I offer this not as a book review, but as a personal reflection. The book in question is Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt. It’s a how-to guide for building a following (particularly a blog following) for your brand, idea, or product.
Here are some of my reflections:
I felt dirty just reading a book about self-promotion. Calling it a book about self-promotion is not quite accurate. It’s about building a platform – a stage on which you can get a message out to a large number of people, not necessarily a means to make you look good or make you famous. Nevertheless, that often feels like self-promotion – probably because I’m projecting my own (sinful?) aspirations on it.
I realized I don’t have a “wow” product. Part 1 of the book is about developing a “wow” product. I don’t even have a product, let alone one that “wows” anybody. I hope to maybe, someday, write a book for a broader audience, but right now, all I have is a collection of half-formed ideas – and mostly ones somebody has said better than me.
But then I realized I do have a wow idea, at least as much as any other Christian has one. I have been entrusted with the message of the gospel. Why wouldn’t I want to make Jesus’ name great, and on a big stage/platform, too? Did this solve the problem of feeling dirty?
No quite, because just because I have the message of the gospel doesn’t mean the world is best served by me setting myself (or attempting to set myself) above the crowd, especially when there are so many other able spokesmen on the internet. Perhaps the cause of Christ is better served if I draw attention to others who are more able. This is quite likely. Perhaps I will attempt to post more links to well-written blog posts in the future.
But is there still room for my voice? Is it still legitimate for me to write (and promote) my blog? Here is how I justify it – I hope that my motives are pure.
(1) Writing helps me clarify my thoughts so I consider writing as an opportunity to improve my teaching at my church. You’ll notice I had two recent posts about my last sermon. Both were attempts to disentangle my own mind.
(2) But why publish to the world? Because it’s an added incentive to get my thinking right. Opening it up to criticism makes me more careful.
(3) Also, I hope it will be an additional teaching tool with which the church can be built up.
(4) It gives me an opportunity to explore some of my ideas, and to submit them to public critique, which will hopefully lead to more refined, and more useful, ideas.
What do you think? If you blog, why do you do it? Is it narcissistic to check your stats?
P.S. I do have a quick two-second review: It’s a good, easy to read, easy to understand, practical book.