Are you showing up TOO often?

Wow. This is a fascinating study.

I’ve always found it pretty interesting that the interest we have on our CEOs being on Twitter is largely based on them being previously unavailable. That ambiguity, that “what are they really like” feeling that leads to them becoming quasi-celebrities, is a big part of what draws people in. Same with celebrities; no matter how cool he really is, the more you know Ashton Kutchener, the more normal he is.

Basically, if we knew them, we wouldn’t care. The more you can get of someone, the more normal they seem. This much is obvious.

Here is where the study comes in. Apparently being too available makes you boring, but making yourself only a little accessible makes you interesting. It’s a fine line to draw. What can we learn from it?

Hugh McGuire said: “Don’t blog to be known– blog to be knowable.” So we should learn to express ourselves, particularly our quirks but also what makes us similar to others, in order to be seen as “like them” but interesting and funny enough to be different.

But something happens when people cross that line.

You can experience this yourself if you like by replicating something that happened to me a few years ago while watching a Tony Robbins talk. I didn’t know a lot about the guy when I watched his TED video, but I remember thinking “Wow! This is a smart guy.” So I went looking around a bit.

Go ahead and watch the video now, and then keep reading.

Way later, I was surfing through Charlie Rose videos and came across an interview with him again. I watched it, and my feelings were transformed.What does this mean? Well, first, I think it’s pretty clear that Robbins scripts pretty much everything– either that or he’s so practiced at it that it just rolls out.

But the fact that the story was told the exact same way means that my feelings changed a lot… and I somehow grew to respect him less. I now felt like it was theater, and slightly cheated.

Interesting, isn’t it?

This blog post has nothing to do with Tony Robbins specifically; I still have a ton of respect for where he’s gotten and how he got there. But it does have to do with how we feel about someone the more we get to know them.

Look, no one is funny all the time. No one has that many good jokes. So maybe that scarcity is a good thing– creating a good impression, but only often enough to be remembered.

Then again, I could be totally off. Am I?





8 responses to “Are you showing up TOO often?”

  1. CT Moore Avatar

    The 16th law of power is “Use Absence to Increase Respect and Honor.” And it pretty much works on the same principle of supply and demand:

    Too much circulation makes the price go down: The more you are seen and heard from, the more common you appear. If you are already established in a group, temporary withdrawal from it will make you more talked about, even more admired. You must learn when to leave. Create value through scarcity.

  2. Khaled El-Hage Avatar

    Wow! That’s a great post for me.

    I’m kind of new to the whole social media thing and the question of “how often should one show up” has been on my mind for quiet a while.

    Thank you Julien for providing a great deal of the answer.

  3. Lisa Yallamas Avatar
    Lisa Yallamas

    That’s a terrible interview. I don’t know who Charlie Rose is but he’s boring. When someone like Robbins – who thinks he has a mission – is being asked to turn up he’s going to turn up. The thing which I find a little concerning about social media is that people are creating their own “profiles” – little independent analysis (by the media perhaps). People can say anything many times to fill many Google pages and hey presto they have a profile. But who are they? When Robbins sits down with an interviewer who’s looking for cracks – that’s when he might find out something new about himself.

  4. Lisa Yallamas Avatar
    Lisa Yallamas

    Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. -Dr. Seuss

    Or as my five-year-old niece says: “My friends like me the way I am and I don’t care what anyone else thinks.” _ she’s a cluey girl.

  5. Johannes Avatar

    Great article, thanks Julien! I think it’s a two-edged sword. It’s our fault that we always triple into the same trap: falling for an idealized version of someone, by just seeing his marketing side. That’s silly. Human character can only go so far in terms of being cooler, greater, stronger than the others. We perceive the superstars to be 1000 times greater than we (or others) are – the truth is, in total, the capacity of being greater is pretty limited. Let’s say, to a factor of 2. The more holistic a picture of someone becomes, the most we have to scale down our idealized version. I think we should all aim more for the truth – as senders and recipients of personal impressions. That would be smarter, at least.

  6. Rob McDougall Avatar

    Why approve all that spam??

  7. Seb Avatar

    When you’re a one-trick pony, showing up often is definitely not a good idea. The more a person repeats themselves, the less they feel “real” to the others. The best you can do then is to cycle through audiences, never meeting the same people twice. (Incidentally, that’s rule #1 to being a successful con man. 🙂

    If you’ve got spontaneity and if you’re personally evolving, however, people will appreciate repeat interactions with you, because they’re never actually meeting the same person.

    I think basically it’s less about frequency and more about moving away from being mechanical and predictable, ensuring that you reliably deliver fresh experiences to the people you meet.

  8. Patricia Pytel Avatar
    Patricia Pytel

    I totally agree with this post. One of my favourite marketing books is Influence by Robert Cialdini. One of his rules of influence is Scarcity, which says that we put a higher value on things that are less available. This holds true to things like luxury goods, but also social media.

    Think of how annoying it is when your twitter stream is filled with tweets from one or two people, or a blog you’re following has so many posts in a day, you can no longer follow it. The prolific tweets and blogs lose value. These types of blowhorns provide too much information, devaluing the social currency of each of their posts simply because we can’t process them all. I prefer the people who post less, and have higher quality posts the same way I prefer to spend more money on higher quality shoes, so I replace them less frequently!

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