Finding the value in promoting others

There’s a really interesting story in Editor & Publisher about the lack of recognition given to online news reporting. While that point alone has probably spawned a dozen panel sessions it was one line later in Pauline Millard’s piece that caught my eye:

“By nature, they (newspaper people) are not shameless self-promoters.”

Compare that attitude to the Internet, where almost all of us are promoters, looking for new and exciting ways to extend our personal brand. The reason there’s a discussion over whether Robert Scoble’s videos are too long and boring is because he’s out there pimping them. There’s nothing wrong with that – that’s just the way it is. Look at Twitter, which some days is lousy with updates that begin with “New Blog Post:…” We’re not just engaging in a conversation, we’re largely engaging in a conversation about ourselves.

So here’s what I’m going to do, beginning next week: No talking about myself. No linking to myself. No saying “When I said this back in June…” or anything that promotes myself. Oh I’ll still blog and all that, but will try to do so in a way that highlights the best of what’s going on elsewhere, not just the best of what I’m doing.

I’ve actually tried to do this to some extent already. I’ve been making an effort to leave more comments on people’s blogs. I love getting comments, maybe even a little more than if someone links to something I’ve written. It means they’ve decided to talk to me, not talk to their audience about me. So it’s a little more personal, and I like to think others have the same reaction I do when I see someone has dropped by and left a comment, which is to feel a little pick-me-up about what I’m writing.

Back to the story, the best of online newspaper efforts are deserving of recognition, and not just in a special “Best of the Web” category that automatically diminishes, in some people’s minds, the item being lauded.

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