Here Come the Social Media Zombies

Uh-oh!  Hes going to tweet us!

Uh-oh! He's going to "tweet" us!

Michael Pinto over at yesterday sharpened his pencil and stuck it in the eye of self-proclaimed “Social Media Gurus.” Showing about as much restraint as a mace to the skull, he headlined his post: “Social Media Experts are the Cancer of Twitter (and Must be Stopped). Kudos for not using any exclamation points.

Too bad Michael closed down the comments section on the post — I’m sure it would have been amusing to read all of the responses and the overreaction to his post, which despite the headline, isn’t as inflammatory as it sounds.

Despite the hyperbole, Michael makes a couple of interesting points. Twitter, Friend Feed, and do have sub-communities of rather aggressive power users. They spend an inordinate amount of time bickering with each other (and snubbing newbies). There are alliances and battles — and betrayals. It’s not unlike a day playing World of Warcraft. That’s why if you observe this community, as I have been for the last few years, you get to see these flare-ups and arguments in all their glory. They usual start with a sharply worded post such as “Social Media Experts are the Cancer of Twitter (and Must be Stopped).”

Then sides are drawn and barbed attacks (usually personal) begin. When the smoke clears — well, nothing much as changed.

But Michael makes a provocative point in his post. One of the most important parts of participating in social media isn’t to pontificate. It’s to listen. When you’re just waiting to talk or shouting through a bullhorn then there really isn’t a point to engaging online. Social media is about connecting, passing on information, gathering data, and finding out new things. When you over-extend — gathering up “friends” and “followers” like acorns – there is a good chance you’ll stop listening.

So what does this latest social media flare-up mean for the average user of new media platforms? Not much. Social media works — when used correctly.

I will disagree with another part of Michael’s post. He referred to Robert Scoble as one of the zombies. I’ve worked with Robert before and found him quite professional and engaging. Yes, he has the distracted, frenzied look of a man who needs to unplug for a few days and read a good book. But he’s not a zombie. He’s a robot.

I’ve seen the wires.

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