Why You Should Act Like A Normal Human On The Internet

Being relatable online just comes down to acting like a normal human. We buy from people we know, like, and trust and your people will know, like, and trust you when you're honest about who you are! Some of the best online sales advice you'll ever get! ;)
I’m halfway through my Facebook Live class when I hear it: “Tootley toot!” This is followed by a distinct click and a vrooooom-ing sound.

It’s coming from under the banquet in the dining room and I already know what it is. It’s my Roomba, doing its scheduled 12:15 pm cleaning, smack dab in the middle of my live class.

I apologize, turn it off, and I sit down to continue the class. My dog Loretta chooses this moment to crawl into my lap, claw her way up my chest, and try to climb into my body via my mouth. Awesome! I am the paragon of professionalism! What a great impression to make on the 1,500 people in my Facebook group!

Needless to say, I was surprised to discover this email in my inbox a few days later:

I wanted to thank you for being a human being and thus being super inspiring. Watching the More Money, More Happy videos where your Roomba starts going made me feel ridiculously inspired. I’m trying to get my own blog/business/charity up and running and I have been paralyzed by fear, trying too hard to be perfect and have it all figured out before I start.

What could be considered a “mistake” was easily one of the best parts of an already excellent and valuable free course. I loved your videos even more because of how relatable you were! It felt easy, like talking to a friend. I admire that and I hope to incorporate more of that attitude into my own business!”

So in case you needed it, this is your permission to be human on the internet.

Now, there are many reasons to be a human on the internet. Primarily: Pretending to be someone you’re not is exhausting and unsustainable. But if we want to approach things from a business and success angle:
Being human helps people know, like, and trust you. We buy from people we know, like, and trust. Click To Tweet

3 more reasons it’s important to be human on the internet

Being yourself gives other people permission to be themselves

When you have the guts to swear or talk about politics or mental health, you’re making it easier for other people to do the same. When you don’t filter out your wrinkles or cellulite, in a tiny way you’re helping “normalize” things that are totally normal.

I’m not witch-y, but I appreciate that Britton is and talks about why it works for her. I’m not into Cosplay but I love that Mia is and has built an entire site around it. I’m not sure I will ever own hairless rats, but I love that Paul is an exceptionally devoted rat dad.

Being imperfect shows other people they can be imperfect, too

When we open Instagram, it’s easy to feel immediately overwhelmed by the curated perfection of everyone else’s life.

Intellectually, we all know the internet isn’t real life. It can be really hard to remember that when we’re 50 photos deep into a good IG stalking and we’ve yet to find something that’s not J Crew catalog worthy.

Seeing the occasional recipe fail or bad hair day can feel like a breath of much-needed fresh air. I remember the first Instagram Story my friend Kathleen did.

It was just her and her husband Jeremy asking “Are we doing this right? Wait. Whaa….” and “I’m an internet grandma” and then her making a self-deprecating joke about wearing a hipster hat.

It was the first time I ever messaged someone through Instagram Stories. I said “Really and truly, the best IG story I’ve seen yet!” It made me feel like maybe I could give Instagram Stories a try.

Maybe I could try it without reading 15 tutorials and figuring out how to make it “match my branding.” If my awesome, successful friend could do this imperfectly, maybe I could, too.

Being open about your ‘struggles’ + how you work around them helps other people with those same struggles

I’m an introvert. I don’t want to lead a huge team. I’m not particularly tech-savvy. I travel a lot and I want a business model that supports that.

So how do I do that? I do work that does not require phone calls, meetings, or ongoing commitments. I have two incredible VAs. I use super simple software and I ask Erin and Kim to do the stuff I don’t understand how to do.

And if you’re a fellow not-tech-savvy, non-manager introvert, seeing me cobble things together with Picmonkey might feel like confirmation that you’re not alone.

There are lots of other humans showing us that whatever we’re doing (or not doing) we’re not alone.

  • Kristen has depression. Here’s how she deals with it.
  • Kate has ADHD. Here’s how she deals with it.
  • Desiree juggles a popular blog and three kids. Here’s how she does it.
  • Paul has no interest in managing a team or delegating. Here’s what he does instead.  
  • The entire #imperfectboss hashtag is a wave of relief and reality
Being yourself is literally good for business (and trying to be anything else is exhausting.) Click To Tweet

Do you feel inspired when you see people being normal, imperfect humans on the internet? Who are some of your more relatable, less curated internet humans?

P.S. Everything I use + recommend to run my business

photos by Josh Calabrese and Lindsay Henwood // cc

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  1. Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    I think part of being more relatable is what brought most bloggers and Youtubers to fame. The celebrities feel like a world away and smaller bloggers just feel more human. That said, it’s kind of sad that even these bloggers are trying to be more and more perfect, even though being relatable was what gave them an audience in the first place…

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Tiffany Armstead

    This is so true! I’m learning to just do it now, and perfect later! In my business, professionalism is crucial- But I am figuring out ways to integrate my silly personality in my online presence when appropriate!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Good for you, Tiffany! Glad to hear it!

  3. Amber

    Love this post – spot on. Jolie Ankrom is one of my faves on Instagram for relatable, uncurated content. I watch her stories daily.

  4. Stefanie

    Yes! I love hearing this. My blog and my newsletter are super personal and about me which, I sometimes wonder, may affect how people see me as a professional but I think as long as you know your stuff and you are showing that you know your stuff, then it’s fine. In fact, it’s better because people become more invested in you.

  5. Brenda

    So good! When I first clicked on this post after reading the title, I actually thought it was going to go in a completely different direction – being a human on the internet vs. being a troll on the internet. It’s so easy to sit behind a screen and curate a form of yourself that isn’t really yourself. Whether it is someone who wants to portray their life as being Instagram perfect or someone who says the harshest words in comments just because they simply disagree with another’s opinion. Either way, if it’s not who you are IRL, it has to get mentally exhausting at some point. So many great points in this post! Thank you for consistently providing useful and interesting content!
    Enjoy your weekend! Xx

  6. NZ Muse

    Talk about timing – have you seen that viral BBC Skype interview?

    Without fail, I find that opening up and being honest and vulnerable on my blog only ever brings good things.

    • Erin QS

      I was going to make the same comment! I wasn’t crazy about how the man being interviewed just sorta pushed at his daughter’s face without turning around but somehow I expect that little girl wasn’t ruffled much. She seemed fairly intrepid.

  7. Samantha Lee

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been thinking a lot about authenticity these days – how the internet can be wonderful for community building but can also be just as damaging. That’s why I always strive to be truthful – to be myself and nothing more or less – whether online or in real life. There’s too much BS in the world already without me having to add to it. Thanks for being one of those voices I can always count on to be real. <3

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Oh, you’re so kind to say so, Sam! <3

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