If We Could Turn Back Time: Cher Models Nonperfectionism!
I’ve always loved Cher’s tweets: they’re so playful and sincere, even when she’s making a sharp political point, which she does often. So naturally, I loved this New York Times piece about her Twitter style:
- She pays little to no attention to rules of grammar, like punctuation or sentence structure, and she capitalizes many words individually, causing her messages to read like bad novelty T-shirts or mock propaganda posters. She frequently — and comically — tacks on extra signoffs at the end of her tweets (“I was looking at tweets & saw that i really hurt someones feelings ! Im sorry. It was light blue background with white egg shape . Bye” ). She loves to load her tweets with emojis — her favorites include the birthday cake, sweat droplets, prayer hands and the American flag — even if they aren’t related to the subject matter of her message….The day after Christmas, she wrote, “Adults are SO PACMAN,” and a few weeks before that, she posted a message that simply said: “We Should B Vigilant, Aware Of Our Surroundings‼️ Something‼️Say Something‼️ONE BIG CATCH,WE ALL HAVE OUR GLUDED 2 OUR PHONES‼️WENOTHING.”
I actually think “Adults are SO PACMAN” is brilliant. How many of us spend our lives racing around and chasing prizes while doing our best not to (metaphorically) get eaten, only to turn around, when we have the chance, and try to eat someone else?
Anyhow, for obvious reasons, this caught my attention:
- I love Cher’s Twitter because I have difficulty achieving perfection online. I often omit key words from tweets and captions without ever noticing it, use hyphens incorrectly, deploy improper spacing and forget to fix typos before publishing to my personal feeds. I wish I could say that my approach comes from an unbridled sense of irreverence and creativity, as Cher’s does, but it’s closer to a more prosaic carelessness.
But perhaps I can learn a lesson from Cher — to not be afraid to let the world know that it is actually me tweeting, not a social-media intern or a younger, savvier relative. Perhaps I, like Cher, will reach my true potential when I stop trying to be “good” at Twitter and just let my natural self flow.
Haven’t we all sent an email or tweet that we regretted, and wished we could turn back time?
All this reminds me of an exercise I give to students or coaching clients trying to overcome perfectionism: I tell them to send out emails with deliberate erors or silliness*&%^%#$*Q# in them.*
Many people find this hard to do! But once they do it, it’s very freeing. They realize that sending out something with errors isn’t the worst thing in the world.