“Self-praise is no praise”. A phrase I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. While it can be great advice for those who love the sound of their own voice, things become a bit murkier when it comes to the media world.
Self-promotion is pretty much part of the job description when you work in media – whether you like it or not. Everyone who’s anyone in Irish media – whether they’re a writer, an influencer, a DJ or a stylist – have had to at least do some self-promotion along the way. They go on social media, they post vlogs, they go to events, they connect with other people in the public eye. You could argue that, when you work in media, some level of self-promotion is not just part of the job – it’s a way of life. Which is all well and good, until you realise that you’re actually a bit crap at it.
I’ve been a content creator on the digital team here at IMAGE for about 10 months, and during that time, I’ve learned a lot. When you work somewhere like IMAGE (or anywhere remotely digital-related really), there are a lot of events, products and people that you have to get familiar with. If you’re a writer (like me), you’re expected to be very active on social media and repost your content for everyone to read. When you receive (very lovely) invitations from brands and agencies to go to amazing events, you post about it continually on social. And, if you’ve really got the hang of this self-promotion thing, it’s a big bonus to regularly chat to your phone’s front camera for your Insta-followers – updating them on your projects, events you’re going to and even what you had for dinner.
Please be aware, I am by no means begrudging other media folk. I watch as many vlog-style Insta-stories as the next person – our own IMAGE staffers are prime examples of how great they can be. I love hearing people I admire or think are cool/funny in the media world tell me about what they’re working on, or talking about their passions. It makes those figures much more relatable and human, and it’s a joy to hear what they think about certain issues in real-time. It’s just that, when I think about starting to do that myself, I shrink away from the idea.
Good old Irish begrudgery
I’m not sure what the reason is – a low self-esteem complex? Good old-fashioned Irish begrudgery? Or just my own ‘notions’-avoiding personality? I think it’s a combination of all of the above. Irish women seem to have always pushed praise aside in favour of just getting stuff done, and I do think I have a small part of that in me. I also innately have extremely accurate radar (and an extremely low tolerance) for bullsh*t. So when I hear myself trying to promote anything that I’ve done, the radar goes 90 until I abandon the efforts, telling myself to cop on.
Work with it, not against it
It’s a tough nut to crack – I’m crap at self-promotion, but it’s necessary that I do it. So what’s my solution? Let my begrudgery work for me. I regularly post my articles and projects on Twitter and Insta-stories but work through the internal cringe with a joke or a reference to my own notions. “Read this so I can keep my job” or “I got to go to this unreal event, who do I think I am?” are always good options – letting your personality shine through is the whole point, after all. You should never change yourself for a job – if you’re not comfortable with something, there is always a different way to do it that will suit you. Stay true to yourself and what you’re about, and you won’t go far wrong. And if all else fails, a straight retweet will let your work speak for itself. I haven’t quite worked my way up to speaking to my front camera yet – but who knows, maybe the self-promotion bug will get the better of me.