Before some of your expert/gurus get cranky and try to remind me that Adams used e-mail and such, allow me to point out that he did it himself, and he was actually involved with early versions of both e-mail and Usenet, and he certainly didn't need some dweeb with a bauhaus-lite website to say, "Hey, if you post more frequently, you'll keep your followers happy."* I have no doubt that he'd have a lovely snarky Facebook page and about 200,000 Twitter followers, and he simply wouldn't give a damn what these social media experts have to say.
Why? Because they have nothing to say.
Harrumph, you say! (Actually, you don't. By and large, the people that visit this site are friends and fans of mine, or are creative folks on their own. I am well aware that there are fellow writers and bloggers, a comic book creator, artists, a sculptor or two, a couple of editors, and (please God) maybe a publisher reading on this. There are photographers and graphic designers, one I believe is a painter, and one whom I believe is a multimedia artist working in the field of entropy - seriously. Creatives? Hell, yeah!)
So...harrumph, they say! And that sums up about all they have to say. Social media experts (or gurus, which is the de rigueur on Twitter, which is where they seem to be congregating) have created a niche market of their own.
In this market they declare that there is 1) a way to do things correctly, 2) people who know how to do these things, 3) that they are those people, and 4) you need these people. I've heard it described as a remora-like relationship to the shark that is the internet. I don't think that's accurate.**
My take on them is a little different. Remember, as a child, when you and a bunch of friends were hanging around, doing nothing except throwing a ball around, or pretending to shoot each other, or just making like characters from Narnia or Middle-Earth? There were no rules. You just had fun, doing what you did, letting your creativity rule the day?
Social media gurus were the twerps that showed up and decided there must be rules. You had to play baseball; you couldn't just throw a ball around. You couldn't just shoot each other; there had to be people on both sides. You can't have two Aragorns!***
Yes, those were the kids that everyone else hated. In my neighborhood, they were the kids that also got the crap beaten out of them on a regular basis, but that's neither here nor there.
Today their game is much the same. They show up and announce that there must be rules, and you must follow their rules. They post blog entries for others to read. Who reads them? For the most part, other social media experts do. What do they do then? They retweet it on Twitter**** or link to it from their blog. They mark it as "important" or "vital" to be read. Who do they send these links and retweets to? Other social media networkers. What happens? The social media circle jerk continues.
They guest-blog on each other's blogs. The host blog makes a big deal of it. The guest makes a big deal of it. Other experts point to it - it's a big deal! They put together radio shows and TV shows that are broadcast on the internet, and visit each other's shows.***** What do they talk about? How important what they do is.
My joke: How many social media gurus does it take to screw in a light bulb? 10,001: One to do the work, and 10,000 to blog about how important their work is. But I digress.
Then, to connect with the rabble (to justify their existence and to fool people into thinking they matter), they post their links and draw your attention to other parts of the internet. They send you to Digg, and YouTube, and CNN.com, and I Can Haz Cheezburger, and thousands of other sites out there. And, of course, they send you to thousands of social-media sites. Let's not forget that.
These social media experts have denoted the people that run these sites "content providers." That includes me, and anyone who has a tiny blog, website, page, or vlog. Regardless of whether or not they post links to it, anything that can be linked to is just "content."
My take on this? Go f*** yourself. I'm not a "content provider" and I'm not creating "content." I'm a writer. I write and I blog. You want to link to it, fine. I don't actually care. But don't ask me to adjust my site to make it easier for you to access my "content." It boggles the mind that these twerps need to lump everything together to comprehend it.
I think this is why they have their rules. You see their posts everywhere. "How to Use Twitter Properly," "The Rules of Facebook Etiquette," "Digg the Right Way!," "50 Ways to Increase Your Followers," and so on. Let's be clear. No one writes this crap except for social media experts. No one actually needs this crap except for social media experts. But who believes it?
A lot of people believe this. They get caught up in it. Anyone who has come recently to Facebook or Digg or Twitter is going to believe that these are actually rules - these are things they should know. They see these signs telling them this everywhere they look. They may even RT or pass along a link to one, without realize they're just helping shore up this falsehood.
But it's not true. It's an opinion, generated by a self-centered minority of those who participate, who want everyone else to play like they do.
In very recent days, Twitter has changed the way its replies work. (Don't ask me to explain further; I could care less.) It has brought out the worst in many of the social media experts. There has been a wailing, and a crying, and a gnashing of teeth from many of them. Worst yet, it precipated a hurricane of angry, self-righteous blog entries****** from these experts about how Twitter was a "social media site, and not just a chatroom."
Wow. Wrong. Twitter is, and has always been known as, a "microblogging" site. It is a place to write/blog in 140 characters or less. The initial idea was "what are you doing?" It was a way to simply communicate with people of a like mind, with friends, and with people you might find interesting. What it's not is a social media site. That's just another lie from the social media experts.
Microblogging. Small writing. Twitter was, and has been, a place to create. They're trying to change that, to add rules that no one else really wants. You know what? They can kiss my ass. Let's all be Aragorn.
*"And what's with this five-book trilogy? That doesn't make any sense. You're going to confuse people."
**Though, sticking with the nautical theme, I'd posit that they are closer to barnacles cluttering up the keel: "We make it go faster! We add color to that dull brown wood!"
***It goes without saying that these Social Media twerps always wanted to be Gandalf, right?****Sorry, Twitter comes up a lot because I participate in it, but also because it seems to be the current ground zero for that type. I suspect that because Twitter makes it so simple to mass follow (and unfollow) people, these expert/gurus find it easier to beef up their phony reputations here, and try to parley it into a phony reputation elsewhere, than it is to start on Facebook and import their bullshit to Twitter.
*****To non-social media experts, these are called "podcasts" and "webcasts." Seemingly, only the 'experts' feel a need to shore them up as 'radio' and 'TV' shows. They're not, you batch of liars.
******Cross-referenced to other blog entries that agreed with them, of course.