Sunday, May 17, 2009

Authenticity

Yesterday, for the first time since I left the practice of law almost three years ago, I attended a professional conference. I spent the day at Chicks Who Click/Kansas City with a room full of fun, cool and very interesting women. (There were four or five men there at different points during the day - a speaker, a conference organizer, a product presenter and a husband or two.)

The conference was a full day of speakers, conversations and networking - all centered around social media - blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other online social marketing tools. I feel like I learned a good bit and I'm most excited about meeting so many fabulous people. I'm really glad I went.

The resounding - if unintended - theme of the day was the importance of authenticity in your (or your client's) participation in online social media. Be yourself. Trying to be someone else will never ring true, will never gain someone's attention or admiration, will never inspire readers to return, will never help you navigate to the places you want to go in life.

That message (and the fact that I was handing out cards with this URL on it among others) made me think about this blog a bit. And what it said about me as a mother, a writer, a lawyer, a professional. Which is not much.

When I started this blog two years ago, I intended for it to be only a mother's diary of her children. The funny things they said, the cute things they did. And, by and large, it has remained that. And it will continue to include those things - probably as the primary topic even. They are obviously a huge part of my life (and the reason the blog is titled the way it is...).

But all the talk of authenticity really sparked some self-inspection. And I came to realize that this blog plays out much like my photo albums and scrapbooks. A fun and happy life for my children. With their mother nowhere in sight. I am the historian, the chronicler of our family - as I'm sure is true in most families.

I'm behind the camera, recording the fun and touching moments. Rarely in the photos with my kids. I'm behind the keyboard, writing about the fun things they did and funny things they said. But my life merely accompanies theirs, running parallel - as far as you can tell from my words here.

The thing is, though, is that it's not true. I am on all of those trips to the zoo and the dairy farm and the beach. I did go to those soccer games and dance recitals. And, every once in a while? I do something interesting without my children. Go figure.

So, authenticity. I'll probably write a bit more about what's going on in my life and my head here in the future. Four Funny Kids won't become my diary by any means (which was what my husband envisioned when I started the blog in the first place). It will just be a more complete picture of my family - not full and unfiltered disclosure, but a broader story.

More me. More authentic.

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