On Being Authentic

Ten months ago, I opened this blog for my then-new website with a post, Finding My Voice. Since then, I’ve written nearly every week, aiming for (but not always hitting) a Monday morning publication target.

I’ve covered a lot of topics, from best practices for creating web content to my thought process behind website makeovers, from how to overcome creative roadblocks to my own experience as a cub reporter overcoming severe deadline pressure. As I’ve written more, I’ve injected more personal experience and reflections into my posts.

But even as I’ve explored the territory of current issues in online marketing, I’m not satisfied. There is so much information competing for your attention, Dear Reader. What sets this or any blog apart from the—I just checked Wikipedia, for lack of a better reference—156 million-plus blogs (as of last February) is authenticity. Being unique. Being yourself.

Striving for Artistic Honesty
And this is the envelope I need to push. I confess this, because if you are serious about setting yourself apart online, whether it’s to promote your excellent business or simply to connect with other human beings of like mind around the globe, you need, I need, to be authentic.

And what I care about most in my writing, whether for marketing or in the other forms of storytelling that I strive to perfect, is artistic honesty.

In an essay reflecting on how he conceived his wonderfully complex, shocking, wry, poignant novel Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov wrote:

“For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm.”

Can writing for the Internet be art? What does that mean? Can we push beyond the boundaries of successful but formulaic recipes for websites and blogs to create content (in all media, not limited to text) that is truly unique, compelling, curious and tender? Is there something crass about combining the words “Internet marketing” and “art”? Or is it the next level of best practice for setting yourself apart and connecting with those you need to connect with?

So these are the questions I hope to wrestle with during the coming year. I may stray from the high-minded to the practical, but if I do so, I hope to do it with artistry.

As I ended my very first blog post, you’ll be the judge whether I succeed—and whether it matters.

 

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