From thought leaders to followers

YesNoMaybeStandford Smith over at Pushing Social suggested a number of steps to get smaller blogs recognised, and maybe even pushed, by the "Super Influencers." As he stated in a comment he "realized that most people don't even do the basics" when it comes to networking and getting themselves out there.

He advocated targetting successful bloggers and his tips included reading their blogs to learn their post style and attending conferences where they are speaking. While, at their root, they were common sense tips I took issue with the way they were presented: becoming what he calls a true fan.

Doing your research is a must but I'm not sure I would couch it in the terms "Memorize the Song Lyrics"; listening to someone talk at a conference can be beneficial but "Attend Every Concert"? I think not. In my comment at the time I referred to the post - somewhat tongue in cheek - as "A social stalker's charter."

Discussion & Debate

Steven Hodson, interestingly, wrote of Social Media the day after I made my comment:

It has become a swampland of branding , buzzwords, and self-gratifying back-slapping. The fact is people don’t want to hear dissenting or differing viewpoints that attack their favorite social media totems

He went on to say that if you weren't willing to "big up" the current social superstars then you will remain anonymous. Whilst I agree with his initial sentiment to a degree I believe that you don't have to be sycophantic to exert influence.

The social web has - over time - lost most of the initial impetus; there has been a shift in mindset since the halcyon days of the early adopters striving to understand where social media would take us - everyone is now very much accepting of the status quo. The social web has achieved ubiquity (which is what we were all striving for) but now seems to have stagnated. Everyone is thinking 'how can I use what I have' rather than 'how can I get more' - the thought leaders are now just followers and it seems many of the original ideas have died.

The discussions and debates have been largely replaced with how to crib sheets and social media bibles - my way or the highway, but we need to get back to questioning the current position instead of trying to become clones of the so called experts. Instead, finding our own voices and exploring all other avenues.

Au contraire

You don't have to be beligerent and disagree out of spite - we all have our opinions. It is the differences which make our social discourse interesting, valuable and fruitful. Even if you may disagree you still need an indepth knowledge of that with which you disagree in order to be able to understand it and better present your own argument. A contrary position is not necessarily a derogatory or aggressive one but, merely, a different opinion.

Social types and bloggers positively encourage comment and must welcome contrary standpoints. Why? They make us either re-affirm our position by having to argue our case or even to persuade us that we were wrong; we must not be afraid to admit this whether we are small time or a six figure blogger.

While we all like to have our egos stroked from time to time the Super Influencers can, just as readily, promote the little by way of intelligent discourse and a back and forth exchange even if you do not see eye to eye.

We do not discover unless we question.

Image by Johnny Grim.

  1. Stanford says: #
    Interesting post. You highlighted one of the dangers that I saw when writing the post, that readers would gravitate to the extreme position. I am not advocating blind hero worship. I am advocating good ole market research. With the Web drowning in blogs, publishers need to partner with influencers who can get their message to a wider audience. My post WAS a "crib sheet" for the blogger who needed some practical steps. Even though many may not need this advice, many others still do. By the way, I do not believe you should be an influencers sidekick. If you don't agree with the guy or gal, move on. You have to live with your message in the end.

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