From childhood, parents and teachers teach their children and pupils that bragging, and gloating is unacceptable behaviour that inspired dislike in others. “Pride comes before a fall”, they warn, instilling that we’d better not be smug, or we can look forward to a life of setbacks and failure. The story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” contains a terrifying message… brag and everyone will see you naked.
Remember, marketing is not bragging. When it comes to your job, you must tout your skills to earn a living! You’re the business! But you must get the balance right. We admire people who are self-deprecating. Compare what people say about the brilliant Stephen Hawking, who days that “People who boast about their I.Q are losers.”, and blowhard extraordinaire Donald J. Trump, who never misses an opportunity to boat, describing himself not only as a ‘genius’ but also as a ‘very stable genius’. “I know words. I have the best words”, he has said. He might do well to heed the words of the Chinese proverb, “It’s as difficult to be rich without bragging as it is to be poor without complaining.”
The posts we publish on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are clearly a form of bragging. Don’t tell me that you aren’t showing off when you share pictures of yourself looking ravishing, or in an exotic location. Don’t you feel just a tiny bit self-satisfied when you imagine your friends seeing you check into Bangkok airport on a Monday morning in November?
I plead guilty to posting this type of braggadocio stuff, to checking into airports, hotels, and posh restaurants, to sharing photos of every haircut, every manicure, every exotic cocktail, and weekend away, giving a picture of a privileged lifestyle. Note, I don’t post pictures of myself cleaning the shower screen or picking up dog pooh. In my defence, my friends encourage me to do it. “We travel vicariously through you”, they said, but I know that if it was me who couldn’t travel, I wouldn’t like having my nose rubbed in it. Better late than never, I have stopped my social media oversharing by suspending my profiles. It’s been a month or so and not needing to share everything that I do, think, eat and watch is surprisingly liberating.
If you don’t want to go cold turkey, there are ways to avoid being obnoxious whilst still posting and sharing, such as, for example, ‘liking’ your friends’ posts, and leaving nice comments. You can also avoid posting comments that you know will rile your friends, like, “I bet you wish you were here, losers!”