Be Confident

There’s a bit of a meme going around that started with Mitch Joel. He is asking what the best social media practices are and why. Chris Brogan picked it up and it’s finally trickled to me via Micah.

Confidence is sexy. Confidence oozes through and greatness is often catapulted to new levels because of confidence. Of course, confidence is also a double edged sword. Although it will ensure that you will eventually be noticed (at a minimum), it is also the thing that will get you into trouble.

Confidence is not cherished by everyone. In fact, inevitably a confident blogger will be called arrogant or egotistical. Others, who don’t understand the confidence, will try to turn it into something else. They will tell you to stop putting on a front and be yourself. They will try to convey their own best practices, which are successful for them, on you and criticize your approaches.

Confidence says you ignore naysayers. You’re not there for them anyway. You’re there for yourself. Unless you’re Brogan, then you’re there for everyone.

Regardless, when you’re confident, you’ll have complete faith in your position. Confidence does not mean you don’t listen to others or objectively weigh their opinions or feedback. That would be silly. Iron sharpens iron. But confidence knows when to listen and when to ignore.

At the end of the day, confidence is about knowing where you are going and maintaining that mission as your singular focus. Techniques can change and feedback can adjust the techniques and practices. But nothing takes your vision away from your goals and if an idea or topic does not enhance that vision, then throw it away.

Last night on Twitter, I came into the tail end of a conversation where someone was insulting right-wing conservatives. They were labeling conservatives as pitiful and shameful and that they would not debate with anyone who was a conservative.

Now, I’m a conservative in the pure sense of the word. I am not a conservative in the mold of the modern day Republican party, and in fact true conservatism is more reflective of modern day liberalism than modern day conservative. It values individuals above all else. It values individual dollars, individual choices, individual consequences, individual governance. These are mantras synonymous with modern day liberalism and not modern day conservatism which wants to nation build, empire build and take away individual opportunities and invade individual lives.

I don’t talk about politics much on this blog. Occasionally if it serves a larger point that is in the mission of “Technology, business and new media”. I was asked to blog about the definition of true conservatism, and I declined. It’s not in my genre. It doesn’t further my goals. I’m confident in my goals. Yes, I could get lots of traffic and a nice dialogue going on political issues, but I’m confident in my own focus that I won’t dedicate a post to a political discussion at this time.

There are various stripes of social media person. Some people do it for themselves. Micah is a good example of this. Some do it professionally. Darren is like this. Others use it to create positive energy for the brand they work for. Scott Monty does this for Ford, but doesn’t use his blog as much as he uses Twitter and other mediums. Still others do it for community. Liz Strauss is this way.

Whatever your goal, be confident in it and stay on course. It doesn’t really matter who does or says what. Just do it regardless. This confidence level could be the difference between a long-tail blogger and the proverbial “A lister”.

I’d love to hear this concept expounded on, or other social media techniques, by Scott Ellis, Mark Jaquith and Karoli – each notable in their own area of expertise and outside of the proverbial social media echo chamber.

Published by

Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

5 thoughts on “Be Confident”

  1. I agree that a certain level of confidence is necessary. Of course there's a fine line between confidence and arrogance but exceptional brands know how to stay in line and deliver a good experience.

  2. I happen to know my skills and limitations. Knowing this makes me confident in my abilitites. I have found that teachers love confident students. I have found that potential employers love confident applicants, but that once hired the employer hates that confidence! Co-workers interpret that confidence as arrogance, and feel threatened by it. Confidence can bite you in the rear end!

  3. Aaron, I think you summed up confidence pretty well by saying that “confidence” knows when to ignore the voices and when to listen, but in either case does not do so with disregard. Arrogance is what people perceive not when you haven't done something their way but but when they feel like you didn't even listen to what they had to say. Social media has become an outlet for anyone to have a voice but will continue to evolve to a place where we can add lot of value to the here and now. My personal take on social media as I approprach it personally and profesionally is that it is an opportunity to share information that might be useful, entertaining or otherwise meaningful, in an interactive manner. And by creating that feedback loop we can consistently improve what we choose to share making it more valueable to those who choose to listen. Either way, it always starts with sharing (or giving), without expecting something in return (at least not always). For business, I see social media as a way to connect with clients and customers who are passionate about their products and services and give them a voice as well as a way to give something back. A business which does so looks confident because they either weren't afraid of what people might say, or may have been afraid, but gave them a voice anyway. They are the executives who choose transparency over the ivory tower through blogging, etc… Confidence then sits at the intersection of sharing information, giving a voice and hearing it while understanding how to filter out that which would disrtract you from your goals; and social media is a great tool to that end. Of coures the occasional “I just had too many margaritas on the patio” will slip through twitter but a little of that is what keeps it human!

  4. Never has their been a time in history where human kind has been able to demonstrate just how little confidence it has. Confidence does not need a Social Network to make a point. Need anyone say more other than “Follow the people who want to find the money and you will find the hype machine that pushes a negative self-image as a way of generating revenue”. All of this is served up on an anonymous platform where people say things and marketers do things they would never consider doing face-to-face. Pardon me. I need to go tell the world that I am about to purchase a mountain bike, drink a cup of coffee and run with scissors.

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