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Dear Gurus: Let's Talk Less and Listen More

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Dear Gurus: It’s Time to Talk Less and Listen More
By Hadji Williams

It’s been about three weeks since Keith Elam, one of the most accomplished artists of my generation passed away.

As one-half of Gang Starr, Elam was truly a Gifted emcee who pioneered an ill poetic street corner philosopher’s eloquence not yet heard prior. Between his Gang Starr catalog and his groundbreaking Jazzmatazz work, he proved to source of seemingly Unlimited Rhymes. And his willingness to discuss everything from the writing process to manhood to parenthood to politics to crime made his lyrics truly Universal.

Looking back, April 19, 2010 saw the passing of perhaps the only non-east Indian who could rightfully call himself a guru with a straight face. Elam’s death also got me thinking about all the other so-called gurus out here…

A while back I met a guy who’d penned the definitive book on Twitter. I know it was the definitive book on Twitter because he said so. And so had his publisher. Now the guy admitted to never having worked for Twitter. To my knowledge he didn’t even know anyone who did. He hadn’t even been using Twitter very long himself. But no matter.

He had a book, a title, and full schedule of speaking gigs and media appearances to validate his self-inflicted gurudom.

Now, the easiest thing would be to insult, slander folks like this. That’d be the one-off sureshot that would garner plenty of RTs, comments, and e-daps. But instead, I wanna try something different, beginning with a question:

What if all the gurus, particularly those of us in marketing, PR and social media, just said—out loud:

“I don’t know.”

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Should I Post My Personal Opinions On The BlogWorld Twitter Account?

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Where to start with this one? How about the inspiration for this post? First, I sent out two apparently controversial tweets this morning:

surprise, all those iPad buyers are Mac Fanboys and girls http://bit.ly/bZt9y5 gotta give it to Apple they have a loyal community

and

LOL and a great follow up story, the ipad doesn’t work http://tcrn.ch/aGmSWy LOL suckers /ipad rant off

That set off a storm of comments from what I would like to think are supporters of our event. One of them actually unfollowed us/me because of it. I’m going to try and provide the time line in reverse chronological order here but please forgive me if I mess it up somehow:

victorcajiao

@blogworld I see. Maybe you should Mac hate under your own name. Many new media peopley use Macs, and we would (cont) http://tl.gd/oim80

donmcallister

@blogworld I’m sure the majority of us Mac users don’t know the back story but I’m with @victorcajiao on this one.

StefaanLesage

@victorcajiao @blogworld i would have to agree with victor. Pretty strange reading that from the official blogworld Twitter account

victorcajiao

@blogworld so that’s Blogworlds official position on us being loyal to Macs ? If so the count me out of supporting @blogworld.

BlogWorld (AKA me)

@victorcajiao no thats my official opinion and im surprised at your reaction i’m not free to share my opinion?

victorcajiao

@blogworld no you can share it. I don’t have to participate. Goodbye @blogworld

StefaanLesage

@blogworld yeah, but wonder what would happen if all mac users stay away from blogworld

johnfbraun

@blogworld @victorcajiao Probably best to separate personal opinion from official BlogWorld communication, which is what I though this was.

StefaanLesage

@blogworld @victorcajiao you are free to share personal opinions from your personal twitter account, be careful with branded / company acc

StefaanLesage

@johnfbraun @blogworld @victorcajiao i agree with my us colleagues. Create / use a personal Twitter acct.

GeekCred

Wow @blogworld, I’m not an Apple fanboy, but way to go and damage your brand by shamelessly disrespecting your customers. Fail… “sucker”!

PodcastHelper

@GeekCred @victorcajiao agreed, keep your personal opinion off your “official” conference feed, wrong fight to pick…@blogworld fail

donmcallister

@blogworld Before this blows out of proportion. I would not expect someones personal opinion on an event branded Twitter feed.

donmcallister

@blogworld esp calling a good portion of attendees and speakers losers ( albeit indirectly by association)

BlogWorld (AKA me)

@DonMcAllister wow no I didnt, putting up a blog post, this is far more than a twitter conversation

donmcallister

@blogworld Sorry, you didn’t say “losers” it was “LOL suckers” yes, that was it!

GeekCred

@blogworld That kind of personal opinion does’nt belong on an event branded Twitter account; totally unpnrofessional, undermines credibility

@GeekCred sorry I disagree. our event is all about personal credibility

StefaanLesage

@blogworld let me know when it’s online.

BlogWorld (AKA me)

@StefaanLesage will do typing as fast as I can

StefaanLesage

@donmcallister @blogworld I had the same feeling about this. Made me think it’s an official blogworld statement

BlogWorld (AKA me)

@StefaanLesage a statement about what? Did you read the posts I linked to? They were both interesting and informative

BlogWorld (AKA me)

@victorcajiao Did you actually unfollow me just now Victor? I wish you would reconsider after reading the post

donmcallister

@blogworld Rick, for the record, completely respect your opinion and personal credibility, just needs to be voiced via your personal twitter

psimac

@donmcallister @blogworld I’m with you, Don. Considering many laptops I saw at Blogworld featured glowing Apple logos, this is in poor form.

DaveHamilton

@DonMcAllister @victorcajiao Some of the Rick Calvert begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting (i.e. @blogworld) Mac-back-story on MGG 220. http://tmo.to/ecUo

DaveHamilton

@johnfbraun @blogworld @victorcajiao Agree with John 100% on this one: separate Twitter accounts for personal vs. corporate tweets.

and it is continuing.

There are so many points here. First off, did anyone responding to my tweets read any of the posts I linked to?

Like the one about Apple’s draconian PR tactics?

Or the TechCrunch story about all the complaints about the Ipads not geting WiFi reception?

Or the story showing how many ipad buyers were also iPhone and Mac owners?

But the largest point is: can I, Rick Calvert, share my personal opinions or jokes as my tweets clearly were on the BlogWorld twitter account?

Here is my @blogworld Twitter bio:

Tweets from Blogworld & New Media Expo, and its founder Rick Calvert

For the record, I have put up tons of personal opinions and thoughts in that twitter feed since I started the account Oct 31 2007.  Never, ever, have I received a reaction like today.  I did have one person complain about posting stuff other than directly related show information. I informed that person that its my account and my bio explained they were my tweets as well as company stuff.

Just two weeks ago Chris Brogan, me and several others had an interesting discussion about Twitter avatars. Chris told me I should change the @blogworld avatar to a picture of me because “you are blogworld”. I disagreed because I do see a distinction between a completely personal twitter account and a brand. But based on that discussion I just asked Dave(my partner) to create a new avatar for me/ @blogworld showing my face and the logo.

Today several people suggested I start my own personal twitter account to share my personal opinions. I am not going to do that.  First off because I started this event for me and content creators like me. I think offering a view of my thoughts and opinions is relevant to what our show is about. I do try to keep a balance between the personal and the official event stuff. I am very careful not to spam out “buy now” type messages. I try very hard to provide useful and relevant information to our community and my friends. I try to introduce and expose different friends and members of the community to each other who might not otherwise have met except for through our event.

That is what I think my / the @blogworld twitter account is for. Obviously some of you disagree. I do see the arguments for it but I am not convinced its the right thing to do particularly for BlogWorld and the type of event it is. I may change my mind and I hope others can make those arguments why I am wrong in the comments below or on their own blogs and podcasts.

Now lets talk about what personal opinions and what type of jokes are and are not allowed in a business context. Religion; I think everyone agrees that’s a no no in a business setting. Politics; I was a political blogger, that’s what inspired me to launch BlogWorld & New Media Expo in the first place. I killed off my political blog when we launched the event specifically to not offend people who might disagree with my politics. Are there any other third rails of polite business discussion?

Are Macs, the iPad, Iphone, and all Apple products untouchable for conversation and in particular dissent and mockery?

I didn’t think so but I guess I was wrong. Microsoft now that’s a fair target. Everybody hates them right?

Apple can base their entire ad campaign on mocking PC users (most computer users in the world) and that’s ok but bash a Mac and the world comes crashing down?

I’m sorry guys, I find that weird. I like the PC guy in those commercials. I was just having fun at the expense of some of my friends who maybe love their macs a little too much. I never meant to offend you and certainly didn’t mean to hurt your feelings so if I did I sincerely apologize for that but come on people make fun of me for my PC all the time.

As @victorjaio pointed out lots of new media content creators are Mac users. I know that, I get that. I know many Mac products are new media friendly, many of my friends are mac users, but seriously Apple is not a new media friendly company, guys. They are not all that supportive of their community and they know there is a certain percentage of their community that will buy anything they sell even if its phone that doesn’t work, or its on the worst mobile carrier in the country.

That’s my problem with Mac’s and Apple. Can we be friends again or have I crossed the Rubicon on this one?

***update 4.8.10****

I just found out that I am a “Hipster New Media Douchebag”

At least according to John C. Welsh. And all this time I thought I was just a fat guy in a Harley shirt.

***

Media Is Not Objective

Author:

As I was reading this post by Paul Carr at TechCrunch this morning it occurred to me that if you substituted the word “Obama” for the word “Apple” Paul would have just written a post that could have been seen on any given conservative political blog any day of the week.

That inspired me to hop on a very old and familiar soap box of mine. But I haven’t been on this particular soap box in quite a while so maybe I can fool you into thinking its new =p.

I agree with Paul, Apple fan boys make me crazy. Particularly when they are supposed to be journalists, even worse when they are supposed to be new media journalists fighting against what we all see as old media biases and bad journalism.

But the underlying point applies to all forms of media including me; and since you are reading this post most likely you too. Everyone of us  brings some bias to the table every time we write a post, create a podcast, or send out a tweet.

The best thing we can all do and the thing we should do is be honest about our own inherent biases.  In that spirit you can find some of my biases at the bottom of this post. But something else we can all do is attempt to limit the influence of our bias in our content. I know its a hard thing to do sometimes **cough** Jets Suck**cough**. See what I mean? If you want to create great content you need to constantly stay on guard to keep from falling into the fanboy trap.

So if you find yourself writing a post that is arguing whether the iPod or the Macbook is the greatest invention in the history of man kind you just might be a fanboy. If you find yourself writing a post about how every time you see the president on TV the birds around you seem to break into song, you might not be the most objective political observer.

Now back to those biases of mine; I love San Diego, the Chargers, the Padres and even the Soccers (one for the thumb baby!), I hate Los Angeles and all their sports teams and no the Raiders are not an LA team you only rented them for a couple of years so get over it Angelinos.  I don’t like the Jets very much now either. That will most likely pass when we crush them next year like we should have this weekend.  I can’t help liking Rex Ryan even if he is a windbag.  I find myself being much more conservative now than when I was younger even if I’m still a registered Democrat.  I am and was a Ford man before they sponsored BlogWorld. With the exception of my 72 El Camino (great car) and an Oldsmobile Delta88 I drove for a month, every car I have ever owned has been a Ford. I am a PC and damn proud of it.  I have used my iPod less than a dozen times and now its broken. So you could characterize me as an anti-Mac Fanboy.  I am an old metal head and prefer Black Sabbath, Metallica and Megadeath to Nirvana and Pearl Jam.  To clarify that’s old Metallica before they cut their hair and released the Black album.  I used to be a Bud man but now prefer a good Guinness or Augustiner.

What are your biases?

Who are you a fanboy of?

National Delurking Day

Author:

This is a bit of an old school blog day that we celebrate each year.  I think I first posted about this day about 4-5 years ago on my Daddy Blog.  What is Delurking Day you might ask?  In the blog world, many people read blogs and they watch and read comments all the while staying in the shadows and not being a part of the conversation.  They are shy or they think that they don’t have something to add that is useful, or they just want to stay anonymous.

Delurking Day was formed to make it a day where everyone could leave a comment and be seen on the blog.  It was a great way for bloggers to find out who was reading and also a time for those that were shy or not wanting to be seen on the blog to have a chance to say hello as well.  If you are a regular reader of a blogs and you never want to leave a comment but enjoy reading and watching the comments as conversations ensue, this is your day. leave a comment and say hello.

You should also take this opportunity to post this on your own blog if you have one so that you can also have your own lurkers leave their comment.

My old friend Chris at RudeCactus tells us the rules:

Second, it’s Delurking Day! Yep, that’s right. The Official Delurking Day is back. Read the site? Comment. Comment all the time? Cool, do it again. A little shy? Come on, comment – you know you wanna. Take it to the streets – go comment all willy-nilly all over the blogosphere. You’ll be glad you did. And so will all the bloggers already hard at work on tomorrow’s posts.

Take the button here and post it.  See who is reading by getting them to comment.  Of course you must first leave a comment here and delurk yourself.

Shaq Tweets At Halftime

Author:

Shaq In a word:  Wow.  We’ve been talking a lot lately about just how big social networking is getting, how huge Facebook and Twitter have become over the last few months and how they are more than likely going to continue to do so.  In case you were still a non-believer (didn’t the simple fact that the QUEEN of ENGLAND has an account convince you?!) I think the events that transpired on Shaquille O’Neal’s Twitter account Saturday should have convinced you.

Just how big has the service gotten?  Try this on for size:  Leading up to his game on Saturday, Shaq was promising his Twitter followers that he would, in fact, Tweet DURING the game or during halftime.  Did he hold to his word?  Yes, Yes he did.  At halftime of his game against Washington, Shaq simply tweeted:  “Shhhhhhh.”

Here’s the even crazier thing, Shaq wasn’t the first one to Tweet during a big event, like a professional sporting event.  Last Sunday, Charlie Villanueva of Milwaukee actually got in trouble with his coach for sending out a Tweet during the game.  Did Shaq suffer the same consequences for his “Shhhhhhh?”  Nope.  Here is what his coach, Alvin Gentry, had to say:

“As long as he gets 25 [points] and 11 [rebounds], he can do whatever he wants. He can Twitter, Facebook, MySpace…”

That, coming from a coach that also has a Twitter account.  All this leads to the question:  What’s next?  Are we going to see Tweets coming in between rounds at boxing matches or MMA fights?  Are we going to to have the President sending out updates during Oval Office meetings?  Pitchers updating their Status while their team is batting during the World Series?

The short answer…Probably.

Yet another reason blogs are superior to traditional media

Author:

Today at the Business 2.0 Beta blog Owen Thomas offered clues about the real identity of the fake Steve Jobs who posts at The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. It was a funny post, but the second comment in the thread had me laughing out loud.

I don’t know if anonymous poster N/A is the funniest guy the funniest guy in his car pool or not but tonight he was the funniest guy in the virtual room.

Did anyone else find it as funny as I did?

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