You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Post Is About You

Another day, another stupidly funny blog post title. So I like to think…

Every author, however modest, keeps a most outrageous vanity chained like a madman in the padded cell of his breast. Logan Pearsall Smith

Since we’ve recently welcomed the highly talented Stephanie Weingart to our blog, I thought I’d tackle an issue that arose when she baited me, quite successfully, into an interview. It’s that horrible example of one of the Seven Deadly Sins…vanity. Well, vanity is the example of Pride, which is a…damn nation, you know what I mean here. This is a piece about vanity and I don’t mean the girl that Prince hung out with either. Oh, and it’s about SEO of course.

We are so vain that we even care for the opinion of those we don’t care for. Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach

While I could indeed spend quite a lot of time relaying anecdotes of insane vanity in the SEO community, my purpose here is to talk about how to use it against others. That sounds a lot more sinister than I am intending BUT it’s still what I mean to say. And let’s please not have a semantic argument about vanity/pride/egotism/narcissism. When I say “vanity” I mean what you’re exhibiting when you become upset that someone may potentially think poorly of you in any way because you want the world to love you at all times, for all reasons. If you don’t have this trait, you’re not human.

There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it. Mark Twain

When Stephanie made her utterly brilliant move of intentional misinterpretation of my chimps post, she was completely outsmarting me. It’s kind of horrible that I was so easily led down that path but I’ll chalk that up to her amazing competence and not my overload of character flaws brought on by a beauty queen mother and having pink hair in a tiny Southern town full of rednecks. What Stephanie realized, at a much younger age and with much less experience than many of the SEOs that I know, is that the best way to get someone’s attention is to say something about the person that isn’t correct but IS correctable. No one can resist this. I certainly couldn’t.

One of the troubles about vanity is that it grows with what it feeds on. The more you are talked about, the more you will wish to be talked about. Bertrand Russell

Just the very idea that someone was possibly not getting my point made me really upset. Did I write the post poorly? Was this simply yet another instance in which no one thought I was funny when I was doubled-over with sobs and cackles while everyone looked on in abject horror? Was I a bad writer? A terrible person who runs down old ladies when they try to cross the street and I have to get to Target to buy some lip balm? I remember that day…I was visiting a friend in the hospital yet was consumed with wondering “where did I go wrong?” while his chest had been cracked open and his lunch wasn’t there at 2pm. OK that’s somewhat of a joke really…but it did get to me, and it definitely got my attention, and I had to get to the bottom of it. And now look. She’s a damn SEO Chick. Well done, I’d say. Quite well done.

The only cure for vanity is laughter, and the only fault that is laughable is vanity. Henri Bergson

I am definitely not suggesting that you spend tons of time trying to insult people whom you’d like to talk to, of course, unless the insults are really funny ones. I just think that vanity is an overlooked aspect of social marketing, and it’s a very clever way of getting through to someone. It’s this kind of thing that makes me truly love marketing…what’s next? Will someone get to me by capitalizaing on my gluttony? Maybe sending me an offer for a cheese dip of the month club in order to get me to talk about something? I damn well hope so. Let me know so I can give you my address.