I've kept that attitude over the years, even while watching braggarts with fewer brains than me get ahead, hearing demands for respect from quarters where none is due, and feeling superior to some who get accolades simply because they're noisier. I still think it's a virtue to do well, but quietly.
And now there's this brave new world of Facebook, blogging, so-called reality shows and self-branding. "Blow your own horn," they say. If you're good at something, tell the world.
So I'm not sure if "uncomfortable" is a strong enough word for where I am. As the publication of Fish-Eye Lens comes closer, I'm told that I'll need to help market the book aggressively; that's why I created this website for myself. Katie, my publicist, also recommended blogging weekly and promoting the blog on Facebook. I understand. This is the reality of marketing, right?
Yet when I see others doing this exact thing, the eighth-grader in my head says, "How conceited!" And I don't want people to be saying that about me. Then I go back to the other side: I wouldn't know what those people have accomplished unless they told me, and in many cases I'm glad to hear about friends' successes.
So I asked some younger friends about it. "Is obnoxious the new black?" I asked. Jessica cracked back, "Peach is the new blog," and went on to tell me that some degree of self-promotion is perfectly acceptable these days.
I remain conflicted, and my own FB habits show it. When someone posts too many "Lookee me!" messages, I turn off. But when Paul Baker recently posted a modest, "I made a blog," I went right to it.
I wonder if others are doing the same, or if the bells and whistles work. Any comments?