Harnessing The Ego, Removing Vanity And Just Being 'Flawsome'
April 1, 2014
The first thing I do each morning before my feet hit the floor is say, "Thank you," – a simple practice of gratitude. The second thing I do is embarrass my ego.
It's true and it has completely helped me learn even more socially.
This wasn't something I set out to do – it's something an app that I stumbled on led me to do.
Around 2011, a new app called "Timehop" launched. It's a digital history experience. When you connect Facebook, Twitter and other social outlets to the app, it will show you pictures and social updates as a "this day in history," going back seven years.
For example – here's a personal Facebook post I shared of my daughter and me one year ago from the day I wrote this piece:
And here are tweets from two years ago:
Those posts feel real and professional – primarily because they are pretty recent – within the past couple of years.
But I often cringe at the social posts from 6 and 7 years ago. That's when many of us jumped on Facebook and Twitter. None of us really knew what we were doing so we just talked out loud. Maybe sometimes we actually shared interesting content or something funny, but mostly we abused the social space with self-indulgent bursts of nothing.
What's priceless about seeing these ancient posts is that they disturb the ego (or at least they should) – making you feel uncomfortable. And that is why Timehop is really an excellent teacher if you allow it to do so. This is especially true if you are speaking for a brand – product or personality – in the social space today.
When I see old posts that had sloppy spelling or grammar, like using the letter "u" in place of the word "you," or posts that just feel desperate to be clever – they are reminders that having a lack of objectives and goals socially will always make you look like a runaway train. And that's not to say that random acts of social will hurt the overall brand – but you certainly won't grow.
From reading Timehop every morning, I have taught myself three important questions to ask as I post socially moving forward:
- Is this necessary?
- Does it bring value to those connected to you?
- Does it help define how you want to be perceived?
Just because we can say and do anything we want socially doesn't mean it's a good idea. It also doesn't mean we won't be held accountable by employers (current and future), family, and friends.
Discipline is one of the greatest characteristics you can apply socially. But in order to do so, we must harness the ego and remove all vanity from our approach. We must also learn to give ourselves permission to be "flawsome."
You may have heard me use that word when I speak and in these Merge pieces and client memos. "Flawsome" – to be flawed and awesome simultaneously – was coined by global trend monitoring firm TrendWatching. It describes companies that are embraced by customers for their authenticity, humanity and willingness to admit mistakes.
I believe the more we back away from the notion that we must always be clever, witty, or even perfect socially, the more we actually expand our creative efforts. We become open to all ideas and less critical of ourselves and also of each other.
And it is only then when we start truly sharing our life's story, along with the stations or personalities we oversee. We start connecting to what it means to extend the brand's values and elevate the fan experience in the social space.
So it's game on.
I challenge everyone with an iOS or Android device to fire up Timehop each morning and really review all of your social history from that day.
Love the posts that will remind you of significant moments in your life - but also learn from the substandard stuff you pushed out.
Ask yourself how you can be an even better connection and pull people in. Past is prologue. But it can also make our futures more successful as we learn and move forward.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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