15 votes

Does self-promotion feel "bad" for anyone else?

So, let's say I wrote something on my blog[1] and want people to check it out. Since I don't have any proper "audience" (and I don't expect one given I rarely post something), I don't really see any way other than sharing my own posts on places like Tildes, relevant subreddits, etc.

But doing this feels bad. I feel like I'm using these places just as a dumping ground for my own posts, trying to boost my own site or whatever, even though I don't earn anything from it.

If I check my Tildes history, 3 of the 4 topics I submitted are self-promotion in some way. On my comments the ratio of promotion vs "natural" comments look lower, but even just saying that makes me feel like I'm trying to lie about something.

One thing about my small number of topics are that I don't really think about sharing links I come across, since I feel like none of them would fit the site, and most of them are already shared here.

I don't know if the self-promotion is frowned upon, if I should continue, how I'd "diversify" my posting habits, and all that. What do you all think?

[1]: Doesn't have to be a blog post, it could be anything.

7 comments

  1. [3]
    hungariantoast
    (edited )
    Link
    First and foremost, if Deimos, the site administrator, hasn't told you to stop, then don't. If you're doing something wrong, you'll be let known. Second, I like the things you have posted so far....

    First and foremost, if Deimos, the site administrator, hasn't told you to stop, then don't. If you're doing something wrong, you'll be let known.

    Second, I like the things you have posted so far. They're good contributions to the site. I don't have any problem with them.

    Third, the site's documentation has a policy about self promotion:

    If you have your own site/project/channel/etc. that you'd like to share on Tildes, that's generally fine (in moderation), but it shouldn't be the primary reason that you post on the site. Tildes is a community, not a free advertising platform. Sharing your own content is welcome as long as you're involved in the community, but don't just treat Tildes as a source of an audience.

    Respectfully, I think that policy is pretty bunk and should be rewritten. If a user's only contribution to this site is posting links to their blog, and those links generate discussion, and the content of their blog is good (as in, they're not just farming for ad money), then I don't really care if that's their only contribution to this website, because those are positive contributions.

    Of course, you are already involved with Tildes beyond just submitting links to your own content. The ratio of your contributions might favor your own content, but that's not exclusively what your interactions here are. Because of that, I don't think that policy really applies to your case.

    15 votes
    1. [2]
      admicos
      Link Parent
      While most of this post is specific to Tildes, and so far I don't recall getting any warnings about it, most of it still applies to other places (I might've worded it badly, though). Jumping into...

      First and foremost, if Deimos, the site administrator, hasn't told you to stop, then don't. If you're doing something wrong, you'll be let known.

      While most of this post is specific to Tildes, and so far I don't recall getting any warnings about it, most of it still applies to other places (I might've worded it badly, though).

      Jumping into a community and saying "hey look at this thing I made", even if I've interacted with the community before, still feels like bad advertising to me.

      Second, I liked the things you have posted so far. They're good contributions to the site.

      Thanks!

      5 votes
      1. hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        I thought this was posted to ~tildes, but now I realize it's in ~talk, and so I was approaching it from a different context. That's my bad, but I still stand by what I said. As for posting your...

        most of it still applies to other places

        I thought this was posted to ~tildes, but now I realize it's in ~talk, and so I was approaching it from a different context. That's my bad, but I still stand by what I said.

        As for posting your own creations to online communities, frankly, why shouldn't you do that? I think the term "self-promotion" has a bad reputation[1] because of the scummy nature of Internet platform advertising and monetization, but none of your content fits that bill. Your blog for instance, isn't trying to sell me anything. Its content is even licensed CC BY-SA 4.0.

        So I guess I'm trying to turn the question on its head and instead of asking if you should share your creations:

        Why shouldn't you?

        At the macro level, the Internet would be extremely boring, corporate, and hostile if people like you didn't fight back through the mere act of creating, but it isn't enough just to create, we also have to share.

        Can you determine why sharing your content feels bad? Do you have a strong reason to feel that way, or is it just an ephemeral feeling permeated through cyberspace?

        Finally, as far as using a link aggregator as a dumping ground for your own posts, well... you're either dumping your own posts, or someone else's.


        1. And that's a big reason why we stopped using a self promotion tag on Tildes

        6 votes
  2. [2]
    imperialismus
    Link
    I personally loathe promoting my own stuff, maybe even to a pathological degree. I learned I couldn’t make a living as a freelancer in part because it requires me to constantly sell myself and my...

    I personally loathe promoting my own stuff, maybe even to a pathological degree. I learned I couldn’t make a living as a freelancer in part because it requires me to constantly sell myself and my services - at times it feels like half the job, at least until you’ve spent years building a reputation, is selling yourself. This is clearly maladaptive, but I do think it’s good to have a reflective stance on how and when it’s appropriate to promote yourself, your work, and other things related to you.

    In general, I would say, play by the rules. Get a feel for whether the space you’re in has an aversion to self promotion, and if so, step more carefully. I’m part of some online communities that have a very strong focus on community: on creating an atmosphere of like-minded people who are on the same level, rather than one of consumers and promoters. Such places tend to have stronger rules on self promotion.

    For instance, the r/fantasy subreddit has a strong stance on self promo that can be summarized as, once every blue moon is okay, as long as it’s only a small part of your overall activity. Which I think is a perfectly fine rule for a community that already has a problem of fans pimping their favorite book in all kinds of totally inappropriate contexts; it would be much worse if it were a free-for-all of authors spamming their books. That place has a lot of well-known authors as regular members, and you can have a conversation with them as fellow fans rather than as seller and potential buyer, and I think it’s wonderful. But just because that works for one particular community doesn’t mean I think it should be a universal law of the internet.

    I don’t think OP’s contributions are bad at all, and they should not feel bad about them. But when a community grows, it’s easy for it to be invaded by selfish, self-serving not-members whose only purpose is to exploit the community for attention or profit. I think that rule on limiting self promo exists not to punish people like OP, who engages with the community in good faith, but rather, to preemptively restrict such less conscientious self promoters. It’s probably not a very big issue now, but it can absolutely become an issue in more targeted niche communities. Suddenly you have the greatest single collection of model train builders, or fantasy book fans, or guerilla crocheters, or whatever on the internet, and to a lot of people, that looks like a targeted marketing campaign waiting to happen. Tildes, while it has different groups, feels more like a general community right now. It doesn’t have large niche sub-communities that have their own distinct culture yet (almost all the groups have near identical sub counts), so it doesn’t have that same marketing allure.

    8 votes
    1. joplin
      Link Parent
      It literally is. Most good business books and classes will tell you to set your hourly rate assuming 1,000 hrs. worked per years instead of the normal 2,000 that would be 40 hours/week times 50...

      at times it feels like half the job

      It literally is. Most good business books and classes will tell you to set your hourly rate assuming 1,000 hrs. worked per years instead of the normal 2,000 that would be 40 hours/week times 50 weeks. You need to promote your business and find new leads. And it's a huge pain in the ass.

      4 votes
  3. ThatFanficGuy
    Link
    What you have to understand is that you're not doing the sharing to the detriment of the communities, nor does your posting your own product diminishes your social standing, or what equivalent of...

    What you have to understand is that you're not doing the sharing to the detriment of the communities, nor does your posting your own product diminishes your social standing, or what equivalent of it you might have online.

    You have to share your work for it to be seen. You're already doing it; I suspect you know that without it you wither. You need to share it.

    So share it.

    Let the world know you're doing something worth seeing. It ain't coming around to get a glance on its own. You have to stand in front of it, hold the poster of your new thing up as high as you can, and shout "LOOK AT WHAT I MADE" at the top of your lungs. If you listen to the way entrepreneurs used to promote their work at the end of the last century, you'll see that they had to haul ass just to get their foot in the door. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Henry Rollins, anybody else of any merit who got there through their own efforts.

    The best thing you can do for yourself is strip yourself of the notion that you somehow don't deserve it; that your sharing your work diminishes you in any way. You have to stand up and carry yourself. You know what happens if you don't.

    As long as you share in good faith – as long as you don't sell your soul to get your thing seen, as long as you don't push it into people's faces – you're good. If it's a good thing you made, those whose problems it solves will appreciate seeing it.

    6 votes
  4. Moonchild
    Link
    Completely tangential, but: for footnotes, you can generate actual superscript with html tags. <sup>1</sup> will generate 1.

    Completely tangential, but: for footnotes, you can generate actual superscript with html tags. <sup>1</sup> will generate 1.

    3 votes