Somewhere, somehow I think maybe we got lost in translation to ourselves. I have a hard time explaining who I am and what I do to myself, let alone others. Sometimes it is even more difficult speculating as to what other people think it is that I do... So here's a little transparency.
I gave a talk recently on the power of blogging and Instagram to a group of around a hundred employees of a corporate entity and in the first few slides I attempted to introduce myself in order to not only endear myself to the audience but also to be recognised as a professional in terms of what I do... And here's where I fond the dilemma; my first slide looked a little something like this:
- Art Curator
- Art Collector
- Public Speaker
Basically, my first slide looked like something out of a poorly constructed LinkedIn profile. The audience saw the funny side to it however and I long ago did too. The reality of the matter is that I am just a guy trying to make my way in the world and rewarding way possible. Almost everything I do today, I do as a result of either having fallen into it (art curation, photography and collection) or having a single minded passion about a goal and attaining it (blogging, consulting and being a first class graduand).
So here's the thing, when I'm asked what I do, the first thing that comes to mind is that I blog; I've been blogging in many different formats for over eight years. Mostly just for fun but sometimes also therapeutically; as a way to escape a present situation or to create a mindscape I could explore for fun. Here's the thing though, Although I say I blog, I now refrain from saying I'm a blogger; not because I am not one but because the word blogger has been tarnished by sceptics, naysayers, and even some terribly misguided people inside the blogging community. When I say I am a blogger, I see their eyes rolling... "Oh you get loads of free meals and products so you won't give a bad review? That's some life you have for nothing at all!". I'm really not a ligger... While I do get to experience the odd spectacular experience, I don't actually get as much free stuff as people think I do. I go out and pay for meals and hotels (when I'm not working) and I don't freeload, mostly because I don't know how to. I'm not one of the people who commit the detestable crime of buying likes or followers or starts blogging for free stuff. Life is too much fun for that.
Here's another thing, as the years have gone by and the followers across my social accounts have risen into the tens thousands, I've been branded and influencer; you know... Someone who can influence opinion and make people buy ALL THE THINGS IN THE WORLD! I don't know about that. The word has now taken on negative undertones within the blogger community. Is that down to the fact it has seemingly come from nowhere? And only a few bloggers essentially do the influencing thing or is it a jealousy thing? Or is it a thing that circles around elitism? I really don't know.
Here's yet another thing... I've been branded a photographer over the last three years and I somehow don't think that's correct. I mean, yes I do have three cameras and I do shoot fully manual but if that's all it takes to be a qualified photographer then darling, aren't we all photographers? I know way too many actual photographers who are phenomenally good at what they do to run around calling myself one, although I have been known to take the odd 'nice' shot (according to Instagram)
When it comes to what I do and to the few people who are inexplicably mad at me for 'making a living out of blogging'... Let me break it down for you. I don't make a living out of blogging. In other words, I don't sit at a desk and write a few words and get paid thousands of dollars a day (those ads on the Internet are still a scam). What I do is much more multifaceted and much more interesting. I get to create content for brands while giving my audience suitable and engaging content that I believe they will be interested in. It really is that simple; a glance across my social media shows just that. I get to have fun, jump really high and create continuously. I can set my own hours and be home in time to see the baby.
Well that's the easy part, creating and sometimes it really is as easy as getting an email and discussing a job and executing it but sometimes it can be a long and arduous process with no guarantees of success. In some cases (most) there's a lot of pitching involved. If I come up with an idea, I go through the process of pitching it to the brand and that in itself takes a lot of research and knowledge on the brand. If the pitch is interesting, then I get into specifics etc etc and if that all goes well then we may have an interesting campaign on the cards. Bear in mind that process could take up to FOUR months in some cases and it is very easy to lose heart (and see your idea being run anyway - dear god). There's an awful lot of work involved that goes into cultivating relationships and being incredibly lucky and being nice to everyone (that's harder than it sounds).
So here's the final thing, earlier this year, the excellent Vicki Notaro wrote an article about male bloggers and one of the main points she raised was that for us it's not as straightforward as it maybe is for the girls; we have to have something else that we're good at, be it DJing, or photography or whatever and while that may not be true for everyone, it is definitely true for me. Blogging may have opened many opportunities for me, but it is my other skills in business, and creativity that really pay my bills. When I decided to create this blog after OFFSET last year, I named it 'I am Timi' because that's who I am and that's all I can do. I might blog but I'm not a blogger, I might influence but I'm not an influencer, I might create but I'm not a creator.
All I am is Timi.
I am Timi