As social media matures, it’s great to see new and emerging talent coming through the pipeline. There are great folks on the corporate and agency side who are starting build some nice credibility for them and their clients.
What has me waxing a little angry today is some of the “good ‘ol boys/girls club” of so-called social media pioneers or experts who continue to shut out bright minds who differing points of view. There is no reason to name-names because there are so many of them. They aren’t always the “who you expected” but they are pervasive and their desire to “own” the conversation around the direction of social media and social business design are almost laughable.
These are the people quick to criticize others who take risks and even sometimes make mistakes. These are the people who practice what the great rock ‘n roll philosopher Sammy Hagar once called “mental masturbation” in his legendary rock anthem “There’s Only One Way to Rock.” They’re about self-gratification and selling themselves instead of how to produce tangible outcomes for their clients or cultish like followers.
The reason I am drafting this post isn’t because I’ve been on the downhill side of one of these people or because one of them slapped my hand. It’s simply an observation as I watch new people come into the realm we all play in and see them beaten down by people who have an over inflated sense of what they really know.
As you will see today, we launched a pretty cool and significant initiative at TurboTax to scale Twitter across our organization and help customers there in a more meaningful way. How successful it is still remains to be seen. But we are hard at work making sure we react and talk to customers when and where they want us. We’re active in social networks because our customers want us to be.
To that end, I am sure we’ll get some folks who criticize or downplay what we’ve done. That’s OK.Â In their insulated world of only TweetUps and conference speaking gigs, many of these people fear actually doing the work. It’s one thing to be a brilliant mind and analyze what it all means for business but another to actually own the outcomes and stand in front of corporate executives and prove out the cost is worth the investment.
Look, I attend and speak at those types of events. They’re useful and I love attending. But this rock star treatment is getting a little old. It’s all about results people and if the so-called gurus aren’t showing how social is linking back to real business results, they’re no better than the recent college graduate working at a PR firm using these tools every day.
Every business has it’s “A” list. Not all of us get on it and that’s just fine. There are trend-setters and visionaries we have much to learn from. They push us into new directions and force us to think of these new channels and tools and what they mean to human interaction. They challenge us to understand deeply the implications and what they mean for interpersonal relationships and what they can mean for business. There are visionaries and brilliant people on the cutting edge of this growing trend. They don’t number in the thousands or even the hundreds, perhaps even the dozens, in my opinion.
There is amazing work and innovation happening in the trenches out there. Let’s not sell those people short. Let’s hear about their success and hear about what they’re doing to make it all work and how it’s impacting their business.
Until then, it’s all just mental masturbation.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, hear me speak at the Gravity Summit UCLA, February 22, 2010. I’ll share real stories with real results and I promise I won’t make you by a book or kiss my ass.