Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Tag Archives: Chris Brogan

The Social Ego System

On Sunday, Brian Solis tweeted:

As you might imagine, at first many people were confused and assumed Brian mean “ecosystem.”  But, in fact, he hadn’t erred.  Nope. He actually meant to type “egosystem.”  I find this fascinating, because the one single truth that 99% of people refuse to acknowledge is that social media has nothing to do with “adding value,” “conversations” or “engagement.”  None of those things really matter.  What social media is all about though, is EGO.  To quote Al Pacino from The Devil’s Advocate, “Vanity is definitely my favorite sin. So basic. Self-love. The all-natural opiate.” That’s what social media is all about.

The rise of social media has simply given everybody the ability to stroke their own ego in public. And let’s be honest, it’s no fun stroking your ego in the comforts of your own home and without an audience.

This isn’t a brand new concept. Years ago I worked on Hallmark. We wanted to understand the emotional reason that people bought and sent Hallmark cards. After months of research, it became clear that the real reason people bought and sent Hallmark cards was they wanted CREDIT. It wasn’t about doing something nice for your fellow man, friend, family member, or colleague. No, it wasn’t something that nice. It was all about them wanting to have you owe them. Think about it. If I send you a birthday card, sure it makes you feel good, but it also makes you say, “wow, that was really thoughtful of Adam, I’ll make sure I send him one too.” If the card was really thoughtful and unexpected you’ll even share it with other people – which simply grows my stature in their eyes.

Kinda makes you feel a little dirty huh? Well guess what? Social media is the same thing. People add value on twitter so that they can grow their followers and get that all mighty re-tweet. They offer helpful advice on their site, because they want traffic, want their site to be “dugg” and passed on. Trust me, it’s all about the means justifying the ends. And in this case the ends are things like money and speaking invites. Having met a lot of the so-called leaders in this space in person I can tell you I’m unimpressed. Maybe my standards are too high. But, for people that are supposed to be about providing value and engaging in conversations – they certainly come across as ego-centric broadcasters (no two way conversation).

I encourage you not to feed these people. If you do, you’re simply growing the giant social ego system.

Can You Spare Some Change

Twitter is fast becoming an over saturated destination for people to “beg” for money. Whether it’s money for Daniela (which I gave $100.00) or Sarah Evans asking for sponsors to fund a conference, twitter is fast becoming the hip place to ask for money. You’ll hear people like Chris Brogan asking for only $10.00 for a good cause. I mean, heck what’s $10.00. Well it’s not much till you keep giving $10.00 to every single cause or request on twitter. And trust me there are 1,000s.

Twitter is starting to resemble an episode of South Park titled, “Night of the Living Homeless.” In this episode:

“The number of homeless people in South Park is increasing as they eat, sleep, and beg for change across the town. While the adults try to find creative solutions to deal with the homeless, the boys are trying to figure out a way to solve the problem for good.”

Here’s a video to show you how I’m starting to feel.

Folks I’m all for a good charity. Really I am. As I noted above I gave David Armano $100 for the Daniela cause. His DM to me indicated I was the first person to donate. But, at what point do we need to draw the line? At what point does twitter simply start to resemble a bunch of people screaming for your money, while you’re just trying to have a conversation with some friends.

It’s gotta change, because I don’t have anymore change to spare. Oh – if you want to support the Susan G. Komen foundation please buy this book…you’ll learn a lot about social media in the process. I wrote chapter 2 and we could really use your spare change to make a difference.

Are You In The Collection Business?

Quality not quantity. How long have we heard this battle cry? We council our clients that it’s about quality. It’s now about amassing millions of email addresses if only 10 of them are people who want to hear from you. It’s not about buying lists from Experian and direct mailing the entire country. These types of frivolous concepts are expensive, wasteful, time consuming, and take focus away from reality.

A trend that’s been on the rise for a while, but now getting absurd is people focusing on the number of followers they have on twitter and the number of friends they have on Facebook. This isn’t limited to people who don’t know any better. Industry leaders like Sarah Evans have started focusing on this as well. I asked Sarah why she wanted to be friends with someone on Facebook that she didn’t know. Her response was

it’s another way for me to get to know ppl. plus there’s a way to create groups on Facebook.

Gotta tell you, while I respect Sarah a hell of a lot, I’m just not buying it. People like Robert Scoble, Loic Le Meur, and Chris Brogan have either reached Facebook’s 5000 friend limit or are close to it. Please tell me how it is you can consider 5000 people your “friend?”  Can you really have a meaningful dialogue with these people?  Maybe I’m missing something…and believe me I totally could be.  I’m not infallible.

Are we simply collecting friends like we did garbage pail kid cards in the 80s?

Think I’m crazy? OK, there’s now a service that asks the question

What If You Could Press Just One Button & Automatically Start Getting 1000’s Of Legitimate New Twitter Followers On Autopilot… Even If Nobody Knows Who You Are Now?

Of course the service promises to help you get those 1000s of followers.

People we’re missing the point. How can you maintain solid, strong, and meaningful relationships with millions of followers and “friends.” You can’t. I’d argue that focusing on more hurts your ability to create value.

Make no mistake, VALUE, is the commodity we should be trading. People are not cards, comic books, or coins to be collected. If you treat them that way they’ll eventually treat you that way and trade you in for something else.