?

Before diving into the blogosphere, I studied a variety of blogs with content that I truly found engaging and informative.  I believe that is one of the key drivers in self-promotion on the web- provide something that’s worth reading and engaging with.  Its essential.  People want to be entertained and informed, so be sure that you are speaking to your audience in an effective manner. I am hoping to emulate their methods, for after spending almost a year following these bloggers, I’m not bogged down with marketing from their sites.  Though, I may be doing a little jumping up and down, shouting ‘here I am’ for the first few months of this endeavor- so yes, I’ll be contradicting my earlier statements.  Don’t judge.

I have also spent some time following several photography/media industry leaders on Twitter as well as a few big name bloggers.  Each one approaches Twitter in such a diverse manner that I’m still unsure of whether or not to engage with this platform of communication.  But, if my mission is to produce content that people engage with and find beneficial, Twitter may just be another vehicle in helping me reach that goal.  This point is open for debate.  What do you think Twitter’s role in social media marketing is and will it last?

So, I will try to avoid delving into narcissism in my marketing efforts for this blog and my work.  I will strive to provide relevant content for my audience, no matter how diverse it may become and I will try not to be a useless Twittering twit.  But please, leave a few comments about your answers to the questions above. I’m curious.  And your two cents may help another artist/author looking to dive into this realm and unsure of the means and methods of social media marketing.

Living Outside the Box~ My favorite unconventional lifestyle Gurus

“You’ll Never Need to Retire?!”

My father told me this when I was 21 and its one of the best quotes to live by, in my world.  Why should we wait until our most capable and youthful years are behind us to retire and enjoy our lives?  Shouldn’t we strive to enjoy everyday, no matter what age we are, as if we were ‘retired?’  Shouldn’t our professions reflect this desire to live a meaningful life- even in work?

I know this goes against the ‘conventional’ perspectives instilled by the previous generations into their children.  Get an education, get a job, get a 401K, get a mortgage and squirrel away all your money for the likely event that you’ll still be working for the same company at age 55, you’re 401K will still be solid by 60 and you’ll be able to spend the remaining years of your life waiting for the weekly bingo game and the early bird special at your favorite buffet.  Really?  As young 20/30/40 somethings, should we not strive to make everyday as fabulous as it can be and exactly what we want it to be?  And hasn’t the ‘Great Recession’ shown us that none of those conventions of previous generations are a certainty in a world of globalization and corporate capitalism?

Yes, I know, there is a valid place for savings accounts, stability, home ownership, and making a living.  I’m not arguing against this, I’m just making a point that we should strive to merge our likes and our interests with our trades and professions, so that we aren’t spending everyday in a meaningless vortex anxiously awaiting our weekends and longing for the gold watch in 30 years and a some free time.

Change

Change

Below are a few of my favorite unconventional gurus and a few books and blogs that reflect the movement towards a life well lived.

1. Thoreau-  No need to point out the obvious here, but devoting some time to Thoreau’s readings make the case for escaping the rat race and entering a symbiotic existence with nature and things as they are.   Grab a coffee, a copy of Walden http://thoreau.eserver.org/walden00.html  and pontificate the merits of a simple life.

2. Kerouac
-  Again, not to be dwelling on the obvious, but really, who writes it better than Jack http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/ontheroad/ .  Venture past on the road and into Dharma Bums and Big Sur.  Its worth it.  And if you haven’t read On the Road yet, seriously, get the coffeepot out again and get to work.

3.  Steinbeck
- Um, hi, Travels with Charlie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travels_with_Charley?  Who can resist a travel camper, a man and his best four-legged friend on the wide open road?

4.  Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer- These characters may explain, in part, my case of  adult-onset wanderlust.  By far my favorite book as a child and I recall wanting to be Huck Finn each year at Halloween as a child.  Go figure.

The Motto at the One Cup coffeeshop in Eugene, OR.

The Motto at the One Cup coffeeshop in Eugene, OR.

A little modern unconventionalism on the web.

There is a growing movement for ‘lifestyle design’ or location independent living on the internet.  The evolution of the Web, coupled with the realization that life is fleeting and to spend a majority of it in a cubicle is a sin, has given a breeding ground for this movement.  A few of my favorites include:

Tim Ferris and the 4 Hour Work Week .  Seriously.  Just read it.  Bypass the cheesy title and don’t expect to work only 4 hours a week- you’ll drive yourself and everyone around you absolutely insane.  Read it and embrace the concept of ‘mini-retirement.’  Implement the automation aspects to your daily life and embrace the ‘Muses’ section.  The blog and book may spawn ideas you never knew you possessed, you may wake up one morning with more free time to spend with your family and loved ones, you may find that you have totally automated your income and can be the philanthropist you’ve always dreamed of or you may just chuck everything in storage and find yourself executing a life on the road- free from the normal constraints of rent, paychecks and staff meetings.  Again, Seriously.  Read it.  Enough said.

The Art of Non-Conformity This blog takes the lifestyle design concepts and puts them into action.  The author, Chris Guillebeau shows that not everyone leads a conventional life and you aren’t the only black-sheep wanderer in the world.  The Manifesto is free and interesting and may spawn your creativity in ways you hadn’t anticipated.  I’ve purchased one of his E-Books, about art and commerce, and its been a good resource as well.

Eat. Pray. Love. I avoided reading this for some time because it seemed rather cliche, but once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.  Loved it, loved the concept and props to the author for putting herself out there and just doing it.  Again, seriously.  Read it.

Zen Habits , Vagabonding, Matador and the Frugal Traveler .  Excellent blogs and each one has a different theme revolving around travel.  Each one has threads and links that will lead you to people living an unconventional life.  I enjoy reading each of these blogs and try to scan them weekly for some relevant content or to find a new person living a different life.

20091219_SEATTLE2_0006

A few musicians in Seattle working a different way.

There are so many more, I realize I’m doing a massive injustice to the remaining unconventional life-stylers out there.  Please feel free to post your favorites in the comments section below. I’d love to hear of more fabulous living and expand my horizons.