Tuesday, June 22, 2010


"We're so in love with ourselves, and we're selling, selling, selling."

From an interesting article in the Sunday New York Times HERE

Sharing is a good thing. And there's no dishonor in selling. Do you ever feel uneasy that you have shared too much about yourself on a blog or Facebook or Twitter? Or that you have to constantly sell yourself (your product, your service, your skill, your opinion)? Does it make you queasy?

I meet bloggers and readers frequently, because I am on display in the fishbowl of pretties that is the shop I work in. I love meeting them, and having a real life encounter. The funny thing is when they tell me all the things they know about me from the blog. I'm stunned and touched that they remember the details, or even care.

Or have you ever gotten together with a friend who reads your blog, and you start to talk about this and that, and you feel redundant, like maybe they already read it on the blog so it's old hat, or you feel like you're repeating yourself?

Or have you met bloggers who are prolific posters and writers and in person they are shy and can hardly speak? Or that they are virtual shut-ins who never travel anywhere, and prefer not to go anywhere.

Let me tell you that getting bloggers together is not easy. Most prefer life behind the screen. With Skype, and all the other social media, no one really has to go anywhere to have a public presence. And perhaps no one has the time since we spend a major part of our day on the computer.

Frankly I'm amazed by these blog conventions like Blog Her. Who goes to these things? And why? I'd love to have a blog meet up where all we do is talk, and eat, and drink, and hang out, or maybe go on a bloggers house tour, but please no business style networking, giving out cards, name tags, or selling.

Okay I'm off on a tangent here, so back to the article about writing a profile for the social media.

What do you think is TMI (too much information), or TMS (too much selling)? Or is there no limit because we are all truly interested in other people's lives.

I'm up for a good discussion, so in the word of the now defunct Decorno: Discuss.


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Everyone says I'm the worst self-promoter on the planet. And I think they're right. If I even tried to be a "schmoozer", I know I'd break out in hives. On the other hand, I'm not shy at all. Just more of an observer. But a big, fun lunch for bloggers sounds like fun to me. And Edward loves a party, so I feel free to speak for him.

AppleTree said...

I started my blog to promote my business, but it turned into something else, because I didn't like selling myself. Which is probably why I don't make a living at my business and have another job to pay the bills. I don't really like reading the blogs that give a hard sell either. Except Jenny and her craigslist gig. That shit is funny.

pve design said...

Val - great post. There is something truly special about our blog world, and I have met some awe inspiring talented individuals and have to say that meeting in person is an added bonus. I recently had the pleasure of meeting a client in person, and I said, "Wow-You are taller than I thought" and we both had a good laugh.
For me, the blog world connects me to other like minded creative souls, and I would otherwise not be able to meet them, since much of my work is done alone.
Look forward to meeting you in person!

NYCLQ said...

Well that was an interesting read... I believe TMI's are the tweets & posts of pictures of peoples half eaten desserts, empty coffee cups, posts actually stating they are bored and chics who posts when they are on the rag.

But if you've been locked into one field, and are trying to gain exposure to people in another, by posting examples of your work or displaying your expertise - keeping it all current & relevant to what you've labled yourself to be - I don't see anything wrong with that.

A resume these days just doesn't cut it (if you're a job seeker). HR is searching "profiles" online before they even call you in for an interview - hence all the selling of ones personal brand...

:D Lynda

Marija said...

Okay, full disclosure. I didn't read the article. But I'm here to shamelessly seek an invite to your bog party should you ever host one ... I would happily attend ready to talk, eat, drink, hang out or house tour...


xo Marija

my favorite and my best said...

im with you VV. fuck all that bullshit blogging business card swapping and ego stroking.
i prefer a nice dinner filled with gossip and talk of anything BUT design.
i so enjoyed every blogger meet up i have ever had and not one of them has been business.
one i drank some of phoebe howard's gin and pooped in her bathroom, on the other i ate amazing food and got the flu at the end of the night but met what have become some of my best friends in the world and the other i met YOU!! and i can't wait to see you again. i know a lot of people give you a hard time. but i vouch for you. you are solid. a real home-teamer! and i love you.

jlonit said...

I don't blog - I just read them. The only time I've noticed tension between bloggers was the kerfuffle over H******** C***.

Eddie Ross's desperation for votes in the window competition was the only time I thought self-promotion was a bit much, even though I thought his window deserved to win.

What does bother me are bloggers who constantly refer to "me" or "I", are very self-centric and don't have a blog roll, meaning they don't want you to look at anyone other blogs or are not generous enough to refer you to other blogs. I soon tire of these and stop following.

Katie Rob said...

My grandmother says that a person should only have her own name in print as pure self-promotion three times in her life: Birth, Marriage, and Death. I don't agree with this, but this is the attitude that shaped my opinion of self-promotion.

So, to answer your question:

TMI - I don't want to know about your sex life on your design blog. I don't want to know about your bladder control problems on your sex blog. Context is key. If you are trying to sell yourself as a designer on your design blog, then that doesn't fall under the umbrella of TMI as long as it's related to the topic. Coincidentally, the very definition of TMI happened to me last week when I unfortunately sat down next to a girl at a dinner party who proceeded to tell me about her dominatrix fetish and then segued into her IBS issues. And all I did was compliment her shoes!

TMS - This is harder. If you are selling a service through your blog and you also post items of interest related to that service that draws a steady readership, then you've struck a happy medium, I think. Most people who are hardcore selling themselves (that sounds vaguely dirty, doesn't it?) are pretty upfront about it. It can really only be TMS if the whole point of every post is shameless solicitation when in fact you haven't positioned your blog as such. I think the TMS bit comes more from the blog commenters. I can always tell when someone is just trying to plug themselves or their service, especially if it's completely unrelated to the post they are commenting on. For example, if someone were to respond to this post and then advertise for the, say, wooden carvings of George Washington's left buttcheek for the low, low price (special for you!) of $29.95.

Speaking of wooden carvings of George Washington's left buttcheek, have I got a deal for you...

Katie Rob said...

Sorry - that was the longest comment ever in the history of the world!

Great subject, though!

Paloma {La Dolce Vita} said...

Fabian and I so enjoyed meeting you this weekend! I hope I didn't say too much or too little. :)

I'm with you! I have had the good fortune of meeting several bloggers and it has always been over a good meal with great conversation.

Tammy@InStitches said...

What a great subject ! I guess it's a fine line to walk. I do hope I get to meet you one day.

Sally@DivineDistractions said...

What a great subject to bring up. I started my blog to be a promotional tool for clients within my area, but I soon learned that blogging opened doors far and wide. I have a lot of pressure to bring in new clients and keep the business rolling along. I don't have a safety net, so I may self-promote a little too much. But I'm aware, and watching myself. thanks for bringing up some thought provoking stuff!

Kwana said...

I feel that I sometime over share and I find I have to find a balance. You don't want your whole life out for the world and yes, it's nice to have something to discuss at a dinner party.

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

What a hoot!

Great questions! The beauty of blogland is that it is self editing. If you feel like you are witnessing TMI or TMS...ya click to the next blog.

As far as how I determine what is too much? Depends on my ever vescillating mood...

I love the last sentence of the article..."if you are a jerk online...you're probably a jerk in real life too".

La Petite Gallery said...

I am really sick of mud slinging.
The gossip about Britney, who cares. I want the oil slick gone.

Anonymous said...

hi, miz v,

in a way, a blog is a semi-public discussion, so there has to be some self-projection to entice readers, but it is also social and personal, where one does not 'network' in polite company, just the way one does not talk about money--other than occasionally boasting about a great bargain.

i use facebook for political rants, it is my sort of soapbox on hyde park corner, but i would never put up anything personal or have a discussion. anyone from my past-or anyplace else-who 'friends' me gets an invitation to my email address to talk. you would be surprised just how many 'friends' that scares away! or maybe you wouldn't!!!

many have lost the art of conversation, even at a remove, or perhaps they never had it. probably started long before hallmark or the penny postcard, which might both have been a boon to the semi-literate.

i will always write a condolence letter rather than sending a card, but i am old fashioned that way. i have seen death notices posted on facebook and its ilk, and condolences, too. can't imagine doing that. if it is close enough to note at all, there are the pen and the phone, or at least, the florist. oy.

i don't watch jerry springer, or judge judy, either. ours has become a world of cheap voyeurs and voyeurism, not of flaneurs any more. insane diarists have turned bodice rippers, or ripped bodices, on public display.

paloma noted in her blog today that after a quick look at bourbon street with its hangers -on or -out, its drunks and exhibitionists, she had to get away. but those trash values seem always to have thrived, while royal street and magazine street are less trod.

you very correctly noted those wizard of oz folk who put up screens like old finger puppet shows behind a scrim with their blogs. somehow the person at aesthete's lament, while keeping secrets of identity, seems to be 'out there' in the world rather than really hiding. paloma and you and many others are also in the world every day, and the liveliness of your work shows the benefit of being among people. you have other interests which enrich your blog , and you share generously, if not commercially, or in a pushy way.

cholo is going to have to be out there, too, pulling back curtains, like a toto/don q in the making. he'll love it.

thanks for starting a lively discussion. m


Visual Vamp said...

Thank you all for a great discussion.
I so appreciate the honesty and the heart felt comments.
I look forward to a great bloggers get together sooner than later.
xo xo

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Oh this is bound to be a hot topic. I had a twitter account for oh about 2 weeks and then decided to shut it down. It felt SO narcissistic. Did anyone really care that I was on my way to the grocery store? I think not.
My blog remains virtually ad free as I refuse to promote things that I don't even know what they are let alone provide selling space.
I can't wait to read what others think.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Now I have to wonder if my plea for votes on my Oprah audition is altogether desperate.
Yet, I think if someone actually watches my true goal is to aid others.
Scratching head. Please be blunt.

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

Ooh, fun discussion. Enjoyed that article over at the NYT, too.

I'm one of those shy, introverted types who is happier to remain behind the screen. I'm such a private person that my problem isn't sharing too much about myself--it's probably that I share too little! All this social media stuff has definitely brought me out of my shell a bit, though. :-)

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I think it comes down to being that there are just different kinds of blogs. There are those of us who blog for fun, and others (some very obviously) who blog more as an extension of their business. I don't think there is anything wrong with either method, they're just different. Can you imagine if some of the 'big' designers we all love had active blogs -to see more of their work and what inspires them? I think in that way thats exactly what many blogs are just with a different mix of work and inspiration. I know Charlotte Moss keeps up a blog somewhat, and Belgian Pearls shows the ins and outs of her world as does Velvet and Linen. I think they really get the mix right. Too much personal or too much business can get a bit tedious. Am I rambling here? lol


Linda has a good point. With one click a blog that has TMI or is not grabbing my attention is over and with another click I am onto the new one that is hopefully more to my liking. That's the beauty of blogging...choice. The big question will always be how much is too much? It is always difficult to gauge how much your readers want to know and it is even more difficult to hold their attention when you do commit.....but that is the challenge.
Meeting up....sign me up, book me in and save me a seat please, xv.

VictoriaArt said...

Val, what a great subject to talk about...
For me it's more about sharing then selling. I am not a good promoter in general.
TMI: Depends, some know how to tell a great story and some just don't. It has to make sense to me, otherwise I just turn off. The language matters, the style.
Behind every blog is a character, a human being and I try to keep this in mind.
TMS: It usually turns me off...but again, if it's about selling something, ones talent, products, what ever, I get it and it's ok!
But I do not particularly like the absolute self promoter, who uses eveything to point back to self!
The good thing is we have choices and we should take it as we can handle it!
I dislike organized religions, mass promotion meetings fall under that category for me! It's a NO!

But an informal get together to have fun and get to know each other: ANY TIME!

I would love to meet you one day soon!


Anonymous said...

If one's category is "design", then keep it there. I read design blogs for information, updates on trends, colors, sources and inspiration. It is disappointing to go to a design blog and read about the author's latest vacation, holiday with family, children, or friends. Writing about those things are fine but don't interject them into a blog specifically targeted to an audience looking for substantive information on design.

Renae said...

Design blogs are written by humans...therefore....some 'life' interjections are bound to happen. I don't mind a bit of 'personality' coming through a design blog. It is fun, as you know, to meet other bloggers in person and b/c of honesty shared on the blog, there is a sense of really 'knowing' that person. Some very talented bloggers I know have shared their hearts on occasion, and I like that.
I don't take to blogs becoming ads for profit. It gets in the way of the blog IMO!

Carole said...

Hi Val. What have you started? I've just read the article and all of the comments and confess I don't have anything new to add. Just wanted to say that some people can do the TMI bit and get away with it and some just can't. Not sure why. TMS just makes me click off. When I started I actually intended to be anonymous-hence the third person writing my 'about' page, but I soon realised that I wanted to join this blogging community so had to come out a little. Even writing this makes me cringe a bit! Don't think my English 'reserve' will ever let me share TMI.
Would love to get together with other bloggers - how about in London :-)