On being authentic

On being authentic

I had another blog scheduled for today, but I've pushed that to next week because I wanted to talk about a few things while they are fresh in my mind.

I've just come off a Twitter Spaces chat (is that the correct noun?) with Rosie and Erin ostensibly on exploring Web 1 communities and how to apply the best lessons from that to Web 3. The conversation shifted around, and both Rosie and Erin made some excellent points that I couldn't address in detail live but wanted to expand on here.

Bringing your whole self.

When I approach a blog, I often think about what the purpose is for this piece of writing and how it aligns strategically with my goals. This isn't a bad thing to do, but it can rob you of authenticity.

I find myself sifting through topics to find one that has a strong enough link to community, or worse, trying to force a connection between an event and community. I often approach it like a study piece for school. I have to have a question and resolution. I also think about making sure I give value and ensure the reader takes away something positive.

There is also the ever-present shadow of the Doom-Twins: "imposter syndrome" and plain old "not being good enough". As a result, I often feel a sense of paralysis when I approach any piece of writing.

I often feel that:

  • I have nothing valuable to add
  • It's been covered by other much better writers
  • I have no authority on the subject

It's a lot of pressure, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

In many ways, social media makes it easier to produce content because it's disposable. If it bombs? No big deal, there's another tweet coming! Blogging is more personal and shows a little more of your soul; at least it should.

Erin pointed out that perhaps we should bring our whole selves to our personal blogs, and I think this is the way. If you want to write a well-researched piece on community psychology, then great! If you feel motivated to write a breakdown of your favourite TV show episode, that's great too! However, ultimately you need to accept that you're not for everyone and that even for those who read your stuff, there'll be blogs that they skim and leave.

It takes a level of vulnerability and authenticity to do this, and it may take a little detraining to achieve. For years social media has encouraged us to share the best version of ourselves; the best selfie out of 89 taken. The best moments of our lives and so on to build up an invincible version of ourselves.

We're way more nuanced than that.

By sharing your whole self and all your passions, you'll probably make deeper connections with others which ultimately will do more to build connections and a community than trying to second-guess what content your audience will want to read.

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything
Mark Twain

I guess this links back to Web 1 and personal blogs. We didn't write to try and build a following. We didn't write to try and sell stuff. The only strategy we had was exploring our passions and connecting with people who shared them.

Let's have more of that.

P.S. Rosie took notes, which are available in the Rosieland Discord community.

Matt @ Mastodon