April is metaphorical English month over on the Macmillan Dictionary blog, and reading James Geary’s post Metaphors in Mind set me thinking about my own application of metaphors and how I use them to manipulate you, my dear readers. Because writing a blog makes manipulation necessary – you’re not gaining anything physical by reading me, per se, and so I need to manipulate the hell out of y’all in order to ensure you come back!
When I tell a story I am conscious of my tendency to drop in a metaphor and then run with it. Let’s take, for e.g.:
I’m not sure where I’m going to take this little epihpany, which dream to chase after first or which path to forge for myself, but I do know that I can’t just let it go. Until now, every aspect of my life, the good the bad and the ugly; the dreams and the nightmares, have been like helium ballons, their strings clutched in my grubby hands. When one wriggled free I just let it go to float into the ether with a shrug of my shoulders – “You win some you lose some – there’s no point fighting with fate…” I need to start weighting those ballons I want to keep, tying them around my wrists – even protecting them from sharp objects! (Have I milked this metaphor enough yet??)…
On routines and the breaking of them, June 2010
(Yes, I know this begins as a simile, but it rapidly turns metaphor to illustrate my point…)
Looking back across secondhandshopper I notice the application of my “grubby little hands” quite often. In fact, there are multiple phrases put to use in metaphors quite frequently to create a certain mucky childishness, to give the impression of a little girl’s voice, but most emphatically not a prissy one. I write quite deliberately in a way that endears me to you.
But my metaphors actually run deeper than that. Whilst they openly employ childlike imagery, they also run to the point of exhaustion. I milk my metaphors, dropping in twists and turns and levels of meaning – all with a knowing nod. Which tells you that I know exactly what I’m doing, that I may be childlike, innocent, unthreatening, but I’m not stupid. What I have to say, well, it might actually be of some interest!
James’ post tells us that “We should mind our metaphors… because metaphors make up our minds.”, and I think as marketers, as bloggers, as representatives of ourselves online, this is well worth consideration. If we are in the blogosphere, like it or not, we are involved in a form of self-promotion. And the way we describe things, the connections we make and the backstories we paint around our anecdotes say more about us than we may at first realise. We should all consider: what sort of self are we trying to promote?