How dare you denounce the gods!?

Clouds with crespuscular raysA recent tweet by a friend of mine struck me. She said something along the lines of “just because I don’t agree with So-And-So (big name social media guru) doesn’t mean I need to get privately burned via direct message.”

I approached her via DM explaining how every once in a while, I’d like to respectfully disagree with some of these PR and social media professionals we have collectively dubbed “gods.” Respectfully disagree as I would do with anyone else. But why haven’t I? Why can’t I?

Because: I would literally be stoned to death via 140 characters at a time by an overwhelmingly loyal band of lemmings. Yeah, I said it.

People like Chris Brogan, Peter Shankman, Sarah Evans, Brian Solis, all brilliant people in my book, have attained status beyond what I could ever imagine for myself. (Nota bene: I’m dropping these names because I’m pretty sure you know who I’m talking about. This is in no way an attack on any of them.) But anytime I’ve ever wanted to publicly say something less than “way to go, you are so right!!” to a figure of this status, I have to stop myself in fear of being blacklisted, hurting my professional reputation, etc.

How is that in any way a productive community?

I’m going out on a limb here to maybe say what some people might possibly be thinking. Eviscerate me here in the comments section, cheer me on, or ignore me – feedback and thoughts are appreciated.

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  • KDMisevich

    Cheers to you Kate for approaching a topic that most people probably think about. I also noticed that people are often unwilling to raise constructive criticism when it comes to SM big wigs or even celebrities on Twitter. I see what you are saying about the importance of engagement as it relates to being able to disagree.

    Social media is a unique forum where feedback is only 140 characters, can be seen by everyone and RTed a million times over. This makes it harder for people to feel comfortable disagreeing.

  • jeffespo

    Kate – this is a great post and Kelly makes great points as well. I'm general there are more sheep than individuals on many SM sites.

    One of the things that first drove me to SM was the fact that everyone was put on an equal communications playing field and was an open conversation where everyone contributed.

    Too many people hold the early adopters and speaking circuit crowd's words as gospel and blindly RT. They'd rather RT a CB post that says delete all of your accounts and kill yourself than have someone chime in that's stupid.

    I wish more people would disagree with things openly and talk them out. I've gotten the DM bashing but ignore them – if you have the stones do it in the open. Talk your side out – its how I've had some of my best #chatXYZ experiences.

  • Lex_D

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. While I find that people like Peter Shankman, Sarah Evans, Chris Brogan, are EXTREMELY approachable (shockingly so), it's often their followers who cause problems.

    You've mentioned it on Twitter, but I see it a lot in the comments section of blogs, too. Other readers will sometimes pounce on a dissenting opinion (even respectful ones). It's more time-consuming (and annoying) to have to DEFEND your opinion than to DISCUSS it, and that often makes me decide it's not worth the time to say anything.

    @Lex_D