You Can’t Fake the Funk: A Social Media Gut Check

Over the past week, I’ve read some great contrarian posts… There were the life without Twitter posts from @djwaldow (here), @unmarketing (here) and @lisabarone (here). @justinkownacki had some great pain point posts as well, especially Why I Need You To Be a Better Audience, which had comment discussion that rivaled the awesomeness of the original post.

To add fuel on the fire, I had a great side DM discussion with @ambercadabra during one of her webinars last week where she invited me to disagree with her on a certain topic.

The limited number of folks in the social media space who know me personally know that I’ll happily disagree if I feel passionately about a subject, but I don’t do that a ton here (my blog).

I don’t think it is intentional though… I don’t think saying the same things that everyone else says or talking about topics that everyone will click on is important.  It is writing with passion, conviction, or just sharing what you know.

That leads me to this post.

Tonight I was followed by another self-proclaimed social media expert.  I’m not going to bash on that, because in all honesty, there are folks that I DO consider to be social media experts despite the audible groans heard throughout the crowd if anyone says that.

My favorite thing about success is that you can’t fake it.

You can’t game the system (at least not for long).  And for the most part, the thought leaders self-regulate the community, even if unintentionally.  The cream will metaphorically rise to the top.

Think about the last networking event you were at.  For the most part, whether it is someone who is mega-famous, or a bottom feeder like myself, if you can hold intelligent conversation and offer insight… you can talk to anyone.  There aren’t as many cliques in social media as it appears.  Smart people like talking to smart people.  Followers don’t matter.  Blog subscribers don’t matter.  Popularity doesn’t matter.  Authentic smarts matter.

I grow tired of posts about social media etiquette. Yes, it is very important, but to me it is pretty easy… be yourself.

If you’re an ass, people will know.  If you’re a nice guy, people will know.  If you have your act together, people will know.

Personal branding awareness is at an all-time high.  Anyone off the street can start a blog, proclaim expertise, build a following, and appear to be one hell of a social media expert, consultant, guru, ninja, or whatever you prefer.

But who the hell cares?

If we spend our time policing against the imposters – we suffer.

Our communities suffer.

All of those things will work themselves out in the end.

What are you doing to improve your community?

So people of power with your Twitter followers, blog subscribers, advertisers, sponsors, etc… What are you doing to advance those around you?

I have been absolutely amazed by the folks I’ve met that are doing incredible things in their communities… even if it is taking the time to talk with anyone and everyone about what they’re doing and what questions they have.

I love seeing that and love you all for doing that.

Being able to monetize what you love and making your career feel less like work is extremely important, but there are plenty of times we can help others without expecting compensation.

That could be volunteering select speaking opportunities, helping high school or college courses in your areas of expertise or engaging with your community to the point of being helpful.

Nothing ground-breaking here, I just think we need to say: ask not what your community can do for you, ask what you can do for your community… or something like that.

Please feel free to comment on what you’re doing to help others through social media or in social media. The NCSU MBA course on social media is coming back this Fall and I’d love to add more of you as guest speakers. Thanks for taking the time to read this and please drop a quick comment if you have another minute. :) @cnmoody

Thanks for reading this post.

Follow me on the rest of the webs.

Still not sure who wrote this post? I'm Chris Moody.


  1. From what I've seen this week, many of us with long-term experience in the social media field are reaching our breaking point with the status quo. This is a good thing. But as some of my commenters have pointed out, our frustration alone won't solve the problem; our actions will.

    I think we need to present more valuable advice that extends beyond the entry-level mantras repeated by all “experts.” Those of us with actual experience need to mine those experiences, crunch those numbers and start sharing the kinds of metrics and theories that can advance the field beyond the basics.

    I also welcome more complex debate among the practitioners. This requires us to ask the questions we're sometimes afraid to ask, question the theories of others, and more fully research what's already been said so as to avoid creating more unnecessary white noise.

    In short: we need to lead by example. Because if we don't, the field will stagnate and those of us with the ability to nudge it forward will lose interest. So drop your oars in the water, folks, and let's row.

  2. Justin – Great insight.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

    One of the main reasons I've worked with Claudia Kimbrough at North Carolina State University to set up a social media course was for the reasons you mentioned. We do need to take some accountability and lead by example.

    We're in the middle of one of the most desired fields in the world and if we aren't doing what we can to share, develop and advance others… is there really a point?

    To me the whole nature of social media is about giving and sharing… and I hope that everyone continues to feel this shared pain and works to give back.

    People want to learn and when they want something… they'll get it. We just need to make sure that they're getting it from the right people.

    Last year some of those “right people” are listed here and I hope to grow that list as well.

  3. It is no surprise that I am no expert in social media, but I do know this, I love to help people who are passionate or who are in need. What a great platform to reach so many from a single location. No longer do we need to travel leaps and bounds to reach out, connect, and make a difference. I see you are excited about serving the community you live in. I think that is amazing. What about serving the community that we live and breathe in (well I do) online. Twitter has given me an outlet for multiple forms of serving…from donating to a cause, to praying for multiple people/situations, bringing awareness to an event/cause/situation, or to simply RT a post to help someone get answers. This is the community we “live” in…serving can start here, but it must never end here…great post Chris.


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