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September 9, 2011

The Era of the Social Media Snob

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What is this new type of snob?

What is a social media snob? Well I have a feeling you already know, but here is an example.

This is the person that has spent the last 3-7 years making “lots” of money using social media marketing or blogging and teaching others how to do it. And while they are selling you marketing products off their blogs or websites, they tell you that you must engage with your customers in order to make money. They instruct us to make money by doing what they did, which is to listen to your customers, know them, give them value, understand their needs, blah, blah, blah…..

Then what you see with this new type of snob is that once they have made the money, or sold the book, or gotten that high profile job with multi-mil corporation, they appear to be done with us (us – being the customers that got them there.)

This became prevalent to me during the roll out of Google+ with the numerous posts about the “Pluserati” and “Google Plus recommended users.” As I happily went about adding people that I thought would add value to my social networking experience, I noticed that I was only going to be allowed a status of social media groupie to these established snobs.

Since it is obvious then that we were not going to be social media buddies, then at the very least I would hope that by following you I would gain some value from your status updates, but this is not what is happening. Instead we get to see pictures of what they ate, their favorite art, who they are hanging out with (usually more social media snobs), their deep thoughts and musings, and gallingly, more pitches for their products. The best example of this so far is one that gushed on their profile about this new sharing experience on Google Plus and how excited they were to participate in this growing community. Know how many people this person is following? 3!

Really? It appears that now that they have a captive audience to “share” their information, which diminishes in value by the post, they do not appear to be very interested in what I have to share. Yes, I realize that the new social royalty cannot pander to their entire kingdom, but including a few thousand of their “customers” to be able to do exactly what they preach would probably add a bit of credibility to their profession. These people are not celebrities who gained their money and fame in ticket sales and TV appearances. “Those” celebrities never promised us anything other than a good performance, so if we choose to follow them without their attention, that’s on us. But to have the very people that evangelized a social media society where you “connect” with your base for growth and money making snub us?

Now I’m not going to call any one specific person out on the carpet here, but let me give you a few examples of the imbalances of the social media pundits that have elevated themselves to snobbery. Remember, these are all people that have made their money off of the social media machine by either selling products directly off their blogs or by promoting the strategies on their websites. I will show you the following to follower ratio. These ratios are taken from both Google+ and Twitter. You tell me if you think any of these people are listening to their audience anymore.

Followers | Following

164027 137

53,550 3

52,208 74

53,614 94

19,459 20

I did find one good example of a recent social media mogul/author of 35,031/12,018. Now that is a decent ratio of followers to following. I will be paying attention to this social media expert more often. It is noteworthy to mention that not every successful social media expert falls into this new snob category. You get a sense from many of them that a sincere effort is made to share information that continues to grow the relationships with their connections. This is the person you may want to take note of and continue following as a trusted resource for future products and knowledge.

I do not begrudge anyone their rise to fame or wealth, in fact, I applaud them and I am happy for them. What irritates me with this specific group of people is the hypocrisy of their message. They have made their money from a platform of “social sharing” but they really only want to perform “social pushing.” To me, this mentality is nothing less than a high profile snake oil salesmanship and I caution the new social networking enthusiast – buyer beware.

What will you do?

Does this mean I won’t follow them anymore? I don’t know yet. I’m thinking about it. I know one thing for sure – their credibility has gone way down with me. I will think twice before buying any more of their products and I look forward to a new generation of social media celebs that get into this industry for more than an ego platform. I caution new social media enthusiasts to try it before you buy it. Research the products and services offered by the so called experts. Having a large amount of followers or writing a book does not equate to authority. It is the quality of your followers and their engagement with each other that is truly valuable in this industry. Do your social media experts engage with social media other than to “push” products? Do you get value from information shared? Do they appear to be connecting to their customer base?

As you go forward in your quest to social networking greatness, keep these thoughts in mind when you lean into others for learning and growing. You cannot truly be considered an “expert” in social media unless you practice it. Using social media as a platform to push products is certainly not against social media law or anything, but it is much less appealing than those that share their expertise based on real experiences. The social networking and internet explosion was bound to create this beast, but the wise social media novice will take their time to discern the gold from the gold plated. And, if you run across a true social media snob – just giggle, then push the “unfollow” button.


Joleen Halloran is the owner of ZoomIT Marketing, a Social Media and Internet Marketing Coaching and Training company. Joleen has extensive business experience in project management, leadership, marketing, and specializes in motivational techniques and corporate culture. Visit ZoomIT at http://zoomitmarketing.com.

Joleen is an avid reader of books and other materials related to her profession, but also to her special passion, which is metaphysical and spirituality topics. Ms. Halloran has read over 100 books related to metaphysics, spirituality, Western and Eastern religion, and law of attraction. Joleen is currently working on her how book, Finding Home – Breaking Free from Limits, which she hopes to have finished later this summer. Joleen blogs about books at http://beyondbookreviews.com.

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