Do We Talk About Ourselves Too Much?

“Just was gifted some amazing Jimmy Choos!”

“Lounging in Greece by the pool, the weather is fantastic — and so is the food”

“My blog just reached over 10,000 followers!”

…You know those status updates.

In an age where a Facebook status, a Twitter update, an Instagram photo, a Foursquare check-in, and a blog update can all happen with the click of a button, talking about ourselves is simpler than ever.

But does that simplicity promote over usage? And really — do we talk about ourselves too much?

In an article recently posted on the Wall Street Journal called “Are We All Braggarts Now?,” the author dissects how, in this digital age, humbleness is thrown out the window — and, for the most part, we don't even realize it.

With advances in the Internet, and more specifically social media, bragging is now self-marketing, self-branding tool, and it's even more accessible (from our computers, tablets, smart phones).

The author points out that the art of bragging has gone beyond social media, infiltrating our television sets with reality TV, and blames the heavy dip in the economy in part, since we as a society now have to demonstrate what is attractive about us in many different facets.

But isn't bragging a turnoff? So, why do we do it? Because we can, because it's easy, and because people will listen.

The article also notes, “…talking about ourselves feels good. According to the results of a series of experiments conducted by Harvard University neuroscientists and published in May in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the reward areas of our brain—the same areas that respond to ‘primary rewards' such as food and sex—are activated when we talk about ourselves. We devote between 30% and 40% of our conversation time to doing just that, according to the study, which didn't focus on boasting specifically, but on self-disclosure.”

“It's become a phenomenon where if someone posts a status update and 500 people see it and no one objects, it must be true,” said Jennifer Mirsky, 45, a digital content strategist in New York the WSJ.

As fashion bloggers, we pose and take photos of ourselves in outfits to make a living, are we the ultimate braggarts?

According to the article, maybe yes and maybe no. Bragging involves excessive pride and comparison, whether it is blatant or implied.

Do you think we talk about ourselves too much in this digital age?

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

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22 Responses

  1. Mels

    I think that sometimes we can Bragging, but i can say that the problem not is about the bloggers, the problem is most of the time on facebook, or on twitter the people all the time write about what are they doing, like a spam or something, is so stressful.
    Love that article.
    Xoxo, Mels

    Ps: Sorry if my english is not good $:

    Reply
  2. Mels

    I think that sometimes we can Bragging, but i can say that the problem not is about the bloggers, the problem is most of the time on facebook, or on twitter the people all the time write about what are they doing, like a spam or something, is so stressful

    Love that article.

    Xoxo, Mels

    Reply
  3. moiminnie

    I guess you could call it bragging in a way, but I don’t think the self promotion can be generalized. Not all of us are shamelessly tweeting/updating/instagraming all day long. There’s a fine line between self promotion and spamming the hell out. And I see a lot of bloggers can’t tell that they crossed it. As much as it could be useful, it can also be a big turn off for your potential or current readers. Not so rarely I unfollow/unlike people who post and tweet all day long about what they ate and what they purchased and their links. Be moderate, that’s always the best policy. http://www.moiminnie.blogspot.com
    xx

    Reply
  4. lisa

    Some of the bragging is so enmeshed in promoting other companies, brands, and interests that it becomes hard to determine what’s bragging and what’s just promotion. For example, the Jimmy Choo quote above isn’t just bragging, it’s acknowledging a gift from a publicist who wants exposure for their client.

    Also, I suspect most bloggers fear they’ll be missing out if they don’t self-promote. For example, I once read somewhere that it’s good practice to retweet positive comments or responses aimed at you so that other people can see your work is praised and respected. What if you feel like that’s excessive self-promotion? Does that mean that fewer people can see how great you are and how much influence you have?

    That being said, one of my big pet peeves is if someone tweets the same link to the same blog post multiple times a day. I’ve actually unfollowed people who did that in the past.

    Reply
    • Ashe @ Ash in Fashion

      “That being said, one of my big pet peeves is if someone tweets the same link to the same blog post multiple times a day.”

      Mwap. Guilty (on occasion, to be fair). Though, that being said– if/when I do it, I always try to make it at least several hours apart, and never back to back (because THAT annoys me– when you see their twitter stream and it’s NOTHING but a link to the same post over & over).

      “For example, I once read somewhere that it’s good practice to retweet positive comments or responses aimed at you so that other people can see your work is praised and respected. What if you feel like that’s excessive self-promotion? ”
      Similarly, I have never done this! Probably because I kind of suck at self-promotion, and it makes me feel really uncomfortable. If anything, I’d probably be more inclined to share what OTHERS were saying on a post–whether good or bad, so long as it’s insightful–rather than their positive feedback towards me. I wonder if/how it works. I see other bloggers retweet positive tweets, shared love, etc…. and it doesn’t bother me to see it if it’s on occasion…

      Reply
    • the sparkle (@erincg)

      i actually think it’s common sense to tweet about a blog post a few times… with different time zones etc. it ensures no one will miss seeing it. that being said, it must be done in an appropriate manner.

      Reply
  5. Rachel

    Can you follow this post up with a post on how to give more back to our readers via social media?

    Reply
  6. Ais

    I think some people, like myself, blog as a hobby, and use it as a journal of sorts. What do folks usually talk about in their journal? Themselves. Granted, some people are bound to overdo it by tweeting or linking every single thing they do/say/eat or by linking the same blog post 10+ times a day, but no one is forcing us to continue following them; and if you click the link and it takes you to the same place you’ve already been, no biggie. It’s not like you have to re-read it, and loading a webpage shouldn’t take so long that it’s a big inconvenience, time-wise.
    Just my two cents.

    Reply
  7. Rochelle

    I agree with the blog a lot of bloggers i’ve been put off of have bragged like it says… “Just was gifted some amazing Jimmy Choos!”

    “Lounging in Greece by the pool, the weather is fantastic — and so is the food”

    “My blog just reached over 10,000 followers!”

    And its quite off putting, i had to unfollow blogs who continuously bragged. I am quite shy and personal so i was thinking why am i blogging if i dont want to brag and take 1000 narcisstic pics. I guess for some its just the convention.

    Reply
  8. Gabby

    I think that at some point, people start to get excited with the.. “benefits” of blogging, that in some way we publish it, even to our personal accounts. I’ve mentioned my follower count, or the collaborations I’m working with, or the press I’ve got. But that’s it. I just mention and I usually don’t give many details about it. I think it depends on the intentions. Many mention it because they’re “excited”, others to brag, and others… they’re in between.

    Reply
  9. Michelle Christina

    When I think about who I respond to/follow on social media, it’s usually those posting updates that are motivating, inspiring, or visually exciting. I don’t care about new shoes or dream vacations as much as I care about a brilliant idea or a resource — but it’s also fun to see what people are up to, what they’re buying etc.

    I think of it more as bragging to high school friends about the new shoes you got — except the entire internet (or blogosphere) is high school and your friends are…in the thousands.

    Also, for some bloggers it feels natural, because they -are- their own brand. When that’s the case, it’s more marketing than bragging.

    Reply
  10. Kathleen Lisson

    I try to think “How is this bringing value to my readers?” Outfit posts, reviews and sharing information and tips can be useful and inspiring.

    Reply
  11. Kristian

    Certainly it can be argued that there is an aspect of narcism in style/fashion blogging, and that could lead to bragging. But there are several differences in these types of blogging vs. people’s usage of social media in general.

    As was already above, sometimes the “bragging” is also a way to promote a sponsor or co-worker (as the Jimmy Choo shoe example was). Secondly, bloggers are the products. They are selling themselves and their self image/personality/persona. Some of this comes from telling people about their day, their observations etc. Magazines and companies do some of the things bloggers do. Celebreties do some of the things bloggers do. In a weird way bloggers are a mesh of these two things because they are businesses but also people who’s image/persona makes them money.

    Still, always a good idea to check in and make sure you give value to your followers, and not only throw in some humbleness, but more crucially perhaps highlight other people’s hard work and projects etc your followers might find interesting.

    Reply
  12. Emily

    This is a fantastic post. Certainly brings up a lot of questions! Thanks, hope to read more of your stuff in the future!

    Reply
  13. Rebekah Nicole

    I agree completely I hate those bloggers who talk about all of those little insignificant things. I want a good hearty post not your shopping list.

    Reply
  14. Miloveda

    There is a fine line in the blogging world. If a blogger gets gifted with something and tells her reads I don’t see it as bragging because they have worked for years to build their brand and company’s see that, they have paid their do’s. At the sometime you shouldn’t rub it in anyone’s face, don’t become a show off. It also depends on who you are too, You can be gifted something and also be very thankful for it like my mom always told me be humble.

    Reply
  15. Henri Coleman

    This article is very timely for me. I have been following a few bloggers on FB and it is beginning to annoy me to see some of their constant posts about every single thing that bothers them in their work and life in general…just the routine things that we all must deal with. I understand that I can just stop reading their posts and ultimately I will probably delete them.
    I think it is a fine line to try and promote yourself, your material, and not come off as being a completely self absorbed braggart. I know it is possible to remain classy, interesting, and humble… it can be done because there are some great bloggers out there who manage to do it beautifully.
    Thanks for giving us a little room for thinking about who we spend our time with online.
    Henri Coleman

    Reply
  16. Gabrielle

    Been thinking about this so very very much lately.

    I don’t think it feels good to brag. I feel tired and stretched thin and dirty and self-indulgent.

    I wish there were a way to insta-success, where you no longer had to self promote but to simply do what you loved. Sadly, doing what you love often means bragging about how great you are at doing what you love, which then makes you not so in love with what you do.

    #catch22

    Reply
  17. Duru Beauty

    I definitely agree that we talk about ourselves too much… But that’s what comes to mind when we hear “social networking.” Status updates are supposed to be “what are you doing now” or “share what’s on your mind.” Wrong? Ethics and the immensity of our want to write something as our statuses just for the heck of it answers that question, but I agree that we have indeed become “braggarts.”

    Reply
  18. Chaucee from Streets and Stripes

    This is the part about personal style blogging that has always made me uncomfortable. For a while I even stopped sharing photos of full outfits, or at the very least I would only share one (mayyyyybe two) photos of an outfit in one post. It was incredibly uncomfortable.

    Reply