True Blue

Go as a River

True blue — loyalty in your views and causes — is an admirable quality.

Blue means more culturally, too. It can mean feeling down.

When I consider this blog over the past year and half — really since I began writing Welcome to the Fifth Estate — I have the latter kind of blues because I sacrificed the true blue of authenticity, and writing what I cared about.

Yes, I was supporting a book. Yes, I do care about social media, but as time has come to pass, it’s clear not enough to write about it every post three, four even five times a week.

During the Fifth Estate period this blog became well-ranked. It’s the fourth such blog I have written or created the strategic plan for that has earned these types of rankings. This is a noteworthy achievement that many respected marketers want and most bloggers love.

But as a writer there is something immensely unsatisfying about the restraints of a beat, particularly one like social media that is well, limiting in several ways. For all intents and purposes it is the limitations of being a trade journalist, and not writing about anything with serious life consequence. Frankly, to become top ranked in social media there is an element of selling out — writing about Twitter, Facebook, Google+, shamelessly pursuing retweets, Likes and plusses, etc. — that is just unpalatable after a while.

I work to find ways to positively impact society via media and communications with as much reach as possible. These are the types of projects I successfully find professionally. Yet at times my social media writing has little to do with my personal passion.

It gives me the blues to thing about what I have done to become well read, and to market. There is a sense of dismay and personal loathing when you realize you have sold out.

I am sorry for this. Not just to my reader, but to myself, for compromising my character in such a fashion.

After all the Google+ hoopla last July, I stopped writing about popular social media topics every post. I also stopped making myself post four or five times a week. The social media expert land grab around Google+ was the final straw, killing my passion for the game.

My rankings plummeted. My love for writing the blog has returned. Writing flows from me again, tapped back into my soul, a river running its natural course.

Popularity may be worth it to some. In fact, it can downright lucrative, if done right. Without popularity and ranking as a goal, this blog can have so much more passion and discuss important issues. It can address aspects of the Internet, media, marketing, cultural and life issues beyond the popular top ten list of Twitter tips. Yes it will be eclectic, but even when the posts are social media oriented (and I will continue blogging about social media), they will be pure, and not contrived to meet a quota of top ranked posts.

This blog in the past few weeks has been more representative of my heart. My conclusion: It’s better to be true blue.


  • Oh I don’t know, I guess you are the expert on the status of your heart. But I think it would be highly unreasonable of you to discount your actual life experiences of the last year that were, frankly, life changing and distracting. So what? The waters got a little muddy during this transition period and you ran more on auto pilot as you made adjustments in adding the care of your daughter to the grand scheme. Shore up that soft inner heart and get back to work :)

  • Yep, the real you (the real one, more universally) rules, online and off! No need to apologize, my friend. You continue to contribute a great deal to the conversation.

  • Hey Geoff, I hear you. I’ve long been conflicted about the social media drive for (personal) numbers: klout scores, AdAge Power Rankings, twitter followers….  It’s really hard to get off that hamster wheel. 

    You certainly have a level of self-awareness, or honesty, that many others don’t. I always value your thoughts and opinions for that very reason.  When others have long exhausted their usefulness breaking down the finer points of the latest social media tool, you’ll still be relevant talking from the heart about things you’re passionate about.
    Best wishes.

  • Thanks for being real about this, Geoff.  Great post after a visit to a monastery – times like that allow for more inclusive self-realization and so glad you went “there”.  I appreciate your honesty, as I question this very thing about myself, in terms of my clients, and for the other social media “experts” out there.  I have feared getting onto the hamster wheel, which has hurt my business in some ways. Where is the line between true blue and the hamster wheel?  How can we be successful without crossing the line?

  • Right on, Geoff. The only thing that _really_ wins in social media is _us_. The real us. No cookie cutters. Klout and money may push the boundary back for a while, but they will lose in time.

    Lead on!

  • Thanks for sharing your struggle Geoff, be true to your heart and let it flow.  

  • And so the great debate of any great thinker/writer in this digital era continues:

    Do I sell out or do I follow my heart?

    Is there a happy medium?

    Tough call Geoff. But I sure as heck appreciate your candor on this one.

    Best to you,


  • This is why I’ve kept my blog social media / copywriting thoughts-free as I work in the space. I needed a place to write where the writing would be about whatever was in my heart and head, period.

    The funny thing is that my not-social media writing actually gets more of a response and more client interest — I think all people need to see is that I have a brain and a heart and creativity, and they get curious about the rest.

    Here’s to you showing your excellence in fresh ways.

  • Pingback:The fear of being ourselves: Social media, money and going out on limbs | Technoagita

    […] via True Blue | Geoff Livingston’s Blog. People think you’d be crazy to give up “gains” like those; people claw and lie awake at night trying to figure out how to get them. You’ve got a good thing going, right? But Geoff knows better. It gives me the blues to thing about what I have done to become well read, and to market. There is a sense of dismay and personal loathing when you realize you have sold out. I am sorry for this. Not just to my reader, but to myself, for compromising my character in such a fashion. How do we ever end up in a situation like that? The answer is that it’s the easiest thing in the world. The hard thing is not ending up there. The gravitational pull of what others want, of wanting to deliver something you know will earn you praise — earn you money – seems to be black-hole strength. Like insects on a hot summer night, we’re drawn to that bright blue light. Stop and think, though. It’s not happiness you’re flying toward. It’s the darkness you’re racing away from. And what’s at the end? *** Novelist, screen writer and coach Mark David Gerson is one of my favorite people. One of his “‘rules’ for living” is Be vulnerable: Share your pain and your passion. That’s what makes you human. via Mark David Gerson: Mark David’s “Rules” for Living. […]

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