Friday, January 23, 2009

Social Media and the Land of Misfit Toys

No matter how much things change, some things remain the same.

Take high school. Most people, no matter where they grew up, had similar experiences when it came to how social cliques took shape. This is the reason the movie The Breakfast Club is such a timeless classic - We all had popular kids, brainiacs, freaks, jocks, thugs, etc.... in our graduating classes. Everyone saw the experience from their own vantage point.

The majority of "too cool for school" people toned down their personal levels of self love and inflated egos after moving onto the real world. Observing people attending a 20 year reunion, there seems to be a great equalizer that takes over. Maybe this happens because they get older and fatter (and thus realize they are just human), or are so too tired to care about being the coolest kid on the block from five years of fighting aging - hello Botox!).

No matter what the reason, the older people get, the less seemed to care about cliques.

Until now. Welcome to the world of social media. Some of the "popular kids" in this new medium have begun to believe their own press. The levels of "full of self" and "full of shit" are reaching epic proportions.

I enjoy the interactions on Twitter, Blogging, Facebook, etc...., but there are some who have proclaimed themselves as the royal court and they look down their noses at those who are not part of the "Twitterati" (etc...). These self proclaimed "social media stars" are as phony as any pimply faced, Clearsil-covered teenager I have ever seen. Oh please.

I stopped following one guy because he is nasty. Sure 6,500 other fawn all over him, but the times I have seen him interact with others online there is a since of arrogance that I have not seen since sitting next to the homecoming queen in math class.

But to "unfollow" jerks comes easily in a social media world. You could not do that in high school. Wow, this is refreshing.

I also unfollowed anyone on Twitter who said mean spirited things during the United States Presidential Campaign. Sure, people can have differing opinions about political issues, but if they crossed the line and said mean and hateful personal stuff about Barak Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin...I just stopped following them. There is no time and no room in my social media world anybody who is dark in their soul.

I stopped reading the blogs of two popular bloggers that are seen as "all that and a bag of chips" in the blogosphere. They had clearly begun to believe that they were enlightened beyond the masses. Think Marie Antoinette. I don't want cake. At first I was curious what sparky outlandish things they might be saying, but within a week I no longer cared. I am not trendy-cool enough to be caught up in their wave anyway.

Today I read a tweet that said "I've noticed most guys who love talking about tech, Twitter, etc. actually have nothing to say. All megaphone and no message". I don't want to call the person who said it out by name, as that would be rude. His statement made me ponder about his message for a long time. Who is he judge the next guy's value? When was he appointed king of the internet? I must have been sick that day.

I am convinced that much of Twitter is just "noise", anyway, but so what. Sprinkled between the 140 characters of noise are powerful pieces of profound pontification. If you don't think someone adds to the stimulation of your brain, simply delete them from your Twitter Stream or stop reading their blog. Poof, they are gone from view, and their empty megaphone is no longer your problem. Why spend the time complaining about them, unless it is the superior feeling of the incessant whiner that you desire!

I tell my followers on Twitter that if I am just noise, they are free to unfollow me - no hard feelings. When I make such terse tweets I do see my numbers decline. But that is cool, because I only want to be connected with those whom there is a mutually mastered motif that magnifies the momentum of each other's mastery. If we cannot have a conversation, then we have nothing anyway.

We should all enjoy the ride that is the social media super highway. Moving fast and changing lanes is the name of the game. There are a lot of fun things to see along the way. But it is open to all, and we must not be overly judgemental of the others who have now come to play.

No matter how cool we think we are, we are all really living in the Land of Misfit Toys. And proud of it.

Have A Great Day.


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