Yesterday I picked on my buddy Chris Brogan. Again. A genuine social media guru and one of the great successes in the field, Chris, like wine guy Gary Vaynerchuk, has become so much a victim of his own success that his missives lately have been reduced to Tony Robbins-like epithets:
Do Good Things, People
Now I swear I don’t actually want to pick on Chris Brogan, Gary Vaynerchuk, or anyone else; that’s just not productive. And let me repeat that I believe that both Chris and Gary’s recent pablum is more about feeling a need to KEEP PUBLISHING!!!! now that they’re so successful, their followers expect/want more and they expect the same from themselves—and because they preach continuous communications as their gospel.
In fact, I agree with them. You have to keep getting your message out there to be successful in social media.
But there needs to be a message. “Do Good Things People” is no more a message than “just ate a sandwich“. These are the experts?
It happens that yesterday I also came across a couple of messages by Jeff Jarvis. Jeff is another one of those “man of the moment” types, and has a long impressive pedigree suggesting enough common sense about publishing and social media and behavior that when I saw these I cringed. In order:
- Darn, I do like Canadians.
- Ottawa cabbie really did say “eh?” in every other sentence. I wanted to ask whether he knew he was a cultural cliché. But he was too nice
Dear Jeff Jarvis: I agree. Canadians, as a group, are nice, especially when compared to arrogant, judgmental Americans. And they know that we think they’re way cute. And they just don’t care. They have better things to do than worry about people from The States making jokes about them. YA HEAR ME, DUDE?
Once again, though, there’s no message, other than one that sounds like “Jeff Jarvis is an ignorant American” . . . which I know isn’t the case.
On to business change:
Social media serves one of two purposes, and if you do it right and are lucky, both. It’s either about getting a message out (lets call that the business part), or it’s about embracing a new way to make and maintain friends. I don’t believe Jeff Jarvis’ on-line friends, social network, or whatever are of a mind to hear him sound ignorant about Canadians. So was he going for funny?
Yes, I believe he was. And he missed.
Jeff’s a frequent guest on the Howard Stern show. He’s a funny guy, or The King of All Media wouldn’t keep asking him back. But 140-character Tweets aren’t the same thing as being on the radio. Or writing articles.
Social media isn’t going away. And Jeff Jarvis, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Chris Brogan have achieved critical mass, so they aren’t going away either, even if what they say is no more meaningful than what comes out of Kim Kardashian. YOU, on the other hand, have to do the social media thing, but not tick anybody off. It’s work. It’s hard. It’s Business Change of the highest order.