Don’t Take it Profersonally!

Until recently I followed a blogger who was widely hailed as a “career guru.” The blog graced all sorts of most-influential blog lists. I’ll call this blogger Blogzilla. Blogzilla offers webinars and coaching sessions on how to optimize your career, harness social media, and wield leadership power the likes of which you could never fathom before. Or so, that’s the claim.

At least that was until Blogzilla went off the rails quite publicly. Perhaps Blogzilla had always been an extreme exhibitionist, and I was a latecomer to the party. In the short tenure of my following, the posts became erratic and intensely personal. Not I-just-had-an-eyebrow-wax-personal, more like here-is-every-reason-I-should-be-in-therapy-personal. There were graphic pictures.

The cynic in me says: Publicity Stunt, like a Kardashian marriage. The blogger’s primary objective is to out-shine every other post that day, and to do so, rather than rely on thoughtful content, bloggers often go for f-bombs, departures from reason, and the salacious photo. To paraphrase Stephen King, first try terror, then horror, and if you can’t do that, go for the gross-out. Either way, I’m sure it had the desired effect–generating hits, tons of comments and buzz, but I canceled my feed.

Whether it was real or manufactured is beside point … If your professional credibility is built on giving people advice on how to behave and you do otherwise, I’m going to have to question the source. I wouldn’t take directions to the grocery store from Blogzilla, who clearly can’t manage life much less have the good sense not to broadcast that fact publicly. What makes Blogzilla think I’d heed career advice from a person who has a demonstrated inability to function and desperate need for attention? Now if Blogzilla’s livelihood was based on number of hits and comments, it might have made sense. Might. It’s still creepy and sad.

Social media is a tricky thing. It blurs the lines between personal and professional (profersonal!). I have my own personal blog. I comment on many things, but I always stop short of anything that would damage my professional or personal credibility, and I do mean just short. Millenials take note: employers and clients will Google you. And real friends will not let you post your indiscretions so widely. Lose the picture of you in Tijuana with the assault rifle.  Make sure grandma wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.

The best blogs are personal, reveal a human element, or tell a story. There is such a thing beyond TMI, it’s BIYH (Better In Your Head)–in any forum, to an audience you don’t control, about a subject that falls in the awkward category. For instance, I’m not going to tell you about that incident with the monkey and the Taser …

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  • kristin

    So true, Barbara!!! You’ve captured my love/hate relationship with the medium quite well.

  • http://www.elizabethgaucher.com Elizabeth Damewood Gaucher

    Amen. I’m kind of glad to hear that you unfollowed the blog, there are limits, and losing followers sometimes is the only thing that means something to someone like this.

    Thanks for a relevant and sane expression of what is and is not a good idea!