Not being a consultant or a guru or a “life coach” or anything like that, I’ve never felt a great deal of compulsion to promote myself, my alleged ideas, or my reputed lifestyle. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this:
I am bad at self-promotion. I always have been. At least, I’m bad at self-promotion in the sense that it’s usually taken these days. I believe (perhaps I was raised to believe) that your work should speak for itself. That is, if you’re work’s really good, people will notice it and pick up on it and good things will come to you. And conversely, I grew up being at least a little suspicious of anything heavily promoted. (That may have come from my parents. First, my mother, snorting over some of the first “infomercials” ever, “If it’s that great, why do they have to buy a half-hour television slot to talk about it?” and my father, when I was much younger, teaching my brother and me to watch ads and figure out, in his words, “how they are trying to get your nickels.”)
“Follow the money” is good advice today. Since most political activities today, it appears, are schemes to rob Peter to pay Paul, the first order of business is to determine whether Paul actually deserves what he’s getting. (I figure it’s a given that Peter doesn’t deserve what he’s getting, which usually is “screwed,” but this is not going to be taken into consideration by the proponents of whatever craptopian scheme is on the table.)
And if I’m leery of promotion, I’m double secret leery of self-promotion. Those who attended the 2006 Okie Blog Awards ceremony got to hear my insufficiently-plaintive request for a recount. I make some perfunctory efforts to hype the readership around here, but truth be told, I’m always amazed when someone sends a pingback. (That said, if someone links to me and doesn’t send one, I’m not above creating an artificial one, just to make sure that said someone gets some sort of recognition for the act of linky love.)
[Y]ou can tell when someone’s writing about something they have a passion for, versus when they’re writing about something because they think it will get them “hits,” and there’s a certain sad sterility to those websites that are written purely to attract traffic.
There are people who routinely produce incredibly-involving stuff and are duly rewarded for it in the Daily Visitors count. And, regrettably, there are people who routinely produce incredibly-involving stuff who go almost completely ignored. I fall in between on both sides of the formula: I produce occasionally-interesting material and have a small but generally loyal audience which is (mostly) willing to put up with my occasional excursions into silliness, bathos, or Deschanellery. Sad, perhaps; sterile, hardly ever.
Besides, if I decided to monetize the hegemony, it would seem an awful lot like work, and I already have a day job which takes up too much of my time (though it pays better than blogging, you may be sure).