Lately I've been intrigued by the idea of online personalities. You know, the people who forfeit a majority of their personal privacy in exchange for click ad revenue or for a personal platform from which to sell things.
It seems to be commonly accepted that who you believe someone is, who they purport to be and who they actually are: this is the digital age's (not so) holy trinity of mixed personalities.
Who is anyone these days, really? Just look at someone's staged Instagram posts or their Facebook letters that begin "Dear Ones" or "Beloveds" ... seriously? We're supposed to buy this crap? Even my husband doesn't call me "dear one," but you, fictitious lady who makes a TON of money off my inability to focus during the work day? YOU want to call me not by my name, but by a term of endearment?
It's not lost on me that there's some element of fantasy necessary to engage people online. But what about the people who have thousands upon thousands of subscribers, and they still pretend as if they want to read your comments on their latest blog? You're not fooling me, and I'd wager you're not fooling a lot of people.
This is a harsh reality for someone like me with a marketing past. There's such a clear way to success--if only we all lather, rinse and repeat the formula for growing an online platform. But I wonder what happens when people (much like I have) become disenchanted? When they start to poke holes in this refurbished, recycled, content of a different color?
It takes a lot to be a good marketer. In fact, most of the good marketers I know? I have NOTHING in common with them -- they are endlessly social, obnoxiously curious and yearning for connection with anyone wanting to play a while in the sand box. This energy, this gusto, this devotion ... it takes a lot out of a person, and I just don't think I have it in me.
What do I have? Some ideas, some writing skills and a little teeny tiny bit of life experience. I'm young, but I'm a voracious life processor. While everyone else is out enjoying their life in carefree splendor, I'm writing 40,000 words about the complexities of religious oppression on impressionable children. Sounds boring now, but one day that book just may weasel its way into a bestseller that helps improve the way we look at "carrying the faith" in families. I'm optimistic, what can I say?
So what's this all about? Why the rant late on a Friday?
Because I couldn't sleep.
And because I want you to know more than anything: I'd really just like to be a book on your shelf.
I'm not interested in intruding on your day, distracting you from your work or creating some pithy graphic with a rose and eyes gazing off into the sunset.
I was built to be the awkward writer who thinks about hard things and helps them make sense.
I'm not the person you want to follow on Twitter or Facebook (although my Instagram is cool because that's where I post pictures of my dog).
But I do know I want a spot on your bookshelf. One day.
I want the honor of being picked up off the shelf at just the right time and place in life when you might need it most. That's the beautiful magic in books: they're there just when you need them, in just the right way. And there's nothing in the entire world of marketing plans or gimmicks or tricks that can make that magic happen any other way.