Keys to Being Social: Humility by Bridget Willard

Keys to Being Social: Humility

As an independent musician, I found out early on that if you don’t promote your music, no one will. In fact, Myspace was my gateway drug into this social media madness to promote my freshman CD. Yet, I find that it’s difficult for me to switch off the self-promoting carnival barker side of my personality and demonstrate humility. I’m not above admitting that.

Humility is a form of generosity. Humility allows us to learn. Humility gives our ego permission to fail. Humility makes us teachable.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle

If there’s anything true about social media, it’s that the only constant is change. Platforms come and go (I deleted Myspace years ago) and trends evolve and so do best practices (#FF is passé, the retweet button is anti-social, etc).

In order to keep up-to-date, you have to be able to entertain ideas. This is one of the reasons why I admire Gary Vaynerchuk. He went all in with Vine even when people thought it was lame and started using Snapchat even though it was thought of as a teenager sexting platform. In a phrase, he’s a risk-taker.

“I’m not scared if I’m wrong, because the alternative is scarier to me,” he said. “Better businesses than ours have lost by not innovating.” Gary Vaynerchuk

Kendra, Bridget, and Carol 9/26/13
Kendra, Bridget, and Carol 9/26/13

There are two people who come to mind, both of whom I know well enough online and off, to say exhibit humility in both dimensions of life.

Carol Stephen. Without a doubt Carol is generous on Twitter and the Queen of all things Pinterest. That said, her blogging is phenomenal both in content, delivery, and style. While I’ve been bragging that I’ve been featured on Yahoo Small Business a few times, Carol’s posts have been picked up by Yahoo quite frequently. I felt like a boob just doing a cursory Google search. And what blows me away is that though I’m bragging about my small accomplishment, she never says a word about herself. Instead, she congratulates me and allows me to enjoy the moment. That’s humility.

Kendra Hubbard. I know that she rocks Twitter for #SolarChat, that’s obvious. But it took two years of knowing her and a road trip before I found out that she designed and marketed the Ecoasis line of reflective roof shingles when she worked for Malarkey Roofing. Wow. She’s a marketing genius whose passion for sustainability will convert even the most cynical.

People are put in your life for a reason. Though you may disagree on philosophy, it is a complete waste to ignore what you can learn from others. These two women have demonstrated a generosity of spirit and true humility, not in pretense but in actuality.

Truthfully, humility is a characteristic I’m humble enough to admit I haven’t mastered.

Who is in your life? Have you seen humility on social media? How does humility change your social media strategy and tactics? Do you think you should alter your online behavior?

Feel free to disagree in the comments below.

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