Fake It Until You Make It

  • On December 2, 2009 ·
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I’ve heard people say “fake it until you make it” to mean that, if you want to be something you’re not yet, you have to pretend you are until you actually are. I don’t like calling it that because fakery implies falsity. To paraphrase Guy Gilchrist in his Drawn to Success series, “Think yourself into the BIG-TIME.” You have to start thinking and acting like a successful whatever you want to be before you can actually be a successful whatever you want to be. This means considering yourself among your peers and it also means doing the work expected of somebody in that position. It means trying things, researching things, and not just going on an ego trip.

You want a good example of people who fake it? Join twitter. Almost immediately you’ll be followed by social media gurus, web marketing experts, SEO specialists, online pioneers, and internet entrepreneurs. These are the folks who set themselves up as professionals on the internet because, hey, they’re on the internet, and you’re an expert in anything if you call yourself one, right? I used to have a courtesy policy of following people back if they followed me. Eventually spammers forced me to question if the person I was following back was even real. I’d thought I’d figured out a decent system to tell. Then I got direct messaged telling me the secret to a bigger penis. That was the day I stopped participating in the great circle jerk and quit following people I didn’t care about hearing from. Yes my numbers dropped almost immediately, but if they were only following me for the return, it’s not a big loss on my part. And the signal:noise ratio of my feed is so much better now.

That’s what it was – noise. I’ve seen a lot of people set up sites where they think they can hold a megaphone, shout, “I am awesome!” and then the masses are just supposed to come. Yes, I know, “build it and they will come” is a popular chant but it means more than building a simple functional site. It also means building a decent comic, building a decent report with people, and giving them a reason to believe you are in actuality awesome.