Ego too big: ergo : you lose!

Browsing the web makes me happy every day. On top of the nice, useful, intriguing, insightful and smart posts and content, there is always plenty of stuff that makes my day. Some people go lengths making a shiny boobadoowa of themselves. Egos and internet, it’s a dangerous combination.

Take lists. There are hundreds of them. The cutest frogs.  Best bed positions. Ugliest cars. Most stupid ways to die. Bizarre Marriage Laws. Tiny little lingerie sets Paris Hilton does not wear. Best ways to… you catch my drift. And when you say lists, you whisper competition. Because people do not always agree. Life as it is, the internet… better than reality TV.

Last week I bumped into a post of one of the self-proclaimed online gurus… -honestly, a nice, interesting knowledgeable guy- who went lengths suggesting interesting tweeps to follow.  To his credit, the list was interesting, encompassing people that really stood out… except… he had put himself on his own list. As one of the people who matter. Out of curiosity, I spent some time last night browsing through lists people propose on blogs and forums. Lists of influential people. To my astonishment people put themselves on their own lists often. Duh?

Look, I’ll never be accused of false modesty, ever…  But… there is a line in the sand, and across that line you do not…  let  other people decide where you rank, where you list, where you calibrate. Putting yourself in your own top 10 is a bit pathetic.  Sadly, it seems the only thing lots of self-proclaimed gurus care about…

While in Rome, do like the Romans…

It’s almost funny. I met a distinguished communication specialist, -expensive suit, nicely groomed grey hair- rambling at a cocktail party a week ago. He gave his attentive audience some remarkable quotes… one of them being that “digital communication is a nice to have these days”. Nice to have. That is what he is counseling his clients. Nice to have. When I wanted to know if he actually ever used social media, he confessed that he did “not have the time for any of that modern nonsense”.

I can find a plethora of well paid, highly intelligent consultants counseling their clients on digital: without any experience, knowledge, frame of reference or even remote understanding. People with less than a handful followers on Twitter, who never tweet, who are not experimenting, who have no access to any metric tools are helping brands decide on how to communicate. Do not get me wrong. I do not think for a moment that all wisdom and results come through or from social media. I am an honest believer in integrated communications. Keep the best of the past, add the best of today, and you’ll be armed for the future…

But, seriously, how can you give valuable advice on something you do not practice, that you do not know, and that you do not master? How do you take the responsibility? It beats me. These people do not have a clue how social media can be a great add-on to the communication mix. . The reason is mindblowing simple: they do not know, because they do not use it themselves. Management by example. Counseling by example. Only people who actively participate in social media are able to determine if their clients could benefit in any way. Not being involved in social media gives you absolutely no insights on what it is about. So you should be silent about it.

On every corner of the street, there is a self-proclaimed social media guru now, shooting some buzzwords in a presentation, and trying to tap into the marketing honey-pot.

Never take advice from a guru with an online social capital that is lower than your own. Call it street wisdom.

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