Watch your snobbery!

So I wasn’t familiar with the term ‘geek snobbery’ until quite recently.

Until then I was wracked with guilt when I dealt with it, I always assumed it was something I did.  At the same time I lamented the mechanics of it, and vowed to get revenge against being snubbed.  The other call was for the end to ‘high school drama’ and petty politics.  (Sounds familiar doesn’t it?)

Quite recently at my last conference, I was faced on countless occasions of being snubbed.   As it seems, I’m not part of the ‘cool clique’ anymore.

Then again, I’m getting older and wiser.  Being part of the ‘cool clique’ is not on my list of things to do this afternoon.  Tomorrow isn’t looking too good either.

My point is this.  Although we are tribal and have a tendency to create communities of like-minded individuals (i.e. sub-cultures), we have to fight the urge and tendency to be exclusive.  Not that we cannot be selective of who we include in our tribe, but the ‘snobbery’ limits our success and fruition of said tribe in pretty dramatic ways.

I was exposed recently to experts at SOBCon a few weeks ago, and I was finally exposed to the fact that we can all be geeks and share our knowledge with the world.  That technology expertise is not limited to the chosen few, but it’s for everybody (and you can make money doing it).  Adopting an all inclusive attitude and abundance mentality has brought me considerable wealth and resources as of late.

When I returned to an old geek social circle, I was reminded very quickly of the difference between inclusive and exclusive.  I realized that it wasn’t me causing all of the drama, but it was the environment itself.    The tribe wants to be exclusive and protect itself from all outside influence that doesn’t agree with their reality.   Even worse, it’s at a subconscious level (read: it’s not about you) and very reactionary.  It’s sad to me because those who choose to snub others and be judgmental are really missing out on the fun and resources in life.

Check your Snobbery at the door.

Here are some things I keep in mind

  • There are plenty enough resources for everyone.  Adopt an abundance mentality.

The best example I can give is when my geek friends attempt to court members of the opposite sex.  Most of the time, when things don’t as expected in said relations, there is a backlash of anger and resentment.  When the truth is, it just didn’t work out.  It’s not a permanent reflection of yourself or your personality.   And there are plenty of other guys and gals out there.   Same with friends and groups that set themselves up to be the authority.  If you adopt this mentality, then the snubbers will get exactly what they want, which is to be alone and miserable.

  • Check your motivations and intentions, and take responsibility for them

I used to be horridly guilty of this one.  Most of my actions revolved around one-upping or besting someone else.  It was even more annoying when someone else was trying to one-up me.  It’s a destructive cycle that damages everyone and everything in its path.  When I took responsibility of my intentions and I connected with the things I enjoy doing, then one upping becomes less attractive.  Even better, when being one-upped, it reflects poorly on said person rather than yourself.

  • Be open to better and different experiences

I remember the “Everybody’s Free” song in which ‘do one thing every day that scares you’.  In addition, having the courage to ‘be bold’.   The only way you can accomplish either is to be open to things outside of your ‘comfort-zone’.  Remember, you’re only limiting your own success by keeping things that you’re not familiar with out of it.  You didn’t learn how to walk without falling and bumping your head.

Lastly, If you find yourself in an environment that is stagnant, drama filled, and very negative, do a gut check.  Ask someone outside of your circle for an objective opinion.  You may be surprised what you find out.  Another way is to combat this is to socialize with other groups of people.  I try to meet someone new every day.  I like going out to networking events for this exact purpose.  I meet people that I would have never run across keeping my door shut.

To your success in 2009!

Social Media ‘experts’

So the bandwagon has officially been jumped.

You know it has when we go from Whoopi Goldberg saying that Twitter is silly, to geeks revolting over the fact that Oprah has decided to get on Twitter.

But even further back from that, we have a buzzword for ‘Social Media’.   I’ve had a personal blog since 2002 on LiveJournal.  I’ve had a MySpace page (which I purposely ignore) before Movies decided to use it as their promotional tools.  (insert chest-puffing geek cred here).   I don’t know if when Twitter hit mainstream, all of these various ‘social networks’ got grouped under ‘Social Media’.  But I was amused to hear the buzzword when I started hanging out with the Twitter crowd.

But back to the ‘expertise’ issue.  Seems the bandwagoners and other dreamers now want a piece of the pie.  So a call for a ‘social media expert’ has been made.  The debate even permeates through the real end-users of the technology, the geeks.   We’ve been screaming at the mainstream ‘where the hell have you been all of this time?’

I personally think that the call for Social Media experts really boils down to various people who don’t understand it, wanting overnight success in the arena.  “If I build this website, use Twitter and Facebook to promote it, I’m going to make a ton of money.  Automatically.”

As much as I like to engage in dreams, I caution those people that it’s all been done before.  This premise was the reason for the ‘dot-com bust’ that we all know and loved.  I always believe that if it were that easy, the skillset could be duplicated and EVERYONE could be doing it.  Regardless, what I consult people on is that

Social Media is part of your overall marketing strategy.

The equalizer now is the concept of Authenticity. Sure you can draw attention to yourself, but the question is Why the hell should we be interested in you?  The people that stick around are the most authentic.   I hope to display that authenticity to the best of my ability, hence the blog.

Lastly, I also believe if you need an ‘expert’, the only reason is that you want to ‘get from where you are, to where you want to be.’  If I had to go to someone for advice, one person I look to is Liz Strauss (http://www.lizstrauss.com/ and http://www.successful-blog.com/).  I chat with Nick Kinports from Ad-Maven (http://admaven.blogspot.com/) who preaches the ‘total package’ solution as well, and is part of a larger advertising firm.  Keep in mind also, that I don’t consider these people ‘experts’ with higher value than me.  I’ve met them in person, and consider them friends.  I connect with them on that level.

What a social media expert is not.

People with higher Twitter Follower / Facebook Friend counts than you. We have a saying amongst friends that the number of social networks friends is inversely proportional to the number of real friends you have.  Although I can toot my own horn to say I defy that logic.

Any ‘social media expert’ with no business experience or education behind it: Again, read the authenticity piece.  I love all of the internet marketers and get rich quick people out there to death. I really do.  But the main reason I’m in business is because I got tired of being pitched by said people.

An expert should not be the first person you talk to or the loudest voice in the room. I run into this all of the time in my IT consulting business.  Their ‘expert’ has led them astray and I have to not only help them out but gain their trust as the new ‘expert’.  There are various strategies to ‘position you as an expert’ but chances are they are not the best resources for information.  I always have the thought of ‘trust but verify’ and challenge them.

To your success in 2009!

AD-Maven’s article http://admaven.blogspot.com/2009/04/opinion-on-big-brands-state-of-game.html

Liz Strauss’s article http://www.lizstrauss.com/2008/10/27/everyones-business/experts-and-gurus-arent-necessarily-the-best-social-media-teachers/

Image courtesy of clementpetit2 on Flickr