He’s the person who tells you how badly burnt he got after sunning himself in The Bahamas. And she’s the person who shows how inconvenient her über-expensive suede designer boots are when its torrential rain outside. It’s all in a day’s bragging – with a dose of humbleness. Everyone knows of someone, somewhere, who self-promotes with some self-pity. In actual fact, we’ve all become accustomed to the ‘humblebrag’ from social media and we didn’t even know it – until now.
This rising online trend has prompted extensive studies into our Internet social savvy behaviour – with positive conclusive findings.
“In the first wave, social media was about staging yourself in an extremely positive way. But we’ve all learned that it doesn’t work any longer – reality has in that sense caught up with our digital lives, and the time is now ripe to present a more nuanced image of who we are, an image more in sync with reality,” explains Soeren Schultz Hansen, external lecturer at Copenhagen Business School.
‘Humblebragging’ is so subtle, it doesn’t make us roll our eyes in despair or even feel overly envious because they let us know how good they’ve got it – with a touch of self-deprecation.
“This tendency naturally also applies for boasting – it doesn’t work to brag explicitly neither offline nor online. And that’s why we now try to wrap it in something more digestible by giving it a twist of self-pity,” Schultz concludes.
And the online ‘humblebraggers’ have caught the attention of retailers around the world. Danish tech giant Bang & Olufsen, through a recent analysis of their social media, have noticed that the ‘humblebrag’ has become commonplace and, more importantly, acceptable.
“When you’ve bought our product, you naturally want to share it with the world around you,” says Peter Svarre, Director of Marketing at Bang & Olufsen. “We’ve spotted a phenomenon, which is adorable and very human, and it’s obvious how we are all aware not to be too self-important. That’s why we often see, how updates on social media featuring our products are actually ‘humblebrags’”.
So as we leave 2016 - and what a year it has been - it is fine to brag. Go ahead and share your success socially - but with a little subtly.