Impostor Syndrome and Online Decorum

Tech Trek Log – 2019.03.23

This is a retrospect from the Twitter feeds that I came across this past week or two now that Microsoft #MVPSummit has drawn to a close in Redmond. I shall try to tackle two issues below as it leads to dangerous expectations both for the MVP’s perspective and those that are asking for help in online forums.

Impostor Syndrome

An “impostor” syndrome is self-doubt about one’s accomplishments, or feeling of being lesser than your peers in knowledge/expertise.

As an non-MVP, I wouldn’t expect an MVP to know everything since that is a false expectation as compared to a self-proclaimed Expert. If you have made it through the ranks, it is accepting that it will be growth process throughout your journey. What is more important is to figure whether it is in such community you want to be associated and collaborate together.

It is a dangerous precedent to force oneself to be working 24×7 to keep track of the latest due to the rapid pace of technology as I mentioned in my reply to Chris Hoard (@Microsoft365Pro). Technologies come and go but the skills we’ve learned are what makes it a worthwhile experience.

MVPs shouldn’t be obligated to be a “know it all” as the reality is that we have work and life to balance. I’ve seen people who have taken niche areas and have become more successful in the process rather than being a master of everything.

As illustrated in the 7 Habits course, I don’t think our family members will be celebrating at our 80th birthday whether we have titles or acronyms after our names but rather how we’ve built relationships with our inner circle of influence.

Decorum in Online Communities

On the other side of the spectrum is the expectation in online forums that people helping out (whether MVP or not) should be knowledgeable in every aspect of a product or technology.

I came across reports not just in Microsoft Flow Community, SharePoint PnP but also in re-tweets from other social media networks where people are frowned upon if somebody who replied couldn’t resolve the issue they encounter. On a personal experience, I’ve had situations were I was clarifying to understand the issue they’ve reported which allows to Help Me, Help You. I wouldn’t repeat the responses here but I’ve added a link above to Mark Stokes’ post on how one can handle those situations better.

Online “tech” forums are not your average social network since not everybody has access to the same environment as the person reporting the problem. It is admirable that Microsoft or any other vendor who can recognize that they wouldn’t be able to help fix everything even if they hired a ton of people so collaborative and open-source efforts has become the norm.

We’ve just celebrated 30 years of Web, so keep the spirit of the community that respect and empathy is still paramount and a decorum.

In closing, I’ll post a tweet that I made to this subject that we just need to give our best and build a better community – virtual and real-world.

5 Types of Imposter Syndrome and How to Battle each one.


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