This week I purchased a book my sister, Trisha recommended to me, on how to blog. “The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging,” by the editors of Huffington Post. I am only a third of way through this book and I have to say it has been very helpful. I would highly recommend it to all novice bloggers. So far I have followed instructions and successfully added a stat counter to see if anyone is in fact visiting my blog. The next step came under the heading of “alerting your own networks,” which for me meant my limited list of friends on facebook. I spent a few hours trying to figure out how to accomplish this, and in the end, I think I got it.
Chapter three, "Getting Noticed," is where I am now in what has become my how to Blog Bible! Self promotion is what this chapter is all about. Something I am not naturally comfortable with. Grappling with the deepset feeling of it being rude, even obnoxious to expound on your own abilities. I did not learn this at home from my parents as most people would expect. Quite the contrary in my case. I grew up being told that I could do anything, be anything I wanted. Except for that one thing. When my brother was born an only son in a family of girls and in the United States, my parents regularly gushed proudly into his little face, you can be anything you want. You could even be president of the United States. I was twelve when my brother was born and on hearing this inquired if I too could be president of the United States. To my dismay at the time, I was told no, I could not. The reason for this stumbling block, I had not been born in the United States. I was happy for my baby brother and didn't dwell any further on this impediment. Being the President’s big sister, would be cool enough.
So where did my discomfort of self promotion come from? I suppose it could be put down to the many schools I attended. Twelve years, six schools, two countries. I was different wherever I went, even while living in the US. Later in life I came to embrace my uniqueness, but as children we want to fit in, be the same. When I lived in NY I had an Irish accent. When we went back to Ireland I had a NY accent. When I lived in Chicago, I had an Irish/NY accent. When we moved to Madison, WI I had an Irish, NY, Chicago accent. Things were getting very complicated accent wise. Then we moved back to Ireland and I just had an American accent. Much less complicated!
When we moved back to Ireland, Americans were regarded as loud and boastful. Unfortunately, descriptions very apt to the Americans visiting Ireland in that era, the returned Yanks or those polyester plaid clad bus tourists of the seventies. So I guess it would be correct to surmise that it was peer/community pressure that knocked the self promotion gene from my psyche.
I spent the last day or two wondering if this self promotion thing was such a good idea. Am I making a fool of myself? I took a deep breath, told myself to get over myself and just do it. And I have. I thought of going back and taking the blog link off facebook, but I haven’t figured out how to do it yet. My B.B. doesn’t have instructions for that!
Chapter four is about finding your voice. Maybe by the time I get through this next chapter, I will have found a more focused voice. Bet you are hoping for the same thing.