I don’t want to tell you how great I am

Actually I don’t know how to tell you I am great.
Because after being in the industry for 30 years I still feel like an impostor.

I blame it on social media.

I admire the confidence of people.

Some designer announces that she is super-stoked to be joining some unknown studio as an intern, thanking everyone (from the CD who hired her, the HR manager, and the school lecturers who provided the connection). Inside, I think even if I were joining some huge studio as an ECD, I would probably not make a single announcement.

Another person shows off a piece of new work, getting a lot of likes. Was it really that great a piece of work? It doesn’t matter – the public eyeballs and social media likes validate it. In contrast, I hear people telling me that I suck at PR and that no one really knows what I do (or can do). But secretly, I still think everything I do, isn’t good enough to be shown on social media, and I need to work harder on my next project.

I cringe at posts that go something like, “I saw a dog piss today. There are 5 marketing lessons to be learned from this: 1. Mark your territory clearly; 2. Know your reach; 3. Aim straight at your target market…” Despite being in the business for a while now, I still don’t feel comfortable doing the thought-leader stuff. You won’t see me talking about building design ecosystems and processes, or insights from designing for a luxury design-sensitive urban market, or 5 trends in brand design, or how AI is impacting the design markets.

How about those posts that announce “speaking at xxx event” or “judging at yyy awards”? The irony is, as the guy behind many creative awards and design event, I know that part of the marketing strategy of an event organizer is to encourage speakers/juries to publicly talk about their participation – because it creates awareness for the events. Guess what – when I am the one who’ll be speaking at an event or judging an award show, you won’t hear a thing about it on any of my social channels. I am really averse to being seen as deserving of a slot to speak or to judge. I don’t think I am good enough.

I am actually terrified when people ask for selfies with me at design events and then tag me in their stories and posts. Then, the following day, I see event photos appearing everywhere, and some people seem to get tagged a lot. “They must be famous, good, and really popular in the design circle,” I think. “Maybe I should try to do some PR for myself? It would create more job opportunities? It would make hiring easier?” But my thoughts then drift to a certain individual who is well-known in the circuit, hired at all sorts of places as a consultant, friendly with everyone at all design events, but behind the scenes, is just labeled as the guy “who could sweet talk but can’t deliver any shit.” Sort of like a Paris Hilton – oh yeah, we all know her, but what has she really done?

But sometimes the envy kicks in. Shouldn’t I be getting my share of likes and followers? After all, I think I am somebody. Especially when people with blue ticks tell me that I am “criminally underexposed” or the “OG” who made it possible for the blue ticks to happen to some people?

Perhaps social media is toxic after all. I want to be famous. I want to tell you how great I am. I want to announce every moment when I am super stoked or super pumped.

But I know I won’t, because that’s me.

A friend sent me this link after I published my post.

As usual, the “subscribe me” plug.

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