Looking for Something?

New Media Shame?


At BlogWorld and other such conferences, we’re completely immersed in all the geeky new media stuff we know and love. But BlogWorld is only a few days every fall and spring. The rest of the time, we’re scattered across country and around the world where most people don’t understand what we do or why we do it. Perhaps that is partially our fault. For most of us, there’s an element of new media shame in our lives – and until that changes, we’re still going to have a hard time being taken seriously.

In the New Media Closet

Despite the fact that new media is a part of most people’s lives, we still hesitate to admit it. “Oh, yeah…I’ve heard of Farmville,” we say, even as we sneak online during the work day to water our crops. “I’m a writer,” we say, because we’re afraid that blogger doesn’t sound professional enough. “I’m occasionally on Twitter,” we say, though our definition of occasionally might be different than most considering that we average 50 tweets a day.

If you want the best example of new media shame, just look at online dating. I believe it is Match.com’s commercials that report that one in five relationships now start online. One in five! That’s 20%! Yet, people don’t like to talk about it, as though it is somehow shameful to fall in love with something that you’ve met through an online dating site. People lie about how they’ve met, or if they do  admit that they’ve met online, they say so with a  bit of apprehension, nervously hoping that those who are listening don’t freak out. “Oh, how did you and Joe meet?” “Actually…believe it or not, we met online…” This is usually followed by lots of justifying factors. We talked for a long time first. My friends told me to check it up. I signed up as a joke, but it worked out. It’s better than meeting in a bar.

Why do we have to justify it? If we meet someone at the grocery store or through mutual friends or even at the bar, we just say that and everything is fine. Meeting online is still somewhat shameful, though. And I’m not sure why?

This isn’t just about online dating, though. I consider a lot of you out there my good friends, even though we only see one another in person once or twice a year – if at all. There’s an element of shame to the new media world in general, as though it isn’t kosher or we’re doing something wrong. It’s a constant reminder to me that the new media world, even as it is becoming more mainstream, is still on the cutting edge of how we relate to one another, promote products, share news, market ourselves, and more.

Proof of that is perhaps the fact that the words blog, blogger, and blogging still get the red squiggly line in my (albeit older) version of Microsoft Word.

Stand Up, Be Proud

The only way we can change this, make it less shameful to be a part of the new media world, is to stop hiding in the closet. We have to stop considering blog a four-letter word if we want others to give us the same respect. I’m as guilty as the rest of you. When someone asks me what I write, I rarely admit that I’m a blogger unless pressed. In the back of my mind, I always cringe, thinking that people are going to envision me pouring my heart out about what I had for lunch on my LiveJournal.

But here’s the thing – if they are thinking that, their perception isn’t going to change unless I correct them. And I’m the perfect person to do that, just like you are. We are successful business people making money as bloggers and social media marketers. We all have stories about how we’ve helped readers or met really amazing people online, as well as the cool opportunities we’ve received, like interviewing celebrities in our fields or getting free products to review, simply because we have a popular blog or a high Klout score. If we attribute that to blogging and social media, rather than saying we’re writers or website owners or whatever more “acceptable” term we use, the perception of the new media world might start to change.

I’ll start. My name is Allison, and I’m a professional blogger and web content writer. I’ve met past boyfriends through online dating websites. I use Twitter regularly. I like to check-in via Foursquare and Gowalla. Some Saturday nights, I would rather chat with my online friends than go out to the bar. I think online gaming is cool. I have a Facebook app on my phone. Most of my work meetings are via conference call on Skype or webinars on GoToMeeting.

And I love my new media life.

So it’s your turn. Feel free to tell us here, but what is more important is that you get outside of the BlogWorld community and start standing proud as someone who’s immersed in new media. If we all talk about it more with a sense of pride, the perception will start to change. And who knows – you might connect with others who love new media also, but who were also afraid to admit it publicly.


  • Deb Ng

    Hi Alli,

    I’m Deb!(But you already know that…) I’ve been addicted to the online life since I bought my first, computer, a Mac, in the mid 90’s. I ‘ve come a long way since my first AOL account and now I’m honored to be an integral part of planning a conference for people who share my excitement , enthusiasm and enjoyment of social media and new media. I’ve been blogging since 2000 and overshare on a variety of social networks. I never really got into the gaming thing, but I have a strong passion for online communities.

    I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s stories!

  • Ali Luke

    I’m Ali! With one L 🙂

    I’m already overly hyped up about November’s BlogWorld; like you, I have a lot of close friendships online.
    I spent my late teens/early 20s playing an online text game, where I met my husband. (When we were first going out, I still had his number in my phone under his character’s name, not his real name.) I’ve kinda dropped out of the gaming world since, cos blogging has much of the same pull for me, with a touch more productive output 😉

    I tend to describe myself as a writer, because I write fiction as well as blogging. It’s pretty geeky fiction, I hasten to add. Last year, I cracked and bought a smartphone, so I could tweet and check emails on the go. Not that I often leave my computer… (roll on November!)

  • Coffee wtih Julie

    Ha! I like this post … so true, so true. In fact, when I got back from BlogWorld, a colleague showed me a photo on his phone while noting, “I almost bought this for you. But I thought you might be offended.” It was a baseball hat that said “Social Media Addict.” I was so annoyed that he hadn’t bought it! I would have wore that baby proudly! 🙂

  • Shonali Burke

    Hi Alli, I’m Shonali (@shonali on Twitter). I got online (I’m originally from India) around 1995, starting with this new thing called “email.” It hooked me enough that I then met my husband online in 1998, way before anything like Match.com existed – he was in California, and I was in Kolkata, India, and we’re coming up on our 12th wedding anniversary … bet you’re wondering what THAT story is now! 

    I’ve been immersed online and social media for about 5 years now and blogging since 2009 – very new compared to a lot of the people I’ve been privileged to cross paths with. I love it because I learn every day and meet wonderful people through it. I’m most often found on Twitter (especially Twitter chats) or my blog, though have been spending more time on Facebook as well. I love to check in on Foursquare but my check-in history is not very exciting, LOL – thanks to #BWENY (thank you @debng:disqus !) I managed to unlock the “overshare” badge. :p

    I love doing meetings & calls via Skype and Facetime. I use Tungle to schedule meetings and calls, am in love with my MacBook and iPhone and just gave in and got an iPad.

  • Lisa Romeo

    I’m Lisa and I’ve recently realized I’m online more than I thought. That’s okay.  I teach writing online, publish a blog, and connect with colleagues, editors, and editing/writing clients via Facebook, LinkedIn, SheWrites, Twitter and other sites.  I stay in touch with friends from all over on Facebook and Twitter too. I’m getting the hang of Skype mostly through clients from afar who I couldn’t work with any other way.  So many things I would have thought, even 5 years ago, that I could never manage to do any other way than in person or in print, I’m learning to do online.  I suppose our parents (grandparents?) may have thought the same way at one time about the typewriter, telephone, etc!

  • Anonymous

    I’m Nikki. I’ve been online since there was an online. And before that I was on private Intranets talking with other fellow consultants at E&Y.

    I’m a social media nut (as my Twitter profile says). Love interacting with people online. I’ve met a ton of friends via forums (back in the days of planning my wedding and having babies) and have met many of them IRL. I can’t imagine living in an age without social interaction online.  Which is funny, because I’m terrified of films like the Matrix … showing an existence in an entirely virtual world. Probably because I know it’s right around the corner 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I don’t feel shame so much as frustration with the semantics of some of the new language used to describe my daily involvement with new media. I often feel as if I need more words to bridge the understanding between my new, and generally younger new media colleagues and my colleagues from ye ancient times (80s and 90s – I refuse to say “I’m old” -never will- but I am older than many – ok, most of you ;). “Blog,” to many still means “an individual’s online diary” – so I’m more apt to call myself a writer/editor/publisher/digital entrepreneur – because that more accurately conveys to the people I am trying to reach what it is that I do. Facebook and Twitter? Those are both a whole other story that I have embraced openly, but as with blogging, often feel  frustration with the challenge of enlightening others of the utility. Yes. Whenever twitter comes up at a cocktail party, someone still always will say, “I don’t get it – I mean who really wants to know what you had for lunch?” lol. 

  • Nellie Jacobs

    Hi Alli,
    Best wishes to you for all the great things you are doing. I also use social media to promote my work and events. It’s a wonderful way to keep people up to date. I created my own website which I update almost daily: http://www.ignitingimagination.com. Through it are links to my live/archived podcasts (with thousands of listeners worldwide), Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, online store and blog (which is currently features my journey to self-publishing), coverage of past events and list of those upcoming. My newest book “Making Opportunity Knock” is offered for sale on the website, too.

  • Heather Solos

    Hi, I’m Heather, I’ve been into online community since -dare I say it- Q-Link. (I was 11) After I ran up a bill, my parents took away my modem for months. When I got it back I discovered local BBSes and used those until my 20s. 

    I ran a geographically focused blog site for The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC’s paper, and eventually moved that to a solo project until FaceBook made the idea obsolete. 
    Thankfully I started Home-Ec101.com in 2007 and haven’t looked back. I love the opportunities writing in this space has sent my way. The last five years have been amazing, I’ve seen more of the country than I ever got to before and I can’t wait to see what the next five hold. I’m not at all ashamed of my love for new media. Admittedly, I don’t like the word blogger, because it’s a silly sounding word and I get hung up on weird things like that.

  • Allison Boyer

    I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s stories. You guys are great – and I think over time, we can all show the rest of the world how awesome the things we’re doing really can be, even if they take play in a virtual space, not the “real world.” (I hate that term, real world or real life, as though what we do isn’t real!)

  • Domain Registration India

    I really enjoying every story from this website and  i am also using Social media to promote my regular work online and this is the best way for this. Thanks for sharing this and keep up with your good work.

  • Mitch Canter

    I’m Mitch – I met my wife online before eHarmony and match were “popular”, and I’ve been told by middleschoolers that I’m on Facebook too much (I’ll take that as a compliment).  I think that there’s a line we can all walk between obsession and passion, and I personally strive to walk that line.  That way, when people outside of the bubble  hear me talk, it doesn’t come off as geek speak, jargon, or just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo.  

    I volunteer in the youth group as a teacher, and getting to tell students about what’s new and upcoming in the geek world is a gap-bridger for me.  I’ve got parents asking me tech questions now, and not just “how do I turn on my computer” type questions, but real, intelligent discussion.

    We can all reach outside of the bubble; all we have to do is just be ourselves and people will get just as excited as we are.

  • JudyHelfand

    I’m Judy and I think my very first “on-line” connection was made in 1975!!!! Keep in mind I started working for Wells Fargo in January 1969 and they already had very sophisticated main frames that most companies would ask to preview just to get an understanding of what computers could mean for the future. 
    But this “on-line” friendship was formed when working for a much smaller financial firm. We had a “teleprinter” (teletype) machine that was used primarily to obtain Credit Reports from TRW and CCC.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleprinter  Basically you would dial into these firms, enter your customer’s information and the reports would print out.  BUT, one day I was sitting at my desk and the teletype machine started making noise.  I walked over to the machine and someone was saying HI!  So I answered. It turns out it was a young man in London, England that had somehow dialed our number.  We started chatting(typing).  I told him I had a sister and brother-in-law living in London.  He asked their name, which I gave to him (I am pretty trusting).  He looked up their phone number and called them. We carried on a three-way conversation.  Over the next few weeks, my London “friend” dialed back to chat, until his boss figured out that he was “dialing” Hollywood, CA!

    Now, today, well I keep busy with our SEO/SMO/Design company.  When I have time I write posts for our business blog, I write a personal blog, I tweet a few times a day (if time permits) and I have a personal Facebook page.  I don’t have a lot of followers, but I like to think that I my on-line goal is to have genuine relationships.  I like that.

    Gotta run…

Learn About NMX


Recent Comments