I was in Bangkok all weekend and was reminded of how much that city thrives on image. It’s really the same as the blogging world. Image is everything. In Bangkok, there are two types of people: there are those who have got it and there are those who act like they’ve got it. It’s not even about money – it’s about the image of wealth. If you’re a blogger who isn’t making stacks of cash yet, there is something to be learned from those Bangkokians who act like they’ve got it.
In Bangkok, it’s incredibly easy to present yourself as if you are a member of the high society, the elite. Fake designer labels can be picked up dirt cheap; there are numerous social gatherings with loose security you can show your face at; and people spend all of their money on expensive cars, phones and other such status symbols.
Even if they can barely afford to feed themselves, people in Bangkok spend obscene amounts of money on items that people will see and associate with wealth. It’s a fickle world, but when you think about it, as bloggers, we can do the same thing.
Instead of phones and cars, bloggers flaunt blog posts to show off their success. Just as wealth is perceived as good in Bangkok, so success is perceived as good in the blogosphere. This success usually comes down to how much money a blogger makes, but it can also be attributed to readers, RSS subscribers or just the ability to share useful information.
Image is everything
If you can pull it off like those people in Bangkok, convincing the online world that you are a success, then you give people a reason to read your blog. When I see a hot girl all wrapped up in designer threads with expensive-looking jewelry, I don’t think to question her status because she has an image. It’s the same with bloggers. Unless their claims are ludicrous, you don’t think to question their success.
You can often get away with presenting yourself in a favorable light because the vast majority of readers will not be keen on doing detective work to uncover the truth behind your image. The problem comes when you get so wrapped up in creating your image that you lose sight of what you’re doing. It’s like the people in Bangkok who spend their whole lives faking it: they stop putting time into actually making it.
Make the myth a reality
Sure, I could sit here every day and tell you I make $5,000 a month. I could convince you I’m an Internet guru, and if people started believing me then that would be half the job done. But to get the other half done – to actually make $5,000 a month – that’s the real challenge. What good does it do you to convince the world you’re rich if you don’t even have enough money to pay for your hosting?
I love Bangkok, but sometimes the fakeness of the city bores me. Being back in the big city, however, reminded me how easy it is to be held in high esteem by faking it. If your blog sucks and you have no readers, you don’t have to tell everyone that. Tell your readers you are the best, that they should read your blog – believe what you write and make it come true. Nobody wants to read a blogger who doesn’t believe in himself.