My name is Saul! I'm an award winning Word of Mouth Marketer, Professional Speaker on the subjects of Social Media, Customer Service and best of all... Word of Mouth. I collect Air Force One sneakers and think you should hire me... (as a consultant) to teach you how to get your company doing interesting things!
the smartest man in the world.

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Photos from the Drupal Conference in San Francisco, CA 2010

Wednesday, Oct 10, 2010

I absolutely disagree with you!

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If you are not doing social media exactly as I do it then you are “doing it wrong”

I love when people claim that there is only one way to do things…and especially love when people say that there is only one way to “do” social media.  I have written before about how Best Practices are really Fairy Tales (IMHO a great read) so I will skip that part and jump right to today’s thought.

A large number of Social Media speakers and consultants seem to me to be Absolutists.

I say this because the more I listen to conference keynotes or read twitter I see and hear the the phrase “You’re Doing It Wrong” becoming more prevalent. This way of thinking not only prevents folks from experimenting with new ideas but also takes the position that every situation is the same and results can be predictable…and if such situations exist please let me know because I would like some of those projects. They sound easy and wonderful.

I could easily go on and on about this and mention how in a keynote from Blogworld, one of the speakers (an absolutist) couldn’t help but contradict himself twice in his own talk because of his absolutism or I could say something like, “You keep doing your one way of doing things because it will make me stand out from the crowd more” but istead of me talking/typing I want to hear what you have to say.

So what says you?

  1. you are absolutely right! Flexibility or, if I was Moby, Flex-i-bili-TEA, is the only way to go….unless you have another one……

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention I absolutely disagree with you! | Saul Colt – Saul is – The Smartest Man in the World --

  3. Saul: This is solid. It’s like when people tweet that someone “gets it” at a conference. It usually really means that someone “thinks exactly like I do.”

    Absolutionists (not to be confused with abolitionists) are short-sighted. I learned on The Bad Pitch Blog that the second after I made an absolute statement, someone would serve up an example that proved my statement wrong. This is all nascent. We are all students. We share how we learned things. Social media is as much art as it is science. That means it’s subjective.

    My point is that we are sharing guidelines….NOT rules.

    The more folks tout the right and wrong way, the more I wonder if it’s a new business tactic. The competitive business strategy is also at question when I hear the “social media expert” argument comes along. This is not across the board. There is an element of the “expert” fiery rant with which I agree. But the absolute concept that “if you haven’t been doing it since the beginning, game over. No new entrants” does not hold water.

    It’s always time to try new ideas. It’s part survival. How many things have I discussed on my blog that over time have become incorrect? We should plan for time/money to test and learn. We must iterate. And as much as we’re willing to share and teach others, we should be prepared to listen to their ideas.

    Old guard vs. new guard, valid vs. phony — there’s validity to facets of these arguments. But people go all absolute and it gets weird.


  4. Saul, GREAT stuff!

    I’m in the process of doing it wrong on a daily basis – this must be stopped! For instance, if I blog 2x a day but just one post is a little off – well, I shouldn’t have done that. Because each little thing must be exactly right!

    I’m fortunate enough to have 3 kids – all adoptees – and, when starting that process, people will ask me for advice. I just give them four words: “Your Experience May Vary.” Same works in social.

    Keep doing it wrong, brother.

  5. I liked this post. But I think you wrote it wrong.

    It would be your honour (but my pleasure) to be hired by you so that I can show you the best and ONLY way to write this. And then I’ll show you the exact way you can pay me for giving you professional advice you’d never pay for anyways.

    Sam Title
    VP, Department of Tongue in Cheek

  6. Saul,

    I think this whole “there’s only one way to do it” trend is based off of the need to sell consulting services to clients.

    Clients want to know that you are going to give them measurable, successful results. It’s a very hard sell if you say “we are going to spend X, but we don’t know if it will work.”

    So, the social media experts tries to create some sort of rules or program to make it look like there is a science to all of this. There isn’t.

    If we all slowed down a bit and looked at everything with a reasoned eye, then we would see that what works for one company probably won’t work for another company because their products, culture, customers, and level of customer engagement are completely different. What has worked for Dell works for Dell, because, well, they are Dell. What works for Zappos…you get the idea.

    If you aren’t them, then what worked for them might not work for you. Hell, what worked for them then might not even work for them now!

    No one wants to hear that though.

    And it sure doesn’t sell ebooks, webinars, conference tickets, and books.

  7. Hey Saul, you’re post inspired me to write a Top 5 list! check it:

    Also, based on his comment above, I would like to be best friends with Sam Title.

  8. Yup, that’s the “elite” doing it again.
    New media or otherwise, “We have the answer and you don’t!”

    I also prefer finding my own way and being spontaneous.
    Or just ignoring the hype.

  9. Saul,

    It’s always a relief to read common sense on a blog.

    Thank you for some much needed relief.

    There are no hard and fast answers, I agree with Kevin, it’s guidelines, it’s approaches. By all means challenge yourself to think differently, but keep focused on the need for your social media to support your business, plans, strategies and objectives.

    Common Sense.


  10. This is a piece that highlights the cooks from the Chefs. Cooks follow recipes Chefs create as they go. It’s not wrong to have a method for gaining followers on Twitter, getting people to carry your message to their friends, or setting up a Facebook page, it’s just short-sighted and self-serving to think that your way to do it is the only or best way.

    Mitch Joel did a piece about being a Twitter snob which seemed to come off as being an absolutist, but Mitch is clarifying his original intent.

    I think all this comes from people trying to make a living from telling companies how to use the tools.

  11. Saul,

    When I talk to people (presentations or one on one) I usually point out that I’m no expert. I just share the things I’ve done.

    But I’ve always wondered what would happen if I told people that YES! I’m a freaking expert! instead of the, hey! I’m just doing what I’m doing.

    But you’re right, there is more than one way to skin a cat. You pick your way.


  12. What an incredible post. I love the picture of the t-shirt. Great read! Thanks a ton Saul.

  13. We are each unique, and so our individual methods of socializing (in real life or digitally) that work best for us will have to be self-developed. As a social media consultant, I can only guide people through the social landscape and suggest connections; ultimately its up to them to get out of social media what they want most in life. I place NO LIMITS on what social media can do for me, who I can meet, work with, opportunities I can create – I know I’ll have to do things MY OWN WAY to stand out from the crowd (500 million template profiles on Facebook).

    The majority of my life, I was NOT being authentic, transparent or open. I was pretending to be happy, fulfilled, confident. I spent my WHOLE life just trying to be NORMAL, which in my mind was an elevation from the hell life I was living. Now that I’m creating the life of my dreams using social media as the tools to define/broadcast my USP, I’ve realized that it’s our UNIQUENESS that elevates us above the BILLIONS of normal people all competing with each other. I compete in a much small environment, so I find successes easier and more frequent than when I try to compete with EVERYONE on things they’ve been doing forever.

    Plus I’m not wasting my life anymore pretending to be someone I’m not, struggling to be someone I’m not, to live a life I don’t want. I am who I am, with my unique interests, passions, experiences & capabilities and I speak about the subjects that I KNOW NEED A VOICE – that sets me apart and attracts like-minded people to me. So now everyone in my circle is like me, and things I’m great!

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