Falsifying Words
by Alex Shippee in Labels: , , , ,

If you thumb through Twitter profiles long enough, you'd be amazed how many people identify themselves as, "Internet Marketing Gurus," "Best Selling Authors," and "Social Media Experts." I don't doubt that most of these are true from a certain perspective, but as Ryan Holiday wrote, "There are hundreds of these hollow shells whose meaning has fallen away while the demand for their association has risen dramatically. We need them badly."

One of my favorite books is Dante's "Inferno", for a lot of reasons. After Dante-the-Character treks all the way past the greedy, the thieves, the angry, and the tyrants, he reaches the single most corrupting thing you can do short of actively betraying someone: falsifying words. Diluting the truth. Lying. How can that possibly be worse than stealing or being violent?

Because the communities we all live in depend on bonds of credibility and trust. When somebody gets angry and shouts at you, you react to the aggressive disturbance immediately. You know what hit you and you can identify it, respond to it, and then move on.

But when somebody puts on a charming front, ensnaring your trust, it can take a lot of stress and heartache before you see reality. Lifeless weeks can drag on while you wonder where the time has gone.

I don't know why it bothers me so much. Maybe it's because I've been struggling to meet my own standards for so long. Friends of mine - who are better writers than I am - tell me about things they've submitted to various publications. Sometimes they've been accepted, sometimes not. All I know is is that I don't have anything that's up to their level yet. And that's fine. I'm in no rush to become a "published writer" because I know the mere act of publishing something doesn't make you a professional at it.

By the same token, anointing yourself as an "Internet Marketing Guru" doesn't make it so. It falsely broadcasts a level of expertise you don't have. If people don't see you as a fraud yet, they will when they realize you can't deliver results.

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