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  1. Wealth
August 16, 2012

Bragging, Humblebragging, Underbragging

By Spear's

Before I continue, I ought to warn you that this blog will be the most interesting article you’ve read all day. Not really. Actually I got completely hammered last night and am idly wondering if I should just inject the next espresso.

Before I continue, I ought to warn you that this blog will be the most interesting article you’ve read all day. Not really. Actually I got completely hammered last night, crawled out of bed, tried three times to swipe my bank card instead of my oyster card at Kentish Town tube and am just now typing this article while idly wondering if it I should just inject the next espresso. I literally don’t know how I am succeeding in writing this thing.

Confused by this unexpectedly personal disclosure? In fact, I am just demonstrating archetypes of the ‘brag’ and the ‘underbrag’, brilliant terminology I have borrowed from an excellent article by Oliver Burkeman in the Guardian today.

An underbrag is when you reveal something embarrassing or bad about yourself, safe in the knowledge that you can get away with it. You might be a red carpet goddess, but last night your Hollywood heartthrob boyfriend caught you eating hoolahoops with dairy milk while watching Eastenders. And guess what, he didn’t dump you. Perhaps if you were less wonderful, he might have.

The alternative to the underbrag, the most recent trend in bragging, is the humblebrag, when Hollywood actresses pretend they get terrible stage fright, etc. etc.

 Usain Bolt prefers the straightforward brag

Burkeman is not the only writer to have recently observed that in today’s climate, we’re all bragging. There’s little place for modesty in a cut-throat job market, and social media is an enabler for bragging on a wider scale. I’m only just learning to navigate the world of twitter (already it is taking over my life) but I have noticed that for every troll, there’s a lot more mutual back-slapping going on, and every second thousands of brags, humblebrags and underbrags are tweeted. There’s a lot of it going on today, with people jumping to point out that despite their incredible career-achievements, they failed their A-levels.

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Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook offer a platform for people to present a carefully edited version of themselves to the world, with actual or implied ‘like’ buttons for mutual reinforcement. If you think about it too much, it can make you feel quite queasy.

I’ve decided that when confronted with ever-more sly examples of underbragging and humblebragging, that the very un-British, straightforward, in-your-face, Usain Bolt-style bragging is the lesser evil. At least swagger is honest, you can laugh at it, and occasionally seek vindictive comfort in the belief that it masks great insecurity.

The humblebrag and underbrag are not only disingenuous, but often hide a much more disturbing degree of self-assurance. I have resolved to avoid them on twitter, but will undoubtedly fail. 
Read more by Sophie McBain

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