The Iconoclast’s Guide to Social Media
There are many guides, books, ebooks, blogs, podcasts and conferences about how to use social media effectively. “Influencers” make this world go around. However, I think people, at times, need to approach social media from the “Iconoclast” rather than “Influencer” point of view. Here are the symptoms that you might need to shake yourself up a bit:
- Blindly agreeing with the social media “A-Listers” and posting “Great post!” comments on their blogs?
- Can’t eat your morning scramble without the latest news from Mashable?
- Obsessively reading every social media book, even if you feel like you are reading the same book, over and over and over again?
You need to take an antidote. Become an Iconoclast. It doesn’t mean you have to become a jaded, cynical, mean-spirited jerk, but it helps. The option is becoming a too-agreeable, sycophantic, bland jerk. The choice is yours.
As a help, here are a few rules for the Social Media Iconoclast:
Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously
This is key to having it both ways (I prefer not to call it hypocrisy). Not taking yourself too seriously is important in case you become a popular blogger or (gasp!) an Influencer or (horrors!) a social media keynote speaker. It’s a great trick and it works. This is the first rule because it allows everyone in– even you, Mr. Social Media Influencer, can become an Iconoclast too. Just make it believable, or the rest of us will flay you.
Relax- You Jerk
Non-Iconoclasts are uptight, even defensive. Non-Iconoclasts (not limited to ”Influencers”) have endless reserves of energy. Non-Iconoclasts talk about social media 26 hours a day. I like sports, music, films and family activities. I need at least two hours per day for non-social media activities. I forget if I included sleep in my figuring. Perspective allows you to deflate the gas-bubble of social media importance.
Feed the Trolls- For Fun
Go ahead, poke a stick in the lion’s cage. I’m not sure this is really constructive, but I would like to see some of you try it to see what happens. The rest of us will learn from the consequences.
This is tricky, because a real Iconoclast won’t listen to this advice and stay far away from relentlessly negative Internet trolls. However, the best Iconoclasts can get away with troll-sparring. It’s an art, a master skill. The only way to find out is having the rest of you try it and see who succeeds. Let me know how it goes.
Ok, now that the troll-baiters are gone…
Befriend Your Critics/Criticize Your Friends
Befriending your critics isn’t Iconoclastic, but it makes this section header sound better. It does make you better to befriend your critics- rather than being defensive every time someone disagrees with you. Embrace it. Improve yourself. After all, those people may also be Iconoclasts.
Criticizing your friends is important, because it makes them better. Don’t be afraid of their objecting, or of their minions attacking you. You, sir or madame, are an Iconoclast, and can take it.
Check the water before you splash everybody
It is tempting to jump on the Internet and start ripping everyone. Don’t risk real collateral damage, as fun as it might be to come out guns a blazing and be That Person (not necessarily a Troll) who challenges everyone 24/7. A That Person is not an Iconoclast.
Once you are sure of your surroundings and know the water is good, however, perfect that cannonball. Splash everyone.
Have a Thick Skin
Remember criticizing your friends? Your friends may be Iconoclasts. They are coming after you. Take it in the spirit in which you would like it to be intended, and be secure in your own competent yet fallible self. Does that mean you are an Influencer as well as an Iconoclast? It happens. Remember I mentioned something about having it both ways.
Represent a brand? Go nowhere near your corporate accounts with your personal accounts
There is no room in an Iconoclast’s repertoire for torpedoing one’s own professional brand by being an idiot. Don’t accidentally post your brilliant, yet personal, snark on a company Twitter account (do I really need to link to the popular examples of such?). Keep those accounts far away from each other to lessen the chance. There is also a matter of nuance. Iconoclasm serves debate, scholarship, and improvement, not boorishness and name-calling, If you resort to rank name-calling, you are a weasel.
Have a stomach for others’ imperfections
You are not perfect. I am not perfect. The “Influencers” are not perfect. That’s okay, even if they don’t know it. There is a difference, however, from it being okay being imperfect and not pointing out those imperfections. Point them out. Privately. Publicly. After all, Iconoclasts exist to improve the Influencers’ material. Love the blemishes, while making sure the whole world sees them. Be a friend. Be an Iconoclast.
There you have the rules for being a Social Media Iconoclast. I dare not call it a manifesto, as manifestos (manifesti?) are things I reserve the right- as an Iconoclast- to pick apart.
Oh. and rules are for the weak. Start shredding.