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danceI have been thinking about the posts of the most successful bloggers and social media sharers and I believe one of the things they all have in common is that they reveal of themselves just a little more openly and intimately than anyone else with a marketing agenda and a lot to lose. There’s a fine line between taking your friends, followers, fans, and audience on a beautiful and compelling narrative ride and over-sharing, but even over-sharing verging on TMI has been better for the most successful social media artists and content marketers.

It makes me think of the poem by William W. Purkey:

You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.

Perez-hilton-black-eyeThe most successful social media artists don’t hide their black eyes, they sing them.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re all very aware that they’re being scrutinized and that they must protect the privacy of their children, friends, family, businesses, employers, and brands, but they also know that business is personal, work is personal, selling is personal, sales are personal, and that the most successful business people lead with relationships, friendships, and trust well before anyone ever gets to CVs, resumes, case studies, or client lists.

Let me just pull actress Jennifer Lawrence out of a hat as an example. She’s too beautiful, too perfect, on her own, on the red carpet. She’s unapproachable so gorgeous that envy could quickly turn to resentment.

Falling on her way up the stairs to receive her first Oscar at the Academy Awards was the best thing to ever happen to her, whether or not it was staged by a very savvy publicist.

Her subsequent behavior during interviews, on Saturday Night Live, and in Silver Linings Playbook — the funny, goofy, flawed, self-effacing, girlish, gamine — is who people love in spite of her Helen-of-Troy-class unspeakable beauty.

jenniferLawrenceMind you, this may or may not be completely intentional, orchestrated, scripted. Whether or not, it is a strategy that requires that you become way less self-conscious, spending a lot less time in front of the mirror, and a lot more willing to show good humor and grace when you find yourself on all-fours with your bum in the air on your way up to receive an honor in front of a billion people.

And that’s what it’s about. Social media is a de facto stress test. It’s an opportunity to get a feeling for who you and your brand really are.

Which is why, even though you may feel very exposed while under the spotlights of social media; therefore, you’ve gotta blog, tweet, Facebook, Tumbl, and Plus like there’s nobody watching while still understanding that you still shouldn’t share or do anything online that you wouldn’t do during a dinner party with your Vicar, Priest, Rabbi, Mum, Dad, Boss, Clients, Wife, and Kids in attendance.

That said, does dancing like there’s nobody watching mean naked and in a sexual manner or does it mean, “as though nobody were watching,” which means, rather, to go ahead and perform to your full ability, out loud, and with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.

girlsofUnisonAgencyAnd that’s what people want. They want you. They want to get to know you and your staff. They want to see your happy hours and when dogs come into the office.

I am really proud of being part of Unison Agency as they’re doing such an amazing job of sharing of themselves, the fun they’re having, their creativity, and their creative process.

When I think about all of this, I think of my favorite book by Milan Kundera, Immortality. The book is about great men who are obsessed with their immortality and they absurd paradox that is the result of single-mindedly pursuing one’s own greatness and place in history.

That telling people how you want to be known, respected, feared, and loved — even commanding them at the point of a sword — is folly; history will make it’s own decisions about you and the best way to be known, respected, loved, feared, and trusted is to be knowable, respectable, lovable, fearsome, and trustworthy.

And for all that to happen, you’ve gotta share of yourself like there’s nobody watching!

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Chris Abraham

About Chris Abraham

A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and advisor to the industries' leading firms. He specializes in Web 2.0 technologies, including content syndication; organize search engine optimization (SEO), online reputation management (ORM), content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.

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