Empathy and Authenticity


My New Years resolution is to be authentic.

Obviously this is easier said than done if it needs to be a “resolution”. As I venture into video blogging, a rush of emotions overtakes me when I watch and hear myself on the computer screen. I cringe at my double chin, my tired aged look, and my tremendous ability to botch the English language.

What else am I supposed to do? That guy has something that he wants to say. That guy spent many years trying to understand a discovery that he made and he feels strongly enough about it to share it with others. That guy is talking about it and who am I to stop him.

I wish I were more eloquent, I wish the camera were more “slimming” and I wish that I were smarter like all the other Social Media celebrities that I read of. I hope all my Face book friends don’t think that I am a babbling idiot. I hope my family does not think that I am reflecting badly on them.

But Social Media is a strange beast – I have so little control over where a communication goes, how it is interpreted, and who gets to read it after I have posted it. I even lost control over my video producer and his creative staff (my two awesome kid brothers). I try to tell them to make the videos serious and dignified but they insist that “Flames” and “Heavy Metal” theme music are much better.

That coupled with an economy on the edge, a divided country, and a long list of “unknowns – and I have no control over anything except the “publish” button. Yes, I still control the publish button – and publish I shall.

One ancient girlfriend calls me a blowhard in the comments, headhunters run for cover, employers won’t hire an old “radical” like me, I tend to attract RNC stalkers, and other friends just shrug their shoulders at the inability to find the right category for me in their logically parsed world view.

But then I get people out of nowhere who just blow me away with their generosity. They call the Ingenesist Project “Pure Genius” and tell me that I articulate the ideas “splendidly”. Obviously they are talking about someone else.

Visionaries come out of the woodwork to adopt my in their own work; some provide material support and others provide me with knowledge on how to navigate the social media environment better. Others provide me with connections to smart and influential people. This is becoming a multiple-daily occurrence – that, again, I have no control over.

As Chris Brogan says in his book Trust Agents, “People have very sophisticated bullshit filters”. This is as true for my stalkers and my supporters as it is for myself. Bullshit is in the eyes of the beholder. So when I review my blog article or I watch my latest video, I need to confront the idea that I could be bullshitting myself. I control the publish button – that is the moment of truth.

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