Thursday, November 12, 2009

'Twitter Narcissism'? A few thoughts on the legitimacy of self-promotion

A Twitter exchange between Jon Henke and Jim Treacher causes my friend Jeff Quinton to contemplate the issue of "Twitter narcissism":
There is nothing done on Twitter or anywhere else online that isn’t driven in some fashion by desire to have other people see it. That includes everything Henke writes online, everything Treacher writes online, and even this blog post. That's the whole point of the forum. If you didn't want to make your ideas known, why bother to even post?
Exactly. The term "self-promoter" is commonly used as a pejorative, but one of the great insights of the New Media age is this: If you don't promote yourself, nobody else will.

If you have your own TV or radio show, if you have a new book or a political campaign, you automatically enlist the support of professional P.R. people whose job is to get you publicity. But if you're just a blogger, a writer, a consultant -- an individual without your own built-in publicity apparatus -- it's up to you to make yourself known to the world.

Self-promotion is entirely legitimate. If you do good work, if you've got ideas or services that can be helpful to others, then self-promotion -- i.e., do-it-yourself publicity -- is actually beneficial to others because, without it, people would be unaware of your good work.

You know who taught me this? David Horowitz. From his years of experience, Horowitz evidently discovered a profound truth: Publicity is too important to be entrusted to the P.R. staff. If Horowitz has a new book or activism venture, he does not hesitate to become personally involved in the promotional effort. Many were the times, during my years at The Washington Times, when Horowitz would call or e-mail me to say, "Hey, why haven't you written about our new project?"

Now, if someone as eminent as David Horowitz can do that, who am I to disdain such methods? I'm a shameless self-promoter for the simple reason that there is no cause for shame. I'm a capitalist: I Write For Money.

I'm selling a product in the marketplace. You -- the reader -- are the consumer. If my stuff is good, then making other people aware of my stuff is a philanthropic humanitarian endeavor: Let all mankind benefit from the blinding brilliance of my sagacious insights!

Megalomania? Maybe. But it's a far different thing than the self-obsessed narcissism involved in a quest for mere celebrity -- the Reality TV Ethos wherein talentless people seek to become famous for being famous. I'm not a wealthy dilettante like Paris Hilton or Meghan McCain.

I'm an online freelancer -- a New Media entrepreneur. I'm actually working for a living here, and self-promotion is part of the job. To repeat myself:
Just because you don't know what I'm doing, don't assume that I don't know what I'm doing.
Capitalism is a beautiful thing. If I don't make money at this gig, it undermines the legitimacy of my megalomania-for-profit scheme. So hit the tip jar.


  1. Hey Stacy, you might want to look at NY 23 again. Looks like the race is tightening and that Doug conceeded too early. Nancy used Owens vote to pass her wonderful health care bill and now with the absentee ballots it may be Doug might have been the winner.

    Depressing but if Doug does this right he should take back the seat next election.

  2. Linked with commentary!

    (Guess I might as well post the link here myself, since you'll never EVER link to me. ;) )

  3. I still think you're one heck of a blogger, Mr. Soon-To-Be-The-Individual-Blogger-Of-The-Year. (Protip: Get your readers to click that little green "+" button, win a prize!)

  4. The term "self-promoter" is commonly used as a pejorative, but one of the great insights of the New Media age is this: If you don't promote yourself, nobody else will.

    This is why I am THE Greatest Blogwhore in this crazy business of ours! I am the Ultimate Mad Man of the Blogosphere [and I kinda look like Don Draper]. Am I 'narcissistic'? Maybe, but I ain't got nothing on Barry O.

    PS: Gladly gave you a vote, Stace [thanks for the heads-up Brian L.].

  5. I think I've found the perfect thread to shamelessly promote for rachaelann. Follow her, RSM!

    Tweets from rachaelann-
    Things I learned in Grad School, Part 1: White people who watch Fox News are uninformed and racist, and need us to explain why racial

    segregation is bad. But don't use the moral argument, because they won't understand that. Make it about money. They're greedy capitalists.

    Things I learned in Grad School, Part 2: Racial separation is a "right-wing ideal."

    I could vomit right now. But my sandwich probably tasted better going down than coming back up, I'd like to remember it that way.

    @TokiDeLaVega I'll take @rsmccain over a bunch of low-functioning pseudo-postmodern intellectuals who fail to comprehend reality any day.

    @TokiDeLaVega Actually I'd take @rsmccain over a lot of people any day, but that's for another conversation.



  6. Hey Dodd is 11 points behind in Connecticut

    I feel like a song...

    O Doddy Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
    From glen to glen, and down the mountain side.
    The summer's gone and all the roses falling;
    It's you, it's you must go and my smile is wide.

    But not come back when summer's in the meadow,
    Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow.
    Yes, I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow;
    Oh Doddy Boy, oh Doddy Boy, I despise you so!

    But when ye go, and all the Dems are crying,
    Your career is dead, as dead as it should be.
    I will come and find the place where you are lying,
    And kick your corpse and say an Ave there for me.

    And I you hear, as I dance above thee;
    And oh you grave will colder and wetter be,
    For your passing will show that God does love me;
    And I shall sleep in peace because you nolonger be!

  7. I agree with your post. To be successful at this you have to be a self promoter. SEO and all the tools to make more money. I am not going to lie--my blog is a new chunk of income for me, and you can see where I put certain blogs in that I think will drive traffic. I am sure if you visit my blog today, you can easily pick that blog of the day up. It's quite easy.Don't forget my tip jar when you visit. I didn't forget yours.

    As for Twitter, it's too crowded and too with 140 charater tweets to get noticed, so I have walked away from it.

  8. Self promoter is a perjoritive only if you suck at it (or you have a string of bad luck and give up before becoming successful at it). If you successfully self promote you are successful and everyone loves you.

  9. Michelle Malkin keeps bringing this up but it seems to go ignored. Especially today in the cable news cycle. There were more than 13 murder victims of Ft Hood Massacre.

    Even the President noted that Pvt Francheska Velez was expecting a baby.

    Adding my voice 13 Charges of murder should be 14 charges of Murder. Who is going to speak up for Baby Velez? 12 Soldiers 1 civilian and one unborn baby. That’s 14 counts.