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Why I Don't Want to Be Chris Brogan

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Man, I wish I was Chris Brogan.

This is what a blogger told me at the Blogger Lounge at SXSW as we watched Chris interact with a mob of people. I thought about this for a minute. Chris is someone to admire, for sure, and I’m happy to consider him among my friends at these events, but do I want to be him? Chris is famous now, maybe one of the most famous people in the social media space. He’s accomplished so much at a very young age. He surely has it all, but do I want that?

No. I don’t think so.

With all due respect to Chris who worked so very hard to get where he is today, I don’t want his life. Here’s why:

  • Travel: Chris is always on the go. I can’t speak for him, but I imagine it isn’t easy. It was hard enough to be away from my family for five nights while attending SXSW. If you want Chris Brogan’s rock star life, consider how much time he spends away from home and decide if that’s a perk or a pitfall.
  • Mob Scenes: For all the times I’ve seen Chris, we must have spent a total of 15 minutes talking. That’s because we generally chat for about 30 seconds to two minutes before he ‘s on to the next person. Chris is generous with his time and makes sure to say hello to everyone. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him when he’s not surrounded by people. So if you’re hoping to be Chris Brogan, considering how you won’t even be able to head for the men’s room without being stopped by 20 people. I’d be worried I’d have accident.
  • Favors: Everyone wants something from Chris including retweets, free books, jumping to the head of the line at the Mashable party, and lots and lots of taking without actually offering anything in return. As someone who receives at least 1000 bits of email each day, many asking for favors, I can tell you this can get old very quick. Do you want people contacting you all day, every day, asking you for stuff? Do you want people to only contact you when they need something and not to say hello?,
  • Expectations: Again, I can’t speak for Chris but I imagine there are rather high expectations being sent his way. Chris Brogan mostly likely can’t have a bad day. He can’t be cranky because folks would write him off as a jerk, he can’t be off his game because folks would complain that he’s not “all that” and he probably can’t just blow everyone off and go to the beach or something because they’d probably say something about his ego. If you want to be Chris Brogan consider whether or not you can be on your game 24/7 and what would happen if you aren’t.

I like Chris. I never saw him be unkind to anyone and he always makes me feel as if I am someone. He’s someone too, though. He’s not a God, he’s a human being. Before you say you want to be him, consider whether or not you truly want his lifestyle.

Rock on, Chris.

Deb Ng is founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs Network. Follow her on Twitter @debng.


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  • Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach

    Nobody should want to be ANYBODY except themselves. Only you possess that special uniqueness that nobody else can duplicate. I’ve always been slightly bemused by such desires…

  • blogjunkie

    LOL, I posted the same thing a few months ago. Looks like lots of people can’t take Chris’ lifestyle http://blogjunkie.net/2010/01/why-i-dont-want-to-be-chris-brogan

  • Gretchen Gary

    I agree – it must be very hard to be Chris Brogan. Considering that his whole game is altruism and gaining trust, you are very right that he would always have to be in a good mood and ready to talk to people, especially in social media circles where everyone you meet is a new wave journalist or paparazzi of some sort. Celebrity has its cost but social media celebrity and the transparency it requires must be all-consuming.

  • Kirsten Wright

    Interesting take on being Chris Brogan. But, I think that when people say they want to be “chris brogan” or any other big name in the web world, they don’t actually want to be that person but they want to have the success that person has. For example, their readership, the invites to the events, the cool insider tours, and definitely their bank accounts. Think about when you were little and you thought about who you wanted to be when you grew up…usually you picked someone who had “things” you wanted, not a person you actually wanted to be. The reason people want to be him, or anyone else like him, is for the fame and fortune, not the workload.

  • Lorraine

    Thanks for this post. Chris Brogan is singular in his ability to juggle multiple business imperatives, think freshly and connect to huge numbers of people with genuine warmth and intimacy.

    His generosity is astounding. But I worry about him.

    I’ve often wanted to shoot him an email to thank him–and urge him to let up on himself.

    I don’t want to sound like Mommy, but frankly, I get anxious when I read tweets like this:

    RT @ChrisBrogan Got to my hotel at 1:30am. Car comes at 7am. Day of speaking. After all that, arrive back in Boston at midnight. #glamorous.

  • Molly Gordon, Self-Employment Coach

    Thanks for a much-needed reality check.

    Two more reasons not to be Chris Brogan:

    When you compare your insides to someone else’s outsides, you are always getting skewed information. Being Chris probably doesn’t feel anything like those who envy him imagine it would. Rockstars have problems, too.

    One of the keys to Chris’s success is that he doesn’t imitate others. He’s himself. If you want to succeed as a blogger, you’ll need to be yourself, too.

  • Lara Kulpa

    Chris is truly one of the kindest, most generous people I’ve known in this business. He makes people know they’re important to him, and takes the time to be sure people know he appreciates them. You’re right though, Deb… he’s never anywhere without being surrounded, approached, or questioned.

    It’s a celebrity status of sorts… except he’s actually earned every shining moment with honor (and not by flashing us his girly bits – haha), and he’s worked hard for it. All these things you mentioned are precisely why I’m honored to know the man!

  • Tia

    Wow, I’m surprised that there are at least 2 posts with this same title. Isn’t it a little odd to say how much you admire someone and then say that you would not want to be like them? I’m sure it sounds better out loud than it does in writing!

    I don’t know Chris personally. I do admire his blogging style and ability to connect in areas outside of blogging, also. I would love to have even an ounce of the charisma he possesses.

    I’m sure that deep down he wouldn’t change the “glamorous” lifestyle he’s enjoying now due to success. More sleep, maybe, but it’s a big sign of accomplishment. 🙂

  • Carrie

    I had the chance to meet Chris at the Affiliate Marketing Summit in NYC last summer. I went up to him after a session and introduced myself, and he was super nice to me. In the space of about 3 minutes, he posed for a photo with me, wrote out a list of conferences I should attend, and did not appear distracted when he talked to me although there were people waiting to chat with him. It really made my day. I’ve been super impressed with his productivity, his ability to get to the point quickly on things, and he totally gets the “authenticity” thing. The only thing that has consistently puzzled me is why he travels so much, if his model is social media and online marketing primarily. If he is a symbol of social media success, are we to interpret this that we have to fly thousands of miles a year to gain valuable online relationships?

  • Warren Whitlock

    We can learn from Chris without needing to “be just like Brogan” .. It’s super that he’s doing well, as he is now able to let other helpful people in his network help too.

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