Wednesday, August 09, 2006

transparency and creative self-loathing

I have an annoying habit of arguing against both compliments and critique. Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous. That's me, though. Here's where I'm coming from. It's called strategic self-loathing.

Hate your personality, your product, your blog more. Learn to sniff out what's wrong with them. We too easily think others like what we like in our stuff. What you like about it may be turning everyone else off.

Many old line companies assume they know what users like and want. They have all kinds of research and reports and reasons. Look at Detroit. But the companies that really find out what customers really think and dislike and want, they are poised for total domination of the market.

Shrug at popularity and cherish hostility. Auto-attack and self-parody offer the only sure path to fast success. We have to hate our blog, our voice, our content, our design, our colors, our confessional drivel, our dry industry lectures, our professional pomposity.

I see it in me, I kill it. Or die trying.

So am I advocating repulsing your allies and fans? No way. I may be one of the few bloggers who says lurkers (readers who never post comments) are a blog's best friend, and they contribute traffic and exo-blog promotion (word of mouth) to your blogging efforts.

Bloggers are not people pleasers. They're either authority types or seekers or fun lovers. I try to blend business, humor, and technology.

I'm not easy to understand or like. But I don't invent an unreal persona, baptize it "Vaspers the Grate", then try to live up to a surreal legend. I am that guy with the nickname, the alias, the aka: Vaspers the Grate.

I step on toes, dance on ideas, and toss dirt on media graves.

I may accidentally or incidentally offend my true champions and allies and blogocombat buddies. I mostly just type text that is responding to other text, regardless of the source of that text. It's an attempt at objectivity. I refuse to take things personally, while trying to remain closely personal and distantly professional.

This is the profound euphoric power of transparency. It feels good to confess your faults, your misgivings, your regrets. No politician or exploiter will do it. Arrogant self-obsessives and chronic exhibitionists will not do it. Most religious and business leaders will not do it. But I'm telling you: DO IT.

Bloggers are strong in transparency. We are known for being blunt, direct, and scornful. We are not "nice" people in the old fashioned sense of being chumps, sissies, and welcome mats anybody can wipe their mud on. Smiling as they screw you over. No. We react with authenticity and often, too quick, too acerbic.

You say, "You're trying hard to get CEOs to use blogs and video." I reply in a countering comment, "No, I don't care what CEOs in general do. I only speak to the select few who already care about the New Share Economy and the New Online Marketing realities."

A statement of grandiose pomposity on my part. Alienating the person who express support and agreement with me. Is this easy to fathom and deconstruct in its murky depths?

I advocate the Power of Self-Loathing. Hate your blog, in the sense of looking at from a "what sucks?" point of view. You have to hate it before you can improve it. Not hate in a permanently destructive sense, but in a blunt, burning, critical sense.

We gaze too lovingly, or myopically, at things we do and enjoy. We cannot handle hearing anything bad about them. It "hurts" us somehow. Then a critic comes up and shocks us with an irreverent remark about them. We are jolted into reality, a more mature or contemplative or acidic viewpoint.

We learn from praise, but praise can also cause ego swelling and rash behavior based on reckless bravado. We learn more, probably, from complaints and criticisms. But taken too far, negative proclamations can lead to despair, paralytic anxiety, giving up.

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