Friday, January 5, 2007

Marketing Moi

I've spent the oodles of time since my last post thinking about how to sell myself on the internet. I'm posting yet again because I can't sleep for all the thinking about myself.

One aspect of this cogitation is that I'm glassblower and a friend is helping me set up a website to sell my art. She needs more words and pictures from me to make it work so this is on my mind. The other is I've decided to sign up on so I have to think about literally selling myself. Why would I be some guy's new best friend and lover, and how do they know that from reading about me? For all that I am very indescriminate about casting my thoughts into the ether, telling perfect strangers how I hate all poetry but haiku unless it's set to a tune, I am not at all comfortable marketing the magic that is me.

I'm learning about spin. Spin is probably the most negative word to put on the concept, but I've been assimilated to the belief that presentation is a very large part of your message. It's why sarcasm doesn't work well in text; without the droll tone of voice, people think you're serious. If you approach someone assertively, you get different results than if you're apologetic or aggressive and argumentative when trying to convey a single idea. An example in the news recently shows "Death Tax" evokes a different response than "Estate Tax". The first implies that the tax is unavoidable and applies universally because everyone dies. The second that it applies to someone else, those "others" with "estates". A populace that never thought about "Estate Taxes" (primarily because they didn't have to), will get up in arms about the injustice of a "Death Tax". And the result is that tax laws put in place to help promote a strong middle class by preventing gross inequities in wealth distribution are repealed.

Naturally, the topic now returns to me. The problem I have with "marketing spin" is that I need to describe myself. While I like to think I'm complex and hard to pin down, mostly I'm extremely literal and indecisive. Sometimes I'm good with nuance, but oftentimes I need someone to let me know I need to dig beneath the surface or read between the lines. It's a skill I've learned, but some aspects of it don't come easily for me. (Jeanne, if you ever read this, think about your mom's boat.) When I say "I'm a glassblower" and stop, I can't help but think, "actually, I'm a singing engineer with the furnace fetish who can speak with her hands". If I read that someone else is a glassblower, I have certain expectations of them and those expectations don't describe me completely enough for me to be comfortable using just that one label. So I need more labels, but which ones? How many? And how do I choose? Am I "Big and Beautiful", carrying "a few extra pounds" or a chubby athlete (not a choice)? How much will this decision matter? And if I fudge it a bit, will it come back to bite me in person when it'll be worse? This is why I don't lie, as a general rule; I'm constitutionally incapable without rigorous coaching, or a belief that it's not actually a lie. If I can talk myself around to thinking of an idea in a context such that it's no longer a lie, I can use it. Thus, spinning an idea increases my comfort when I can't convey the whole truth at once.

Decisions are stressful things for me. I'm extremely good at looking at multiple points of view. I'm not adept at weighing the relative importance of those points of view or the decision itself. Whatever I'm pondering at the time is the most important thing ever even if it's whether to throw out junk mail. What if I need an oil change and don't have the coupon? How could I live with myself for wasting that five dollars? Even though I've learned to step back and query, "What decision will move this forward?" or "How much pain does a bad decision cost here?" (if it's only $5, fuhgeddaboudit) it's still a emotional grinder for me. Even blogging, I've edited almost all of my posts so far. I almost always feel calmer after making a decision, but I can and have lived for years with deferred decisions. (Ask Jeanne how many years of paperwork she helped me throw out and organize. And how many years I talked about leaving my last job.)

Right now the decision of prioritizing when I work on the glass website, when I blog, and when I work on my match profile has me spinning in circles. I'm ineffectual at all but the easiest, vomiting my opinion into the ether as a way of thinking things through in the hopes that it helps, because they are all very important to me so I feel guilty working on one and not the other. I know that working on any one is not "cheating" on the other website, but it's how I feel. I don't give my complete attention to the glass because I need a social life, but I don't give my complete attention to the profile because I want the glass website functional in time to funnel my existing customers through it this month. Simply thinking about one makes my mind jump to the other. There, I've reasoned that through. I'll have to give myself permission to focus on one at a time so I can get to a point where at least one is not in limbo.

Also on my mind - this is my blog, and I'm already boring myself to tears talking about me. God help anyone who stumbles upon my self-love fest inadvertently. I was such a mess this year that I got NO ONE Christmas gifts, if you don't count toiletries and hand-me-down sweaters, which I don't. This non-giving state of affairs sucks for several reasons: I love giving thoughtful gifts, I have gotten some REALLY nice gifts from friends in the last couple years, and I didn't have clue one what anyone would want this year and it scares me to be that thoughtless. I need to think about someone(s) that is (are) not me or I will become someone I do not care to be around. I think I'm going to have to add a codicil to my happiness posts - I have to make at least one attempt to make someone else happy. This implies that I need to think about someone else, care enough to think things through, and then do my thing for them. Which would be a nice change of pace, don't you think?

Ok, I think I can sleep now. We've established that I'd make a terrible spy and I've asked friends for advice on the profile and website, I'll have to see if anyone helps me out and finish the profile tomorrow, before the 6'5" pilot is snatched up, and work on the glass site next week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's your blog you can post what you want to.

That's the pt to it.

As for the rest.... stop editing :)

I use to... I'm learning not to.

Write for yourself first - "yeah, right" she says - besides what's wrong with a little spin. Unless you plan to tell them you are 5' tall and a size 0 :)

It'll be fine. Now get some sleep.