All of us have an inner dialog. When you blog, that inner message can be revealed between the lines of your articles, social media messages and forum posts.
If you are sitting there doubting what I just said, think about it for a second. That inner voice might be quiet, but it will be there.
When someone compliments you, what do you think? Do you say to yourself “You are so right!” or do you think “This is embarrassing, change the subject”. When faced with an opportunity do you think “Go for it!” or do you think “This will probably go wrong. Again.”.
The things we tell ourselves are like our mental programming, the subconscious software that manages our behavior. This inner view of the world is revealed in our writing.
My inner dialog has often been “If I managed it then it can’t have been that difficult”, which translates to an outer dialog in the form of “Anyone can do this, here is how”. While my inner thoughts are not particularly healthy, in a way it has worked for me as I break things down into systems and processes then teach other people what I have learned.
When you meet someone and start talking to them, through the stories they tell you can often get an idea of what their inner story is. They leak their imagined plot-line of their life.
Here are some examples:
- “Despite what everyone else thought, I was proved right in the end.”
- “Life is hard, and we are powerless, don’t ever believe otherwise.”
- “Self-promotion is evil, people should recognize my true value without being told.”
- “People are basically good if you would only give them a chance.”
- “Anyone with money must have cheated or worse to get it.”
- “You are either with me or against me.”
- “My life is a constant test.”
- “I am in this situation because of all of them.”
- “Everyone else is a fraud, mine is the only authentic way.”
- “I was put here to do great things.”
- “People always let me down leaving me to carry the burden alone.”
- “If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all.”
Listen and read, try to work out what the message behind the message is. I am sure while you think on it you can come up with more examples.
So what is the point of all this?
I am not a psychologist, I don’t even play one on television, but I am interested in people. Just looking out for these things can give you a better insight into the stories we tell ourselves and the games people play, but for anyone who works online where everything we do is pretty much on permanent record, there are a couple of important ramifications:
First of all, be aware that we all leak our inner dialog out into the world and what we say between the lines can have a profound effect on our relationships and our success (or lack of).
For example, if you are constantly complaining about people for example, don’t be surprised if friends stop helping or partnering with you. Another example would be the person who has to tell everyone he or she has a secret (between the lines “I’m in the loop, people confide in me and I am important”), but suddenly nobody shares secrets with them any longer. It might be you think you are only sharing in private, but these impressions build up over time, get shared in other channels, and are surprisingly stubborn to break.
The second part of this message is to be aware when listening to others. Listen to the intentional message along with the unintentional. Forums, conversations, twitter messages, all form a larger thread over time.
Is someone constantly sharing conspiracy links? (sense of powerlessness?) , do they start projects then quit blaming others? (no shared responsibility?). On the other hand, do they boost others? Do they share in a positive way?
These signs collected over time can give you a sense of who is a good person to team with and who might be better left to their own projects. As I have no-doubt said many times before, collaborations are a big part of any progress online and you need to make sure you are not going to be hampered before you even start.
Finally, it is possible to have a conscious between the lines message. Decide the overall theme of your blog and make each individual article reinforce that theme. As I said before, the underlying theme of everything I do is “anyone can do this”, what do you want people to take away as your lasting message?
Bottom line is awareness:
- Read through what you write and make your intended message clear, and be conscious of unintended messages
- While reading and listening, watch out to see if you can pick up any underlying themes, what are they really saying?
Do you recognize this or think I have lost my marbles? Got any examples? Think you might be leaking? How can we plug these leaks? Please share your thoughts in the comments …
Table of contents for series: Better Blog Branding
- Better Blog Branding: What’s In a Name?
- Better Blog Branding: 10 Ways To Destroy Your Brand
- Better Blog Branding: Domain Exclusivity
- Better Blog Branding: Is Your Brand Breaking Promises?
- Better Blog Branding: Crafting Your Positioning Statement
- Better Blog Branding: How to Stand Out By Being First
- Better Blog Branding: Your Blogs Hidden Messages
- Better Blog Branding: Your Successful Brand
- Blog Branding and Positioning: Changing the Rules of the Blogging Game
- Naming Your Blog: How to Create Catchy Blog Names
- What Are You Saying Between the Lines?