Home > blogging > Calling BS on SM Leaders’ MO

Calling BS on SM Leaders’ MO

January 29, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

The following post is meant to be a public (relations) service message for social media leaders (and followers alike) that would do well to hear from a (admittedly self-proclaimed) representative of the silent masses. In other words – on behalf of the non-leaders, this blogger is calling BS on the modus operandi of many social media leaders.

For the most part, people online are extremely positive and exceedingly polite. Because of this, some online behaviors have gone unchecked. Now, I’m not smart enough to provide social media advice and this blog isn’t meant to suggest that anyone change what they are doing, but simply to articulate what many others are thinking.

Vanity URL abusers: Sure personalized URLs can be good for branding and help with tracking traffic etc. but, no matter what the stats say, there are a number (the size and importance of that number is debatable) of people that out of principal will simply refuse to click on the http://www.lookatme.com URL. Which, if not mistaken, kind of defeats the idea behind the vanity link.

True leaders apparently never follow: To those that are followed by the equivalent of Baltimore, Maryland (over 600K) yet follow back a number closer to the population of Baltimore, Vermont (around 250), it doesn’t matter how many accounts you have or what kind of experiment is being conducted, this looks arrogant. Of course, the right balance of following and followers can be debated, but what can’t be debated is that a real social media expert should be able to figure out how to follow more than a couple of dozen folks without cluttering their Twitter stream.

All bloggers are not professionals: Blogging advice for some reason seems to bring out the highest level of closed minded arrogance. Sure, blogging tips from experienced bloggers is a good thing. But, it is mind-boggling how many social media people criticize bloggers for everything from frequency and length of posts, amount and quality of artwork, first person vs third person voice, quality of writing, use of video etc. Way to encourage creativity and personal expression. Not every blogger can or even wants to be a professional writer, photographer, producer etc. News flash, some bloggers just want to blog.

Leaders doth protest too much: Klout isn’t perfect. Everyone gets it. But, people with Klout scores in the 70-99 range saying that other people shouldn’t pay attention to that number is like a supermodel saying that people shouldn’t be judged by their looks. Well, most people would say they agree, but pretending it doesn’t matter comes across as a bit disingenuous.

Can’t measure this: Where social media measurement and listening tools fall down is that they can’t effectively measure the offline eye roll. To the folks that get 200 RTs for insightful commentary like – sit up straight, smile  – or blog posts with hard-hitting topics like – why people like me – don’t overlook the fact that every RT and positive comment, there are a some number of eye rolls and offline WTFs. Just because people don’t @ reply that they are turned off by certain behaviors, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

Sample leader to follower translator

Tweet from SM leader: Don’t tweet that you’ve hit a follower milestone. You’re better than that.
Way it is heard by followers: I’m so popular, I’ve lost count of followers, so don’t you dare clog up my Twitter with your little milestones. I’m better than that.

Leader tweet: I don’t worry about your Klout score.
Followers hear: You’ll always be inferior to me, so what does your score really matter.

Leader tweet: I won’t read any blog that uses stock photography or doesn’t have video.
Followers hear: I don’t care if you have a full-time job, a family, a second job, a life, are spending 10 hours a week looking for a better job, if you can’t also take the time to take a photography course,  and produce your own videos, your opinions are worthless.

If there is a point here, it is a reminder that self-awareness is important (even online), which is sometimes difficult to remember when you are being told how wonderful you are by people you don’t know. Success can make the most humble person appear arrogant. Then again, it is possible that some people that appear arrogant and self-important are just that. In either case, whether they care or not, people do notice.

It wouldn’t be surprising to hear feedback to this post in line with – wow, this guy sounds bitter or jealous or whatever. But for everyone of those comments, there may be a couple of people who say (to themselves or offline) that this topic is something that should have been said long ago. I’m comfortable either way.

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  1. January 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I agree with these things. I also agree that it’s hard to not get sucked into the bubble. The more I gain traction in the field, the easier it is to get insulated. I usually take a digital vacation and hang out with my friends offline to regain my perspective. Seeking out an audience that replies “what the heck is Twitter?” does wonders.

    I don’t like when some of the really big players follow so few compared to who follows them. I know it’s all our own choice, and since this is such a great new opportunity to express ourselves (as you point out too re: blogging) maybe I shouldn’t judge too harshly, but it’s still hard for me to see it. To each his own, but the eye roll factor is important to remember.

    I would SO pay for a metric tool that measured that eye roll. You’d be a billionaire! 🙂

  2. January 29, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Many thanks for your comment Vicki. Great point about keeping it real with people who are not into social media. Those people are getting harder and harder to find, but they are invaluable.

    The recent McDonald’s incident is a perfect example. In some circles it was a huge story, but for real people it never happened.

    I’ll get to work on the eye roll measure’inator.

  3. January 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Bravo for the brave post, Paul! I especially like your point that some people like to blog just to blog. I fall into that camp- blogging is not an extension of my small practice or a sounding board for a company I represent. If it were, you better believe that I’d be posting ’til the cows come home! I have to remember not to compare myself to others who post more thought-out or researched blogs entries. Not that there’s anything wrong with that- it’s great that they can create meaningful articles with facts to back them up. I don’t have as much time for that, between school and work, but I also try to always post something of value that comes from my experience.

    In the end, we’re not rocket scientists nor are we brain surgeons. We’re just communicators. All this social media stuff is pretty easy to figure out, so we should be more mindful of creating a helpful community rather than one based on who has more numbers than the other person.

    • February 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment Krista. To be honest the point about people blogging just to blog is the point I feel strongest about.

      I’m also with you regarding the point that this isn’t supposed to be that hard. I thought the beauty of social media was that it was a way for ‘regular people’ to have a voice. Maybe I was wrong, maybe early adopters claiming to know the only way to engage online is a better model.

  4. February 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Great post, Paul. Have you seen this one by Dave Armano? http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2012/02/jerk.html Think you’ll enjoy it. The comments are even better!

    • February 8, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks Frank. I just read it and you are right the comments are priceless.

  5. February 14, 2012 at 10:54 am

    OMG, I LOVE this post. I am an eye roller and agog when a post of nonsensical crappola gets 75 comments and 100 RTs; how the flip does that happen???? Got any insight?

    Then I remember, I’m not writing about life and my boyfriend sucks or woe is me. I’m writing about my career path — a specialty blog oriented to professional writing with some personal innuendo littered in to keep the intrigue, dontchaknow.

    What’s that called … false egocentrism? Dunno.

    • February 14, 2012 at 11:21 am

      Thank you so much for the comment. I think the answer to your question can be found at the checkout stand of every grocery store. Appealing to the lowest common denominator does sell. Seriously, I worry not about the countess people that comment and RT aimlessly and more about the people who think they are so smart just because someone says they are.

      Cheers and happy Valentines day.

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