No Egos Allowed

Earlier this week, I attended the first OkieSMart social media conference hosted by PRSA Tulsa, IABC Tulsa and the Tulsa Press Club. The keynote speaker was Peter Shankman, CEO of the Geek Factory and founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO). I’ve heard Peter speak a few times now, and find him to be entertaining and educational. One thing I find interesting about him is that he is not one to tout his expertise in social media but rather allows others to do that for him. That’s not the case with everyone I’ve run across in the world of Twitter, Facebook and other social media networks.

Several blog posts in recent weeks and months have called into question whether social media experts really exist, and if they do what is important for them to share with you. Check out a few of the ones I came across here, here, and here.

I still wonder what makes one a social media expert. Is it his participation on Twitter? Does it amount to the number of followers she has but not the quality of information she shares? To Peter Shankman, social media is about the quality not the quantity and I have to agree. My fear is that too many people take advantage of the uneducated or uninitiated people who simply hear that social media is the next “big thing” and need to jump on board.

I have run across a number of people who I find to be simply egotistical. To me, ego should not play a role in being a strategic partner for an organization. In my opinion, true counselors leave their own promotion at the door and instead focus on the needs of the organization with which he or she is working. When egos are involved, it’s far too easy to overlook the true objectives of the business and think only how the “social media expert” might benefit from the relationship being developed.

I’m intrigued by a new book coming out this fall called Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Relationships and Earn Trust. Building trust is difficult and requires a lot of effort on the part of the counselor. It’s baby steps that allow the understanding and shared mutual goals to strengthen a relationship enough for trust to be a part of it. It takes sacrifice on the part of the counselor to recognize when he or she needs to step back and listen versus speaking out too vocally.

What do you think? Am I on track with this thinking or am I off base?

Photo from Flickr.com: Denise Lamby

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