Today’s guest post is written by Byron Fernandez.

How many of you share my growing stew of amusement, bewilderment, and fury over an increasing cacophony of so-called “ninjas,” “gurus,” and “mavens” in the social media space?

Like John McCain’s impotent use of “maverick” during the 2008 campaign, something’s awry when more attention is placed on pretentious, hammy, and meaningless jargon than on who you are, why we should care, and what you can do to make our lives easier.

As Tamsen McMahon so lucidly coined the phrase, expertise is self-evident, not self-appointed. There will always be those who find the time and place to yak about best imagery, ideas or messages — while others commit themselves to the painstaking task of actually creating and testing such things.

Invest in the doers

Thus the wide-held view amongst social geeks that the scale of Obama’s new media campaign won the election — not better policies, his dubious cultural heritage, or flummoxing word wizardry.

So, no — you can’t be SexyLexy16 on Google+ or SeriouslyGoing2Vom on Facebook. Just like Wile E. never fails to fall off a cliff, slam onto, around, or under a boulder – or escape vexation from the Road Runner, you cannot expect to be taken seriously if the only value you create is rainbows and unicorn advice, as Dan Zarrella likes to say.

And then we have trolls

Those who simply cannot resist the urge to fan their own feathers with every post, every day. This is fine if it’s working for you. But do everyone a favor and share with yourself, or go to the driving range. Honestly. People will thank you for it.

Perhaps the “Linkerati,” “Twitterati,” and social elite’s egos are so inflated exactly because it’s easy to forget where you come from (provocative debate with John Falchetto and Mark Schaefer, You Are Not a Critical Thinker). The true artist understands his work is superfluous without the muse, without the crucial ingredient of an insatiable community.

Influence used to be about making yourself look good. But now that consumers sit at the helm, Google, Facebook, and the rest of the digital world only care about you insofar as you make them (and those who look to you for knowledge or value) look good.


That means using your name, company name, brand or logo. If you still can’t reconcile that reality then accept social media might not be the best strategy for your goals. In the time that it takes to whine about things you lack genuine energy, time or interest to develop; you could be making a difference somewhere else, with people who are listening.

Go where others are not.

This isn’t rocket science. Love can be serious. Passion and purpose can be too, if we so choose; not for others, but for you. So that when the time comes that people see fit to extend you the gift of their time and attention, you have something to offer them.

And if you’re really lucky, they’ll like what you have to say.

Byron Fernandez recently joined Structure Marketing, a HubSpot VAR startup firm as head of PR and Social Media. A former performing arts student, Byron’s liberal arts degree in public relations evolved into a passion for inbound marketing, blogging and copywriting.