Distracted By “Social” Popularity

by Jay Deragon on 03/07/2011

Social media has become a runway for the popular. Pop stars, entertainment idols and social media gurus have simply found a new tool to distract an audience from the meaningful and significant to the meaningless and insignificant.

It seems that the bulk of people and organizations  actively using social media are doing so to further their popularity even if it means propagating meaningless and insignificant content that merely matches the “buzz of the moment”. The “buzz of the moment” ranges from outlandish behavior of movie stars (Charlie Sheen)  to self promotion of one’s latest book, white papers and how to manuals.  The audience seems hungry to devour these morsels of content that only fuels the distraction which begets popularity for the moment. The next moment is then created by someone else or some organization again propagating meaningless and insignificant “chatter” aimed at gaining popularity which is used as influence.

Just consider the top 10 most talked about topics on Twitter on March 2:

  1. #tysonsback (promoted)
  2. #tigerblood (new)
  3. #thirstychicks (new)
  4. #isbetterthan (new)
  5. Twitter CRUSH (new)
  6. Shahbaz Bhatti (new)
  7. Unemployed Winner (new)
  8. Paranormal Blacktivity (new)
  9. Emilio Estevez (new)
  10. Adonis DNA (new)

By the way, the top ten discussed topics on Twitter change moment by moment but in the aggregate the popular topics of any given day rarely signify anything of real importance to the human network.  On a rare occasion we may see “tweets representing the revolution in the middle east” or “tweets discussing major economic developments” but as indicated these are rare.

Blogging for Popularity or Influence?

There are many “popular” blogger’s who are on speaking circuits, have published numerous books, have massive following and coverage by main stream media and all this popularity has made them influential. Social celebrities seem to be following similar behavior patterns as celebrities created from old media channels. The popularity leads them to believe that their popularity has created influence and made them socially savvy and  self appointed with all the popular wisdom about all things social.

While demand for popularity and influence is increasing so is the demand for maturity in thinking and value. Being popular and influential for the moment drives ego’s to stay at the top of a race going no where.  Ever heard the analogy of frogs sitting in slow boiling water? Ego’s fed by popularity are sitting in the water whose temperature is rising and they don’t even know it. Sooner or later they will drown in their own popularity while the crowds move to people and things that increase value and learning.

Whether you blog for personal or business engagements doesn’t matter. We are headed to a point in time that our social value index will become a measure of our individual social worth. The difference in worth is not a monetary or popularity measure rather it is and will continue to become a relational measure of value we create and share with others. Financial gain only comes from providing social worth to others.

The measure of any relationship is based on the value of exchange. There is no room for  chasing  popularity or influence in any healthy relationship whether one to one or many. There is only room for the value in learning from each other.  Learning hasn’t always been popular but it will create the right kind of influence that last longer than a moment.

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