There are a few cheats to make a photograph seem more interesting than it really is. Use the macro setting, tilt the camera about twenty degrees, add a Photoshop effect – any one of these, or a combination, and you’ve got yourself a picture that’s good and artsy. People may not even notice that you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing.
It’s the same way with most of life, I think. Posing, that is. A few tricks can get a person pretty far.
It’s not hard to look like you know what you’re doing to someone who has no idea how it’s done. The question is whether you can hold up when you’re among people who know far more than you.
I was reminded of that today when I read Colin‘s latest Canuckflack post, “I Am a Capable Strategist and Thoughtful Person.” It’s a delicious skewering of 99% of all blog posts – mine included, I’m sure.
There are people who seem to act their way through their profession by knowing the rote way to say things (like Colin points out). And they live in constant fear that someone is going to expose them as frauds.
It’s incredibly uncomfortable to be hopelessly out of your depth – if you’re trying to pretend otherwise. It’s embarrassing, stressful – a horrific strain. But if you’re out of your depth, honest about it, delighting in it, glorying in how much there is you don’t know yet, it’s not in the least scary. It’s learning, and there isn’t much that’s better.
So you have to be honest about how you’re using tricks of the trade. If you use crutches too long, next thing you know, you can’t stand on your own two feet alone.
And of course this tied back, to me, to social media, because it focuses on the individual – not the tricks but an actual person’s thoughts and actions. It’s much easier for someone to be outed as clever, as relatable, as human (or otherwise) when you’re hearing one person, not a faceless corporate “position”.
With that said, though, social media itself can be the worst bag of tricks of all. And Jeremyâ€™s Pop PR Jots post today relates to that – a caution that the technology you use doesn’t define whether you’re good at what you do. Any medium is just a conduit for communicating information – it’s what you’re actually trying to communicate that’s the point. We canâ€™t become so enamored of what the latest cool toy does that we forget what the point of the toy is.
Technology, by definition, enables us to do what we do better. The question is, what do we do? It can be surprisingly easy to forget what the answer to that question is. It helps to sit back and think about what we’re really trying to do, and whether we’re really any good at it at all.