I am still “Facebook friends” with several hundred people I went to high school with, though most have only ever been little more than acquaintances of mine. Most of these ‘friends’ post the usual photos, statuses, and relationship changes that are of zero to little interest to me, but I have one Facebook friend whose updates had actually always tended to irritate me. You see, this person, who we’ll call Kendall, is a self-promoter.
Kendall is a 22 year-old girl (more appropriately, young woman) finishing up her final year of undergraduate study as a communications and fashion merchandising double major at a prestigious university. She operates a style blog that she created in January 2013, on which she posts photos and descriptions of her daily outfits, promotions, and giveaways for her readers; and style updates regarding trending articles of clothing and accessories; among other things. In addition to maintaining her blog, she professionally manages both a personal account and an account for her blog on each of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
For the first year or so that I had liked Kendall’s blog on Facebook and followed her range of accounts on Twitter and Instagram, I had always viewed her carpet-bombing of posts with a tinge of disdain. Though I understood that I was viewing her updates by virtue of the fact that I had chosen to like and follow her pages, I still felt that I was entitled to some level of judgment. I consider myself to be a fairly modest person, so her profession of unsolicited style advice, her regular requests to ‘like and share!’ a particular post, and the resulting implication that her fashion knowledge was superior to yours and thus worth your reading rubbed me the wrong way. I felt that liking and following her pages per her requests was the kind thing to do, simply as a former classmate, but I was nevertheless judgmental of the way in which she was going about her particular endeavor.
Then — and I honestly cannot for the life of me remember what caused it exactly — my opinion of Kendall took a complete 180. Here is a driven young woman with a dream. I don’t know what this dream entails exactly, but I can say with confidence that she is currently doing everything in her damn power towards achieving that dream. And that is fucking admirable.
I do not see myself ever being too comfortable with self-promotion, as I am the type of person who often feels embarrassed at a simple compliment, but that’s okay. I predict my career path will require little public self-promotion, if any at all. But for many, self-promotion is in fact the number one thing you can do to advance your career. Kendall impressively figured this out during her junior year of college and thus has been working diligently ever since to build her personal brand, and with a fair amount of success. Her blog’s Facebook page has nearly one thousand likes, and its Instagram has nearly two thousand followers. She is also a style expert at College Fashionista and the PR Director of her school’s fashion magazine, and her style blog has been featured online by several major fashion magazines.
I believe that I initially misattributed Kendall’s self-promotion as a form of the humble/outright bragging that is sadly typical on Facebook, like the ‘Accepted into Stanford!! 5 out of 5 so far!’-esque statuses that we all had to endure senior year of high school. But after further reflection, I have realized that self-promotion is not only time-consuming, arduous, stressful, and often uncomfortable work, but it is also potentially the most important step one can take towards building a career. In light of this, I have come to have the utmost respect for people like Kendall who so fervently chase their dreams, day in and day out. The fact that doing so is of a public nature is completely irrelevant. If you have ever looked down upon a self-promoter as I once did, then, I hope that you reevaluate your assessment of said individual, as he/she may in fact be someone you might want to admire.