Learning To Be A Public Figure

The last two years have been a roller coaster ride to say the least. The Intense Intestines Foundation has grown more than I could have ever expected. With 2013 right around the corner, we have a lot planned to grow even more and help as many IBD patients as we can. As the President and Founder of the IIF, I’ve been trying to learn the best way to be a public figure. It’s been an interesting learning experience, but I think something finally clicked about a month ago.

During my speech at the Comedy for Crohn's & Colitis.  Photo taken by Jenna Colavito
During my speech at the Comedy for Crohn’s & Colitis. Photo taken by Jenna Colavito

As someone who wants to be an advocate for those with IBD and ostomies, I not only have to be seen in the community but want to be seen in many other communities. I have read books on this topic and have followed much of what I’ve read. I have a public Twitter account (BrianIIF) to go along with my foundations account (NtenseNtestines), I have a Facebook page for the foundation where I do post personal stories as well, I have a public blog where people can read more about not only how my IBD is doing but how I’m working on the IIF (WordPress) (Tumblr), a Youtube channel to share videos on different topics and more. Added onto those I always try to be available for anyone who needs help with Skype and email.

All of this can actually be tiring and hard to manage. Luckily there is software to help with social media management. But that’s not the point of this post. As much as I want to be a public figure and grow my foundation, others that are around me might not and rather be separate. They want their privacy and even though they might be extremely supportive and part of my story, they don’t have the desire to be seen in the IBD or ostomy communities. They deserve to keep their privacy and not be included if that’s what they want.

I’ve written posts from a personal stand point in the past. Sometimes to connect with my followers and sometimes to show my followers more of a personal side. Writing directly about someone isn’t right, unless I have their approval and I’ve now learned that from experience and also talking about it. It will never be correct for me to write about someone without their permission to do so. From now on that will be the way I handle sharing more of the detailed pieces I share. I’ve asked people to be part of my site before and they always want to take part, but it’s important for me to ask. I should never assume that I can write about someone.

Top of Wright Peak in the Adirondacks.  One of the 46 High Peaks I'm climbing.
Top of Wright Peak in the Adirondacks. One of the 46 High Peaks I’m climbing.

Now if I’m sharing a small memory or lesson which I’ve learned, I think it’s fair for me to share them with my followers especially if it will help them. But it will never use the name of the person that is involved with what I’m writing. The memory, lesson or whatever I’m sharing has to be vague enough, so no person can be directly linked to them. I want to help others, but being so descriptive to the point were someone can easily guess what situation or person I’m talking about is wrong.

So from now on I will be writing in a different way. I will be sharing my personal stories, I will include details which I think are relevant, but I won’t be sharing anything so detailed that it isn’t fair to those involved. This is just the right thing to do. Even though as humans our emotions do get the best of us and I’m guilty of that when in a difficult situation, I do always try to do the right thing. Whether it be reaching out to someone maybe I shouldn’t, inviting someone to an event that I don’t have to or going out of my way to assist someone who won’t ask for my help, I’ll always put in the extra effort to do what is correct.  I just want to try to treat others the way I would like to treated.

I haven’t been at this a long time and the IIF has only really been in the public eye for a little over a year now, so as it grows I will continue to learn how to do all of this better. This was an important lesson and I will continue follow my new rule to which I’ll be adhering too.  I’m sure as the IIF continues to grow, we have more volunteers and events, I will just continue to grow with it and learn how to be in the public eye more.

Never Stay Quiet!


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