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I Suspect Everyone Else Is Smarter, Better-Looking, Taller, Cooler, Cuter, Has Newer and Shinier Objects than I Do (and Is More Modest)

dunceyWhen you are prone to measuring yourself against others, like I am, and when you both work and live out chunks of your life online, as I do, the Internet can be a bitch.

It’s easy to get caught up in measuring your impact online, and to suspect that your own self-worth is tied to it.

It’s easy, for example, to measure your popularity and self-esteem in terms of the number of “friends” you have on Facebook, the number of followers on Twitter, the extent of your professional contacts on LinkedIn, your cache of Feedburner subscribers, your Web site’s Google PageRank, tags on Flickr, comments, links, visits, clicks, referrals, Karma on Plurk, and—worst of all!—your Technorati degree of “Authority,” which implies a sort of collected clout and power that, for most of us, doesn’t really exist outside of the unblinking screen that is our dashboard to the world.

Those of you who don’t spend vast buckets of time online might be thinking that this is a peculiar phenomenon of people who do. But comparing yourself with others is no more a consequence of the Digital Age than is email to blame for unsolicited junk mail or the Internet is the cause of porn. It’s human nature.

There are always those who are smarter, better-looking, taller, better networked, cooler, more enlightened, and have better backhands, tighter asses, cuter kids, and newer and shinier objects than you do.

Or, as my wise, street-smart, boarding-school-educated and self-assured college friend Lesley used to tell me when we were all of 17—as she sucked deeply on her Marlboro, blowing the smoke dismissively in the direction of a gaggle of girls more popular than we were — “Well, there’s always someone richer, skinnier, and with bigger boobs.”

The metrics might change, but the comparisons remain. It’s just that the Internet’s immediacy and accountability makes some of those people irritatingly visible and, at the same time, makes it clear by how much, precisely, they are besting you. It’s the 2008 equivalent of your neighbor a generation ago parking his spanking new Mustang next to your Dodge Dart.

As my friend Matt recently griped to me a few days after an event we’d both attended, “There were no photos of me on Flickr.” And so, he started to wonder—maybe because he studied German philosophy — “was I really there?” In this age of digital stills and Flip video cameras, when an event or gathering is digitally captured, uploaded, tagged, grouped, viewed, commented on, and ranked, it’s a little disconcerting to realize that you’ve somehow been overlooked.

But here’s the thing: As much as the Internet feeds insecurity and narcissism (perhaps none more so than my own), by its nature it also encourages connectivity. As much as it opens us up to the whole wide world, it also makes that world smaller and cozier, linking together those who are the worst kind of insecure (or narcissistic or arrogant or humble or black or white…) and in doing so can make all of us behind our computer screens feel, oddly, like we aren’t alone.

I love the following video by the poet Taylor Mali (who, incidentally, wrote one of my favorite poems, “How Falling in Love Is Like Owning a Dog.”) Here’s how he responds to the simple question, “Where is your favorite place to write?” This captures—by taking it to the extreme of absurdity—how one might imagine the life of a smarter, better-looking, taller, cooler, cuter… narcissist:

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97 Responses to I Suspect Everyone Else Is Smarter, Better-Looking, Taller, Cooler, Cuter, Has Newer and Shinier Objects than I Do (and Is More Modest)

  1. Here’s a perfect example of how Plurk takes away comments. It seemed to me that blog comments would remain a place of extended discussion. Let’s hope so.

    But I digress. Excellent points. The video perfectly captures how pretentious Web 2.0 can be, although he’s talking of something else.

    Ann, we all have our contribution and must tend our own house. Some synchronicity tonight as I just read another post touching on being gaga over people you admire:
    http://tinyurl.com/6c6kzu

    Thanks for the thoughts.

  2. Here’s a perfect example of how Plurk takes away comments. It seemed to me that blog comments would remain a place of extended discussion. Let’s hope so.

    But I digress. Excellent points. The video perfectly captures how pretentious Web 2.0 can be, although he’s talking of something else.

    Ann, we all have our contribution and must tend our own house. Some synchronicity tonight as I just read another post touching on being gaga over people you admire:
    http://tinyurl.com/6c6kzu

    Thanks for the thoughts.

  3. Mukund Mohan says:

    At least I found one person smarter, nicer and a better writer than me :) – Look in the mirror Ann.

    After I started “speaking my mind and writing like Ann” – I get a lot more credits for how “good” my blogging is.

  4. Mukund Mohan says:

    At least I found one person smarter, nicer and a better writer than me :) – Look in the mirror Ann.

    After I started “speaking my mind and writing like Ann” – I get a lot more credits for how “good” my blogging is.

  5. YAY! Glad someone finally wrote about this. Thanks Annie. Well done.

    I find it hard believe that someone as accomplished and magnetic and generally wondermus as yourself could ever feel this way.

    But darn, it’s comforting!

    When comparing twitter and facebook friends, I try to remind myself that I’m just a “best kept secret”. :-) (Sounds good, eh?)

    This does nothing, however, to quell my “offline insecurities” like my ample butt and other body parts that seem to be given over to gravity.

  6. YAY! Glad someone finally wrote about this. Thanks Annie. Well done.

    I find it hard believe that someone as accomplished and magnetic and generally wondermus as yourself could ever feel this way.

    But darn, it’s comforting!

    When comparing twitter and facebook friends, I try to remind myself that I’m just a “best kept secret”. :-) (Sounds good, eh?)

    This does nothing, however, to quell my “offline insecurities” like my ample butt and other body parts that seem to be given over to gravity.

  7. Robin Carey says:

    I assure you, Ann, your ass is tighter than mine.

  8. Robin Carey says:

    I assure you, Ann, your ass is tighter than mine.

  9. Mack Collier says:

    The funny thing about the online rankings is that by the time you get to the point where you can be consistently ranked on these things, you start to realize that it’s all pretty meaningless.

  10. Mack Collier says:

    The funny thing about the online rankings is that by the time you get to the point where you can be consistently ranked on these things, you start to realize that it’s all pretty meaningless.

  11. Alan Wolk says:

    Whenever I fall into this trap (which is often enough) I’m always reminded of (Senator!) Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley character on SNL, and his phrase “Compare and Despair!”

    Which is a lot more relevant than he might have realized.

    It’s easy in internetland to count up how many comments someone else had on their blog post, how many people want to friend them on LinkedIn (versus going out and chasing down the friends yourself) and all other manner of neurosis.

    The same way, in real life, it’s easy to look at our friends who work on Wall Street, the ones making ten or 100 times as much money as we are, and work ourselves into fits of jealousy because really, it’s not like they’re that much smarter or anything.

    That’s when comparing downward helps.

    I’ve seen two movies recently- “La Misma Luna and James in Jerusalem that dealt with the experience of being an illegal immigrant and living in fear that everything might be taken from you at any moment. Realizing that so much of the world lives at that level of subsistence really helps put things in perspective.

    Until I run into a Wall Streeter in his new $90K Range Rover. Or a blog post with 147 replies.

  12. Alan Wolk says:

    Whenever I fall into this trap (which is often enough) I’m always reminded of (Senator!) Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley character on SNL, and his phrase “Compare and Despair!”

    Which is a lot more relevant than he might have realized.

    It’s easy in internetland to count up how many comments someone else had on their blog post, how many people want to friend them on LinkedIn (versus going out and chasing down the friends yourself) and all other manner of neurosis.

    The same way, in real life, it’s easy to look at our friends who work on Wall Street, the ones making ten or 100 times as much money as we are, and work ourselves into fits of jealousy because really, it’s not like they’re that much smarter or anything.

    That’s when comparing downward helps.

    I’ve seen two movies recently- “La Misma Luna and James in Jerusalem that dealt with the experience of being an illegal immigrant and living in fear that everything might be taken from you at any moment. Realizing that so much of the world lives at that level of subsistence really helps put things in perspective.

    Until I run into a Wall Streeter in his new $90K Range Rover. Or a blog post with 147 replies.

  13. Ann Handley says:

    Pamir — Very true! Interestingly, the discussion on this post on Plurk garnered 50+ comments, but only a handful on this blog, at the same time. I mean, not that I’m *counting*… ; ) Thanks for the link, too… traveling over to the check that out…

    Mukund & Leigh & Robin – Guess it doesn’t matter how accomplished/talented/or how tight *anything* is… I see it as human nature to measure ourselves against others. It’s just that the internet offers up ready yardsticks.

  14. Ann Handley says:

    Pamir — Very true! Interestingly, the discussion on this post on Plurk garnered 50+ comments, but only a handful on this blog, at the same time. I mean, not that I’m *counting*… ; ) Thanks for the link, too… traveling over to the check that out…

    Mukund & Leigh & Robin – Guess it doesn’t matter how accomplished/talented/or how tight *anything* is… I see it as human nature to measure ourselves against others. It’s just that the internet offers up ready yardsticks.

  15. Ann Handley says:

    Mack — … maybe. But this from the guy who publishes the weekly Top 25 Marketing Blogs list..? : )

  16. Ann Handley says:

    Mack — … maybe. But this from the guy who publishes the weekly Top 25 Marketing Blogs list..? : )

  17. The people that “have it all” tend to also have one other quality – they are often arrogant, insufferable, self-absorbed jerks. And probably quite lonely. I guess I’ll settle for my low spot on the yardstick if it means I can enjoy the company of other fellow flawed humans…

  18. The people that “have it all” tend to also have one other quality – they are often arrogant, insufferable, self-absorbed jerks. And probably quite lonely. I guess I’ll settle for my low spot on the yardstick if it means I can enjoy the company of other fellow flawed humans…

  19. Mack Collier says:

    Ann remember that I killed the Top 25 a few months ago because I thought it was irrelevant. Readers told me to bring it back, and with the ranking format, so I did.

  20. Mack Collier says:

    Ann remember that I killed the Top 25 a few months ago because I thought it was irrelevant. Readers told me to bring it back, and with the ranking format, so I did.

  21. Chris Kieff says:

    You amaze me with your uncanny ability to find such wonderful metaphors, and illustrations to help make your point. The video is perfect. And oh yea, you wrote some good stuff too.

    Yea, I’ll come back here again.
    Chris

  22. Chris Kieff says:

    You amaze me with your uncanny ability to find such wonderful metaphors, and illustrations to help make your point. The video is perfect. And oh yea, you wrote some good stuff too.

    Yea, I’ll come back here again.
    Chris

  23. Mack Collier says:

    Speaking somewhat to Steve’s point….

    My own theory is that many of the A-Listers that are me-me-me (and there are def exceptions, Chris Brogan immediately comes to mind), are people that, thanks to blogging, have become ‘known’ for the first time in their lives. People that trudged through life pretty much anonymously, as many of us do.

    Then along came blogging, and because they started writing in 2001 instead of 2007, they because A-listers almost by default. So for likely the first time in their lives, someone outside their immediate family knows who they are….and many of them aren’t handling that ‘fame’ very well, and have forgotten what made them ‘famous’ in the first place.

  24. Mack Collier says:

    Speaking somewhat to Steve’s point….

    My own theory is that many of the A-Listers that are me-me-me (and there are def exceptions, Chris Brogan immediately comes to mind), are people that, thanks to blogging, have become ‘known’ for the first time in their lives. People that trudged through life pretty much anonymously, as many of us do.

    Then along came blogging, and because they started writing in 2001 instead of 2007, they because A-listers almost by default. So for likely the first time in their lives, someone outside their immediate family knows who they are….and many of them aren’t handling that ‘fame’ very well, and have forgotten what made them ‘famous’ in the first place.

  25. Bdot says:

    From my prospective (being in the hardware end of the internet business), and being old enough to remember before Ann and Al Gore invented the internet.

    There have always been people who in their own minds thought they were “smarter, better-looking, taller, better networked, cooler, more enlightened, and have better backhands, tighter asses” some were but in my mind, most were living the fantasy. It’s like that woman at the grocery that is dressed in Spandex, and to me; should really be covered up in a mumu, What does she see when she looks in the mirror? I guess it’s all about your prospective. I’m not engaged in twitter, facebook, linedin, and until moments ago, I had never heard of Plurk.

    The friends I have do not participate in them either. And most of them I haven’t used yetJ. I guess what it boils down to is what makes you feel whole, where your priorities lie, but really it’s what’s inside that counts, and how one feels about themselves.

    CONTENT RULES! *

    * torn and tattered, barely hanging on by a thread, but still my favorite shirt.

  26. Bdot says:

    From my prospective (being in the hardware end of the internet business), and being old enough to remember before Ann and Al Gore invented the internet.

    There have always been people who in their own minds thought they were “smarter, better-looking, taller, better networked, cooler, more enlightened, and have better backhands, tighter asses” some were but in my mind, most were living the fantasy. It’s like that woman at the grocery that is dressed in Spandex, and to me; should really be covered up in a mumu, What does she see when she looks in the mirror? I guess it’s all about your prospective. I’m not engaged in twitter, facebook, linedin, and until moments ago, I had never heard of Plurk.

    The friends I have do not participate in them either. And most of them I haven’t used yetJ. I guess what it boils down to is what makes you feel whole, where your priorities lie, but really it’s what’s inside that counts, and how one feels about themselves.

    CONTENT RULES! *

    * torn and tattered, barely hanging on by a thread, but still my favorite shirt.

  27. Lewis Green says:

    Ann,

    I’m not immune to the comparisions of which you speak and occasionally find myself wishing I was better looking, smarter and more popular. But I never worry about rankings: in facts, I couldn’t tell you where I am in AdAge, Authority, friends, followers, etc. Those numbers mean nothing to my life or my business.

    Great writing, as always.

  28. Lewis Green says:

    Ann,

    I’m not immune to the comparisions of which you speak and occasionally find myself wishing I was better looking, smarter and more popular. But I never worry about rankings: in facts, I couldn’t tell you where I am in AdAge, Authority, friends, followers, etc. Those numbers mean nothing to my life or my business.

    Great writing, as always.

  29. Alan Wolk says:

    Mack: Could not agree more strongly with your last comment. Well stated. Very true on ALL points, especially longevity = fame. You 100% get it.

  30. Alan Wolk says:

    Mack: Could not agree more strongly with your last comment. Well stated. Very true on ALL points, especially longevity = fame. You 100% get it.

  31. The thing to remember, I think, is that thoughtful people tend to be acutely aware of their own faults and acutely aware of the strengths in those they admire. It’s a combination that seriously distorts the perceived distance when we do the inevitable compare/contrast. Not so depressing if you can also flip it around and compare your strengths with their weaknesses once in a while…

    And now I’ll stop with the armchair psychology… :)

  32. The thing to remember, I think, is that thoughtful people tend to be acutely aware of their own faults and acutely aware of the strengths in those they admire. It’s a combination that seriously distorts the perceived distance when we do the inevitable compare/contrast. Not so depressing if you can also flip it around and compare your strengths with their weaknesses once in a while…

    And now I’ll stop with the armchair psychology… :)

  33. Again, you blow my hair back! Way back this time! I was just at this gala thing-y with my husband and I was among some of the largest brains, talents, egos, wallets, in all of Boston. Was I slightly intimidated by all this power? Whoa, yeah. Did I watch them glaze over as I described my profession? Yes, (but I chose to think they were remembering something important at that moment coincidentally. )
    Did I do a little superiority dance when I was in the internet photos posted on Boston.com and their froggy, pasty faces WEREN’T?!?!? Yes, dammit, I did!! Something about the false sense of real popularity creeps over when you’re vindicated in “byte-sized” pieces… Again, you nailed my life moments with your timely and wry insights. Thanks for the perspective. I do your topics in life, they come out here on Annarchy…
    How do you do it???

  34. Again, you blow my hair back! Way back this time! I was just at this gala thing-y with my husband and I was among some of the largest brains, talents, egos, wallets, in all of Boston. Was I slightly intimidated by all this power? Whoa, yeah. Did I watch them glaze over as I described my profession? Yes, (but I chose to think they were remembering something important at that moment coincidentally. )
    Did I do a little superiority dance when I was in the internet photos posted on Boston.com and their froggy, pasty faces WEREN’T?!?!? Yes, dammit, I did!! Something about the false sense of real popularity creeps over when you’re vindicated in “byte-sized” pieces… Again, you nailed my life moments with your timely and wry insights. Thanks for the perspective. I do your topics in life, they come out here on Annarchy…
    How do you do it???

  35. Pingback: A 3-D View of Insecurity « Steve’s Leaves

  36. Tim Jackson says:

    Thanks for that fantastic video- as a writer and poet myself, I now feel even more insignificant than I did when I woke up. Thanks…

    I grew up as the skinny kid none of the girls liked. I was always pining away, like the typical Pisces I am, and watching the world from the outside edges.

    This new online world has been a bit better at leveling the social playing field… a little. I often still look at rankings, stats, etc and wonder why I’m not on the A-List. dammit, I’m smart and my mom says I’d be a real catch.

    Competition and comparison is as common and long-standing as navel gazing is; it’s impossible to now wonder how we fit in on the big scale of comparisons. It is for me anyway. I’d like to be the guy at the party that everybody wants to talk to. Has all the girls hanging on each word- laughing at each joke like it’s ACTUALLY funny. I’d like to be the guy with the cleanest bike who wins all the big races… but I’m not. Not even close.

    And, I’m sure I would be absent from the Flickr photostream too… unless there’s a picture of “the dork with the broccoli stuck in his teeth”…

  37. Tim Jackson says:

    Thanks for that fantastic video- as a writer and poet myself, I now feel even more insignificant than I did when I woke up. Thanks…

    I grew up as the skinny kid none of the girls liked. I was always pining away, like the typical Pisces I am, and watching the world from the outside edges.

    This new online world has been a bit better at leveling the social playing field… a little. I often still look at rankings, stats, etc and wonder why I’m not on the A-List. dammit, I’m smart and my mom says I’d be a real catch.

    Competition and comparison is as common and long-standing as navel gazing is; it’s impossible to now wonder how we fit in on the big scale of comparisons. It is for me anyway. I’d like to be the guy at the party that everybody wants to talk to. Has all the girls hanging on each word- laughing at each joke like it’s ACTUALLY funny. I’d like to be the guy with the cleanest bike who wins all the big races… but I’m not. Not even close.

    And, I’m sure I would be absent from the Flickr photostream too… unless there’s a picture of “the dork with the broccoli stuck in his teeth”…

  38. You shared a lot here. I want to share a bit, too.

    When I go to events where I know the “big names” will be, I have a racing rush of these thoughts in my head:

    * They won’t remember me.
    * They don’t think I’m worthy.
    * They think I’m a hack.
    * They are so much more connected.
    * They won’t tell me where the cool parties are.
    * They think I’m an idiot.
    * I’m not nearly as popular.

    Steve Garfield is to be credited with part of how I learned to integrate with the big names. He said this to me at his kitchen table, “You know, people are just people. They might have different levels in different things than you, but it’s all the same.”

    He was dead on.

    I can tell you most of the fault lines of every one of the big names on the internet from meeting them. I’ve been surprised every time, because right behind every confident external view, there’s something that I discover that lets me know they’re just as unsure about SOMETHING.

    As for looks? I’ve simply never chosen to compete on my physical traits. Instead, I use charm to muscle my way past people’s impression of my looks. That way, I have a fighting chance.

    This is probably one of my top 5 favorite posts for 2008. Thanks for it, Ann. With love.

  39. You shared a lot here. I want to share a bit, too.

    When I go to events where I know the “big names” will be, I have a racing rush of these thoughts in my head:

    * They won’t remember me.
    * They don’t think I’m worthy.
    * They think I’m a hack.
    * They are so much more connected.
    * They won’t tell me where the cool parties are.
    * They think I’m an idiot.
    * I’m not nearly as popular.

    Steve Garfield is to be credited with part of how I learned to integrate with the big names. He said this to me at his kitchen table, “You know, people are just people. They might have different levels in different things than you, but it’s all the same.”

    He was dead on.

    I can tell you most of the fault lines of every one of the big names on the internet from meeting them. I’ve been surprised every time, because right behind every confident external view, there’s something that I discover that lets me know they’re just as unsure about SOMETHING.

    As for looks? I’ve simply never chosen to compete on my physical traits. Instead, I use charm to muscle my way past people’s impression of my looks. That way, I have a fighting chance.

    This is probably one of my top 5 favorite posts for 2008. Thanks for it, Ann. With love.

  40. Excellent blog, just saw it on twitter, well done

  41. Excellent blog, just saw it on twitter, well done

  42. Jim Sutton says:

    As always, your post is engaging. It makes me think of the Beatles lyrics – “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I’m sixty-four?” I guess that’s one thing about competing on-line, no one knows how old you are.

  43. Jim Sutton says:

    As always, your post is engaging. It makes me think of the Beatles lyrics – “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I’m sixty-four?” I guess that’s one thing about competing on-line, no one knows how old you are.

  44. NikNik says:

    Ann….where have you been all my life! Love your writing style and narcissitic wit! Found you on Twitter via Chris Brogan…..now I’m an instant fan!

    It’s not surprising that we can’t escape measuring ourselves against others….offline and online. After blogging now for 2 years, I constantly fight the feeling that I’m never doing enough online. And I don’t even blog for money…YET!

    But now my blog has reached a page rank of 6 and trying to keep the great content going while running a company during the day, caring for 2 kids, maintaining a household….gosh….and just when I think I can’t do much more I get invited to speak on a expert blogger panel this summer. I just know…

    (1) They know more than little old me.
    (2) They do this full time…as their day job….no fair!
    (3) They will say eveything I play to say BEFORE I can say it!
    (4) I will look like the biggest blogger retard!
    (5) They’re all going to laugh at me!

    Actually I feel much better now that I got that off my chest! :) You rock Ann!

  45. NikNik says:

    Ann….where have you been all my life! Love your writing style and narcissitic wit! Found you on Twitter via Chris Brogan…..now I’m an instant fan!

    It’s not surprising that we can’t escape measuring ourselves against others….offline and online. After blogging now for 2 years, I constantly fight the feeling that I’m never doing enough online. And I don’t even blog for money…YET!

    But now my blog has reached a page rank of 6 and trying to keep the great content going while running a company during the day, caring for 2 kids, maintaining a household….gosh….and just when I think I can’t do much more I get invited to speak on a expert blogger panel this summer. I just know…

    (1) They know more than little old me.
    (2) They do this full time…as their day job….no fair!
    (3) They will say eveything I play to say BEFORE I can say it!
    (4) I will look like the biggest blogger retard!
    (5) They’re all going to laugh at me!

    Actually I feel much better now that I got that off my chest! :) You rock Ann!

  46. Alyssa says:

    Just have to say that I love the poem.

    The Internet seems to be making the world into a series of really big small towns – each complete with its own gossips, bullies, elites, and outsiders.

  47. Alyssa says:

    Just have to say that I love the poem.

    The Internet seems to be making the world into a series of really big small towns – each complete with its own gossips, bullies, elites, and outsiders.

  48. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks for the comments, all… really appreciate the discussion here. Great stuff.

    NikNik: I particularly like #4 (above)! I well know that feeling…

    Chris: I remember reading a post on your blog that hit on some of those themes. It does help to remember that.. some days we can do so more easily than others, I’m guessing.

  49. Ann Handley says:

    Thanks for the comments, all… really appreciate the discussion here. Great stuff.

    NikNik: I particularly like #4 (above)! I well know that feeling…

    Chris: I remember reading a post on your blog that hit on some of those themes. It does help to remember that.. some days we can do so more easily than others, I’m guessing.

  50. Michael C says:

    I’m so glad Chris tweeted this post. Being fairly new to the blogging world I found myself frequently doing these comparisons and wondering what in the world I could do to become a big time blogger. It gets frustrating when you see ~10 hits a day and you know that it’s not even a speck of dust on the aft of the aircraft carrier of the blogosphere (ugh…did I actually use a buzzword?).

    It hit me the other day, though. The problem is it’s easier said than done. Don’t worry about it. I like to look and see my daily hits and what kind of stuff is bringing people in so I can do more of that…but I just don’t care if I get 5 hits or 5000 hits in a day. Which is good…because I’m lucky to get 30. ^_^

    Ann, this is a great post and it’s going in my list of “must reads” for anyone who spends any time on the tubes of the intarweebs.

  51. Michael C says:

    I’m so glad Chris tweeted this post. Being fairly new to the blogging world I found myself frequently doing these comparisons and wondering what in the world I could do to become a big time blogger. It gets frustrating when you see ~10 hits a day and you know that it’s not even a speck of dust on the aft of the aircraft carrier of the blogosphere (ugh…did I actually use a buzzword?).

    It hit me the other day, though. The problem is it’s easier said than done. Don’t worry about it. I like to look and see my daily hits and what kind of stuff is bringing people in so I can do more of that…but I just don’t care if I get 5 hits or 5000 hits in a day. Which is good…because I’m lucky to get 30. ^_^

    Ann, this is a great post and it’s going in my list of “must reads” for anyone who spends any time on the tubes of the intarweebs.

  52. Taper Wickel says:

    Thanks for saying something I needed to hear today.

    (And for the link to Mr Mali’s poem! I feel compelled to mention in connection Robert Bly’s poem, “The Resemblance Between Your Life and a Dog”: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2004/02/16 )

  53. Taper Wickel says:

    Thanks for saying something I needed to hear today.

    (And for the link to Mr Mali’s poem! I feel compelled to mention in connection Robert Bly’s poem, “The Resemblance Between Your Life and a Dog”: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2004/02/16 )

  54. Ann, this is truly great. Thanks. So many humans have this as a natural reaction. When I smell mine creeping up on me I whack it down as hard as I can with a big old stick. Written on the side of that stick? “Yeah, but NOBODY is more like me than I am.”

    Ultimately that is all we have to fall back on. Nobody can outdo that or take it away.

  55. Ann, this is truly great. Thanks. So many humans have this as a natural reaction. When I smell mine creeping up on me I whack it down as hard as I can with a big old stick. Written on the side of that stick? “Yeah, but NOBODY is more like me than I am.”

    Ultimately that is all we have to fall back on. Nobody can outdo that or take it away.

  56. Ann Handley says:

    That’s a wonderful poem, Taper. Thanks for posting the link. Love this:

    “I never intended to have this life, believe me—
    It just happened. You know how dogs turn up
    At a farm, and they wag but can’t explain. “

  57. Ann Handley says:

    That’s a wonderful poem, Taper. Thanks for posting the link. Love this:

    “I never intended to have this life, believe me—
    It just happened. You know how dogs turn up
    At a farm, and they wag but can’t explain. “

  58. Ann Handley says:

    Laura – I kind of like that imagery! Like a self-esteem “Whack-a-mole”!

  59. Ann Handley says:

    Laura – I kind of like that imagery! Like a self-esteem “Whack-a-mole”!

  60. Dusan Vrban says:

    Luckily I don’t find life to be a competition. :-)

    Yet I can understand your feelings. What I don’t like about the stuff you’re exposing is that it turns the complete society into wrong directions.

    People are just competing too much who will be the next “whatever guru”.

    And almost everything else is actualy outside this little village, called “internet societies”.

  61. Dusan Vrban says:

    Luckily I don’t find life to be a competition. :-)

    Yet I can understand your feelings. What I don’t like about the stuff you’re exposing is that it turns the complete society into wrong directions.

    People are just competing too much who will be the next “whatever guru”.

    And almost everything else is actualy outside this little village, called “internet societies”.

  62. Anonymous says:

    Nice, Ann,

    Poignant post & thoughtful replies. I love it when people get real. Allow me to share a couple of my favorite quotes:

    “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Suess

    And one more from little ol’ me:

    “It’s not what you do that determines who you are, it’s who you are that determines what you do.” Dave Webb

    Bottom line: be yourself. Isn’t that what the transparency and authenticity of the new media age is all about?

  63. Dave Webb says:

    Nice, Ann,

    Poignant post & thoughtful replies. I love it when people get real. Allow me to share a couple of my favorite quotes:

    “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Suess

    And one more from little ol’ me:

    “It’s not what you do that determines who you are, it’s who you are that determines what you do.” Dave Webb

    Bottom line: be yourself. Isn’t that what the transparency and authenticity of the new media age is all about?

  64. pprlisa says:

    Ann,

    It always amazes me when people that I think are well known think the same insecure things I do. When you DMed me to ask me to go to the BOS tweet up at the “Crab” and again when you stopped me at Gary V, I thought, holy s**t, does Ann actually know who I am? :)

    And I worry every time I send a tweet that noone will answer me!!

    Its actually kind of nice to hear you and Chris have these same thoughts – it makes you realize that we all do. But I always think that the internet has helped people with these issues feel more connected to people than they ever could otherwise, and gives everyone kind of second chance for a little popularity that they might not have had before.

    And, if it helps, I think you are pretty cool :)

    Hee – Lisa (@pprlisa)

  65. pprlisa says:

    Ann,

    It always amazes me when people that I think are well known think the same insecure things I do. When you DMed me to ask me to go to the BOS tweet up at the “Crab” and again when you stopped me at Gary V, I thought, holy s**t, does Ann actually know who I am? :)

    And I worry every time I send a tweet that noone will answer me!!

    Its actually kind of nice to hear you and Chris have these same thoughts – it makes you realize that we all do. But I always think that the internet has helped people with these issues feel more connected to people than they ever could otherwise, and gives everyone kind of second chance for a little popularity that they might not have had before.

    And, if it helps, I think you are pretty cool :)

    Hee – Lisa (@pprlisa)

  66. Oh, how easy it is to get pulled into “keeping up with the Joneses”! I am learning not to keep looking so often at all of those stats you mentioned, Ann, and I am feeling better for it.

    I am focusing on my readers, and I got a real lift yesterday! About a month ago, I posted on the WOW I get at my bank’s local branch, naming one of the tellers (first name only) and sharing how she is so focused on her customers. I saw her yesterday, and she printed out my blog post and took it to a job interview (with another branch of the same bank), saying “Look – they like my WOW!”

    That made my day. :)

  67. Oh, how easy it is to get pulled into “keeping up with the Joneses”! I am learning not to keep looking so often at all of those stats you mentioned, Ann, and I am feeling better for it.

    I am focusing on my readers, and I got a real lift yesterday! About a month ago, I posted on the WOW I get at my bank’s local branch, naming one of the tellers (first name only) and sharing how she is so focused on her customers. I saw her yesterday, and she printed out my blog post and took it to a job interview (with another branch of the same bank), saying “Look – they like my WOW!”

    That made my day. :)

  68. Ann Handley says:

    Pretty gratifying to know that most of us recognize a bit of ourselves here… thanks for that. Makes me feel like less of a weirdo, for sure…

    And Dave — that Seuss quote is one of my all-time favorites…and yours is pretty cool, too.

    Lisa — Shaking my head, and laughing out loud….. yes, both at once. Which is odd, but fitting!

  69. Ann Handley says:

    Pretty gratifying to know that most of us recognize a bit of ourselves here… thanks for that. Makes me feel like less of a weirdo, for sure…

    And Dave — that Seuss quote is one of my all-time favorites…and yours is pretty cool, too.

    Lisa — Shaking my head, and laughing out loud….. yes, both at once. Which is odd, but fitting!

  70. vered says:

    This is very timely for me. I’ve been consciously trying to STOP comparing myself to others. It’s such a huge waste of energy, isn’t it? I have to say though, it’s not just the internet: the concept of keeping up with the Joneses is a much older one.

  71. vered says:

    This is very timely for me. I’ve been consciously trying to STOP comparing myself to others. It’s such a huge waste of energy, isn’t it? I have to say though, it’s not just the internet: the concept of keeping up with the Joneses is a much older one.

  72. Michele says:

    I wish I could concern myself with how more or less popular I am than the other bloggers, but I’d have to actually have readers.

    I do always wonder, though, how does one person become more popular than others. What is it specifically about this blogger that gains more popularity than another.

    Is it more about how much time you invest in your on-line persona or is it more?

  73. Michele says:

    I wish I could concern myself with how more or less popular I am than the other bloggers, but I’d have to actually have readers.

    I do always wonder, though, how does one person become more popular than others. What is it specifically about this blogger that gains more popularity than another.

    Is it more about how much time you invest in your on-line persona or is it more?

  74. grace says:

    the video was highly amusing…and really cut through. thanks for putting it out there.

    i have to admit i am not a big internet person, but what i have come to discover is that this cyberspace place might be the worst in terms of creating, and feeding, narcissists. many bloggers lack true humility and while i guess it should be annoying, the whole thing is highly amusing…the situation and my reaction to it as well. i am not above reproach here.

    i find bloggers, but not all, are out there name dropping, touting their “expertise”, and regarding themselves as far more important than they potentially really are. of course this comes from someone who does not have a blog and probably would not have a great following if she did…so what do i really know.

    the irony is not lost on me…here i am reading and following various blogs. i am drawn to the blogs just as all base level humans are drawn to slow down on the highway and stare with their mouths hanging open at an accident or a driver pulled over getting a ticket. go figure!!

    i found michele’s point well made. sometimes in reading and following bloggers i am reminded of high school or, worse, middle school…how is the hierarchy managed?

    but i will be back, reading the next post…drawn to the whole thing like a moth to the flame.

  75. grace says:

    the video was highly amusing…and really cut through. thanks for putting it out there.

    i have to admit i am not a big internet person, but what i have come to discover is that this cyberspace place might be the worst in terms of creating, and feeding, narcissists. many bloggers lack true humility and while i guess it should be annoying, the whole thing is highly amusing…the situation and my reaction to it as well. i am not above reproach here.

    i find bloggers, but not all, are out there name dropping, touting their “expertise”, and regarding themselves as far more important than they potentially really are. of course this comes from someone who does not have a blog and probably would not have a great following if she did…so what do i really know.

    the irony is not lost on me…here i am reading and following various blogs. i am drawn to the blogs just as all base level humans are drawn to slow down on the highway and stare with their mouths hanging open at an accident or a driver pulled over getting a ticket. go figure!!

    i found michele’s point well made. sometimes in reading and following bloggers i am reminded of high school or, worse, middle school…how is the hierarchy managed?

    but i will be back, reading the next post…drawn to the whole thing like a moth to the flame.

  76. Yup, everyone else is better. The race has no end. Wait…what race. Who made the measuring stick?
    Let’s seriously break it…now.
    This online marketing, promotion, connecting thing can be seriously damn tiring…
    paramount is: Peace of mind, real relationships, return (happiness, revenue), and a bit of humor.

  77. Yup, everyone else is better. The race has no end. Wait…what race. Who made the measuring stick?
    Let’s seriously break it…now.
    This online marketing, promotion, connecting thing can be seriously damn tiring…
    paramount is: Peace of mind, real relationships, return (happiness, revenue), and a bit of humor.

  78. When you die, at least according to Buddhist lore, the outside world goes away, and the inside voice is the last to depart.

    Thus, the last words you’re likely to hear are your own. Be happy with yourself, because when you reach that point, no one else matters.

  79. When you die, at least according to Buddhist lore, the outside world goes away, and the inside voice is the last to depart.

    Thus, the last words you’re likely to hear are your own. Be happy with yourself, because when you reach that point, no one else matters.

  80. Lisa Mac says:

    Brilliant.

    That’s all I have to say because everyone else’s comments were smarter, more eloquent, more insightful and just plain prettier than anything I could have said.

    Now I am going to check MySpace and Facebook to see if anyone new has friended me since I last checked 15 minutes ago!

    oxox

  81. Lisa Mac says:

    Brilliant.

    That’s all I have to say because everyone else’s comments were smarter, more eloquent, more insightful and just plain prettier than anything I could have said.

    Now I am going to check MySpace and Facebook to see if anyone new has friended me since I last checked 15 minutes ago!

    oxox

  82. Julie says:

    Loved the post Ann and the video was hilarious. I belong to nothing on the internet and your blog is pretty much the only one I read, so I think my hit should have more weight! Do they rank hits? After reading all the comments, I suspect one of the reasons I’m not internet connected is that it would confirm through hard numbers my lack of popularity. Do you ever play the game of “If my life were to be made into a movie, who would play me on the big screen?” I’m guessing Tina Fey (mine would be Miss Piggy).

  83. Julie says:

    Loved the post Ann and the video was hilarious. I belong to nothing on the internet and your blog is pretty much the only one I read, so I think my hit should have more weight! Do they rank hits? After reading all the comments, I suspect one of the reasons I’m not internet connected is that it would confirm through hard numbers my lack of popularity. Do you ever play the game of “If my life were to be made into a movie, who would play me on the big screen?” I’m guessing Tina Fey (mine would be Miss Piggy).

  84. Pingback: » When you are prone to measuring yourself against others, like I am,… Another Found Self: What The World Is Saying About Another Found Self

  85. Amy says:

    Sometimes I feel like the internet is high school all over again…just that the mean girls are a little bit smarter :) Loved this post!

  86. Amy says:

    Sometimes I feel like the internet is high school all over again…just that the mean girls are a little bit smarter :) Loved this post!

  87. Ann, OK, glad it’s not just me. :) Don’t we all feel this way every now and then (usually before we walk into a meeting with a prospective client)? It’s not just measuring up to others — more often it’s measuring up to our internal images of ourselves. I suspect many of us reading/following/sharing here are marketers. We tend to think a lot (cough -to much-cough) about perception and image. The (not so) simple act of standing up to say these things proves they can’t actually defeat you.
    Thanks!
    ahg3

  88. Ann, OK, glad it’s not just me. :) Don’t we all feel this way every now and then (usually before we walk into a meeting with a prospective client)? It’s not just measuring up to others — more often it’s measuring up to our internal images of ourselves. I suspect many of us reading/following/sharing here are marketers. We tend to think a lot (cough -to much-cough) about perception and image. The (not so) simple act of standing up to say these things proves they can’t actually defeat you.
    Thanks!
    ahg3

  89. Pingback: Online Insecurity at Goatless

  90. Toby says:

    Ann – and just when I am sure that everyone IS smarter, better-looking, taller, cooler, cuter, has newer and shinier objects than I do .. along comes an annarchy post that reminds me to breath. reminds me to laugh. reminds me that in an imperfect world we ALL are perfect. thank you once again.

  91. Toby says:

    Ann – and just when I am sure that everyone IS smarter, better-looking, taller, cooler, cuter, has newer and shinier objects than I do .. along comes an annarchy post that reminds me to breath. reminds me to laugh. reminds me that in an imperfect world we ALL are perfect. thank you once again.

  92. Gavin Heaton says:

    So, I keep referring people to this post, Ann as it is a great story about overcoming (or at least sharing) our self doubts with others.
    Of course the most impressive people are the bravest … and not many choose to be as honest as you are here ;)

  93. Gavin Heaton says:

    So, I keep referring people to this post, Ann as it is a great story about overcoming (or at least sharing) our self doubts with others.
    Of course the most impressive people are the bravest … and not many choose to be as honest as you are here ;)

  94. Pingback: Relax and Open Wide: Dentist vs. Doctor

  95. Lori says:

    This is a hoot, Ann! Thank you for supplying me with the link. I’m always glad to meet another kindred spirit!

  96. Lori says:

    This is a hoot, Ann! Thank you for supplying me with the link. I’m always glad to meet another kindred spirit!

  97. After I started “speaking my mind and writing like Ann” – I get a lot more credits for how “good” my blogging is.

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