Winning at AntiSocial Media the Steff Way

There’s a social media camp happening over on Vancouver Island, and someone’s first quote was, “Social media isn’t about you.”

Really? Ahem.

Every person I follow or engage with is because they’re offering something unique to them. If it wasn’t about them, I wouldn’t give a shit. If they’re just spouting links with no personal interjection, I don’t care.

T-Shirt design from Despair.com: http://www.despair.com/somevedi.html

If social media isn’t about YOU, then don’t bother.

I could pretend to care more about the people who followed me. I could engage more without provocation. I could follow more people. I could do the “shout-out-by-name” bullshit I so loathe.

And yet… I don’t.

And YET… I’m followed by people in every sector of the industries I’m interested in — and from lofty, lofty places. Editors, publishers, and media magnates follow me.

Largely, I guess, because I’m just “myself” online.

I don’t kiss ass, engage my powerful followers directly, “use” them as contacts, ask anything of them. I don’t do shout-outs or any of the things people will tell you are “good” Twitter.

And it works for me.

Because it’s all me, all day, all the time. I’m consistent, I’m constant, I’m myself, and I’m interesting. I diversify my stuff, I don’t apologize, and I am what I am. Loudly.

Maybe I could have even MORE followers than I do. But if I have to dumb myself down and be “nice” more, then I don’t wanna!

That’s what social media SHOULD be. It should be people being themselves — for better or worse — and putting it out there without apologies, as long as they’re respecting others and not being dicks.

I disagree with people, often, and disagree loudly. Every now and then my passion gets the better of me and I disagree a bit disrespectfully — and that’s not cool. Generally, though, I manage to toe the line pretty well. I still isolate people, but that’s life when you’re bold.

Anyone who follows me because they like my piss-and-vinegar style of sardonic tweeting, but then unfollows me because we one day disagree on a topic, is clearly the sort of person who probably needs more hand-holding in friendship or debates than I’m given to provide. Or, they just plain don’t like diversity in people.

So, y’know, buh-bye.

Do you seriously WANT everyone to like you?

Have you SEEN what “everyone” entails?

These are the people who keep Jersey Shore on the air, who wear Ed Hardy, who slam Brittney Spears in one breath then buy her music in another… People who don’t know what they like, but change their tune once YOU do. People who kept King of Queens on TV for years, who think Tracey Morgan actually IS funny… People who celebrate mediocrity.

You want THEM to like you? What the fuck FOR?

Hi! I’m mediocre! I’m not really different. But lotsa people follow me!”

Seriously. Maybe this makes me a bitch. Maybe I’m “classist” for thinking there could be better cultural diversity out there.

Shit, I’ll buy that for a dollar, Pat.

Yes, I think my tastes put me in a select group as far as appeal goes, but that’s what branding of any kind should do. I’ll admit, my online presence is a sort of “branding.”

Isn’t yours? It should be. It ain’t selling out — it’s smarting-up, man.

There are those who suggest every person who follows you rates a follow-back. Why? WHY?

In life, does every person who wants to be your friend get to be your friend? NO.

Why? Because not everyone has something to offer you. Often, what they seek from you is what they can’t provide you.

Just because a guy’s interested in me in the Real World doesn’t mean I return that interest — usually because they don’t have anything to teach me, or don’t inspire me in any way, or just don’t make me think I’ll grow from our relationship.

Why should Twitter or Facebook be any different? Because you fuckin’ smell a dollar at the other end? Get real, you likely won’t make a penny off that extra follower, you’ll spread your focus thin, know less about everyone in general, and that’s that. Way to be “social”.

When we stop worrying about winning EVERYONE over to our side, we’ll start having more honest interactions.

And that brings us to the other topic I disagree with from Victoria’s Social Media Camp. “Social media means being social in real life too.”

Yes, to an extent, sure. But you have much to lose from being too visible. One can greatly control their image online. The more you’re social, the less intrigue you create. The more you’re social, the more you have to try to live up to that highly edited, highly opportunistic way of communicating online — and the more you can put your foot in it, so to speak.

Online, I’m funny and edgy and brash. It plays all right in person, too. But there’s some kind of intrigue I’ve created, accidentally, from not attending events often. As a result, I’m now less likely to attend events because I know there’s more buzz from going to them rarely than there is from being omnipresent, and, also, I know the people I do conspire to meet with feel more “special” because I don’t make myself available to everyone all the time.

Seriously, it’s working for me.

A few of my thoughts?

  • Pick your events wisely.
  • Ensure you have people on your side that’ll be there when you do attend.
  • Always know your “safe port in a storm” — a person you sidle up to when things feel they’re slipping away.
  • Make sure you have connections worth making by attending those events, that it’s not just the usual suspects you’ve befriended time and again — that’s not networking, that’s “hanging out”.
  • Shut your mouth until you’re confident your thoughts are relevant and you know what’s honestly being spoken about and even what the going opinions in the discussion are.
  • Don’t steal thunder from presenters at events by hogging questions or diva-ing it up with your resume before you ask a question, because other attendees will resent you. Resentment breeds distrust; way to shoot yourself in the foot. If your question is awesome, that’s ALL the introduction you need.
  • Know the limits of your appeal. Don’t oversell yourself.
  • Less is more.
  • Be interested in others — you’re not as important as you think you are, and showing that interest can be compelling to them.

You can’t undo bad appearances. You can’t take back a first impression. If you’re not feeling like you’re “on”, then don’t risk the damage that can come from appearing at a non-essential event when you’re not on your game.

Networking takes mojo. Being different takes actually operating differently and even taking risks.

And when you play the game, think about the long-term, not just the one event. Will it really help you obtain new ground? Or is it just another networking event where everyone who’s hungry for clients are all out competing for the same piece of meat — like a pack of hyenas on a single little fox’s corpse?

Because that’s most likely the case.

Networking with other entrepreneurs is useful occasionally, but don’t kid yourself that it’s a surefire way to pay the rent. Pick your battles and pick them strategically. In so doing, be yourself, ‘cos no one else has what makes you “you”.

Question is: Do you know what that “uniquely you” thing is? Time to find out, if you don’t.

You should follow me on Twitter, you know. Click Here.

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