Video Marketing

Why Becoming a Social Media “Pretender” is a Good Thing

Shawn 01.16.2014

Relax, I don’t mean “phony” – far from it. This post is about honesty. I promise.

Remember that awesome (yes it was awesome)  TV show from the late 90’s The Pretender? If you don’t here’s a quick recap:

The hero, a child prodigy named “Jarod,” bounces from job to job flawlessly impersonating surgeons, lawyers, fireman, etc. while he runs from the evil thought collective “The Centre.” Riveted? Obviously. It’s like white collar MacGyver.

The interesting thing about Jarod is that while he’s “pretending,” he actually gets things done. He removes tumors, delivers mail, and mends the broken wings of bald eagles. He’s a genius, and is infinitely capable, but he only learns each skill by diving into the job and doing it. That’s the takeaway.

We’ve all heard the expression, “Fake it, til you make it,” and while I think it’s a horrible approach to certain things (like brain surgery), it’s an amazing mantra for social media marketing.

Can you seriously claim that you’re a guru on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Reddit, Digg, YouTube, Vine, and the other forty platforms that will burst into existence before you finish this sentence? Even more ridiculous – can you claim you were a guru on day one? Of course not. We’re all guilty of a little fudgery when it comes to our expertise in these areas. We had to be “pretending” at some point. Hopefully, we still are.

No one is great at something right away. The 10,000 hour theory holds true with chess geniuses and composers, but we don’t have to go nearly that far.

Reread your first tweet, right now. I’ll wait. Actually, tweet me your first tweet ever. I’d love to read it. I’m:


I’m just guessing (since I haven’t read it yet), but it’s probably a mess. Super long URL, thirty different non-specific hashtags, or no hashtags at all. Is there a typo? Is it even about anything? The point is, if you’ve tweeted a few hundred times since then, and interacted with others (like we’re hopefully doing now), your tweets have inevitably gotten better. They might even get your site some traffic.

Therein lies the beauty in “Pretending.” If you put your head down long enough, bang the keys, scroll through the feed, and click the like, thumb, heart, pin, wink, up, poke, tweet, or garble snark button to get your content out there, you will get better.

So get out there and keep pretending. I know I will.


Born in Southern California, Shawn grew up surfing, eating In-N-Out, and growing his hair long. After graduating with a Liberal Arts degree from CSU Long Beach in 2005 he left the crowded freeways behind and spent the better part of a decade traveling the world living for stretches in Rome, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Brooklyn. He writes novels as well as copy, loves learning keyboard shortcuts, and plays his grandpa’s old lap steel guitar. You can hear his band at

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