Clay Shirky, is someone who “get’s it” in a big way. Take 8 minutes to watch this.
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A-listers, movie stars, superstars and rockstars, every industry has them. Including ours. Social media, PR and Marketing. We love to worship them don’t we? We watch their every move. We’re fascinated by them. The only thing they might lack are the paparazzi and a posse. There’s just something about what they say and do and write that mesmerizes us. (Cue the chorus of angels) We have decided by our adoration that they hold the keys to the kingdom and thus we need and have decided to quote them and listen to them and follow them whenever we can. Is it wise? Seriously. Is it?
Admit it, you’d take some of that “rockstar” love if it was thrown your way. By that, I mean if you became an A-lister yourself, you wouldn’t turn down the title. Additionally, If they showed interest in you, or talked to you-you’d take that “bounce effect” as well, in a heartbeat. Hell, it might be why we all blog. We want what they got. It’s just that some of you might not admit it. It’s Ok. It’s not why I blog but the residual effect of the blog has certainly brought some notoriety with it that I was not prepared for, and thus I’m not going to reject it.
When you get right down to it, and where I might be in the social media food chain, I think I might be a J or K lister. And while we’re on the subject, lets ask ourselves why we are blogging. That’s right you- “Mr. or Ms. Stranger that I don’t know yet I trust more than an advertiser”. You, The New influencer, What is your endgame goal here? Is it to be a new influencer? To be a difference maker? A game changer?
Lets back up though. That’s not the sole purpose of this post. The duel purpose is to figure where we should place the A-listers in the social media food chain. Lets ask ourselves who’s eating who here? For example: I recently asked at one conference whether advertisers realized the influence that A-listers have just in the Twitter-sphere. I didn’t really get an answer to that. My point: Twitter followers look for A-listers, follow them immediately, and then jump all over those A-lister quality tweets. And why?
So let’s ask ourselves. What, if any, value or credence should we place with an A-lister when they utter anything? Be it in a micro-blogging platform, a conference, a blog post, a book, an e-book or a podcast. I know some have a body of work that certainly can belie their status. Others, are a tad bit more fuzzy. But even then, we have to be careful and we have to be selective of what we choose to listen to.
I say we read the menu, sample what you want, chew on what tastes good, and digest what will stay down.. Their’s is not the only restaurant serving something hot.
A couple of days ago, Mack Collier wrote about why he enjoyed the SMBU more than SXSW because it was more of a teaching gig than it was a big “look at me” Rockstar, fest. and frankly, I’m down with that. In fact, if I think back on the last 6 speakers I’ve listened to at various engagements, 4 of them had the same M O.
You see, we’re all guilty of our own MO or modus operandi, as well. Ours might look something like this: We show up at a conference, and wait for “the name” or the “A” lister to talk. When they take the stage, we sit on the edge of our chair, try to tweet something sharp and clever and original and game changing that he or she might say in their slotted time. Then we watch them hustle through their slides and then.. . they answer 4 questions, and poof, they’re done. I know thats not always the case but bear with me.
We then sit there with a few thoughts: They are: “Have I just seen the second coming? Or, WTF was that?” Or, “Did I get anything out of that just now?” Or maybe, “I can’t believe he or she really looks and sounds like that”. All the while the A-lister has stepped off the side of the stage into a throng of social media, marketing or PR groupies. At which point, the exalted one” answers maybe 1 or 2 more questions while 15-20 others hope that he or she looks their way. It’s at this point that I might shake my head, mumble something to the effect, “when is a speaker going to learn how to at least properly close their talk with something other than, “well it looks like my time is up, thanks.” Perhaps they should read Rohit’s blog post about how to avoid being a bozo when presenting?
In closing, I see that my time is up. But here’s your takeaway. There are a lot of people to listen to in this space. Some of them are not even close to being A-listers, and you know what? They still know their stuff. Maybe even more than the A-listers. Chances are, the A-listers might even be pulling their thoughts and content from them. It’s up to you to decide who you engage. Step back and decide why you are listening to them. Is it because “everyone” else is? Or because they make sense to you. If that’s the case, then stay the course. One last thought: If you’re blogging and you have a dedicated following, you might just realize that you are a thought leader yourself and not a follower of a social media A-lister with clay feet. And there ain’t nuthin wrong with that.