We who traverse the various social media watering holes walk a fine line. It is that delicate and fine line between boasting and sharing. On the one hand, we have things going on in our lives for which we feel genuinely blessed. Not only that, but we also want to serve as sources of encouragement and motivation to our peers. But on the other hand, the “I’m so honored” statements intended to share our joy and spread some cheer, can come dangerously close to sounding like a pat on our own back. We say “I’m so humbled”, but to everyone else it might just sound boastful. Are we humble leaders or proud as peacocks?
Let’s be honest. It is fun to tell others about the things we have accomplished and the awards we have received. Maybe it is a new certification, a project well-done, a promotion, a challenge we overcame, or simply some small appreciation expressed for our work. All of this can be very innocent, unpretentious, and sincere. There is nothing wrong, per se, with a little public reflection on blessings received. We’re just being honest, right?
But when does it go to far? When does that “I’m so humbled to be recognized” statement actually come off as “look at me, aren’t I wonderful?” When does the “I’m so grateful for such and such” actually sound more like bravado in disguise? Boastfulness is not a virtue, and pride comes before a fall. How can we prevent our online announcements from creating the impression we have gotten too big for our own britches? Or as I’m told the English may say “He thinks he’s big, but a wee coat fits him.”
Let me dare to offer a little advice. If you want to avoid the reputation of being someone who thinks the “sun comes up just to hear him crow” give some thought to what I’m about to say.
First, when sharing online, spend more time giving away value than talking about yourself, your work, and your team. Make sure the majority of your posts or pics have nothing to do with you personally. It’s a big world out there. Talk about it. Share the work that others have done. Shine your light beyond the narrow circle of your own existence. Just take yourself out of the equation more often, and focus on what you can give away.
Second, watch the selfies. Yes, you look amazing. But frankly we all know that. And while all your friends and family do appreciate seeing your picture from time to time, if every post has you in it, it might be a bit much. You and I might be dancing a bit too close to that fine line between simple sharing and gasconading.
Finally, celebrate others. Look around your online community to find things to cheer about in the work, lives, relationships, and experiences of someone else.
I would conclude this article by suggesting that maybe the very best way to avoid boastfulness online is to consciously give glory to God. When our lives are oriented to maximize his praise, we will find precious little time left to talk about ourselves, except maybe in the context of how much mercy we have received. And I, for one, need all the mercy I can get.
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Last modified: July 22, 2023