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August 9, 2010 / Mervyn Dinnen

Expert, Texpert…Don’t You Know The Joker Laughs At You?? (Everyone’s on Twitter, Everyone’s a Star)

Whole forests have been pulped to enable Beatles obsessives to speculate/pontificate in print over the exact meanings of John Lennon’s lyrics to ‘I Am The Walrus’ – don’t worry, I’m not about to add any – however I do like the accepted explanation of the line

Expert, Texpert, Choking Smoker

Don’t you know the Joker laughs at you

The expert/texperts are all the academics, teachers and journalists who analyse and try to find hidden meanings in his lyrics, being laughed at by Lennon’s Joker…laughing because the meanings that they see just aren’t there?

There’s a lesson for social media enthusiasts in there somewhere. Every day more experts, gurus, consultants, advocates, enthusiasts, specialists, advisors and commentators spring into view with blogs, journal articles, tweets, newsletters, forum threads and speaking engagements, all passing on their wisdom.  Everyone has a view, an opinion to share.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the stuff churned out is useful, enlightening and entertaining…but the rest is self-promoting, attention seeking noise. Personal brand positioning by association.

Forests aren’t being pulped…but there’s a cacophony of white noise in the echo chamber.

My twitter timeline positively collapses under the weight of it some days.

On top of that everyone now seems to be consulting or advising. We have speakers, guest speakers, keynote speakers, facilitators, hosts, track leaders, live tweeters, bloggers…everyone sharing their thoughts and insights.

I followed a live feed from ILSHRM last week regarding a ‘speaker’ – oh how well the unconference set-up does away with the need for expert ‘speakers’- who appeared less enlightened than some of his audience, who were commenting, less than approvingly, on a live twitter feed. Good blog from Mike Vandervort summarises.

Now I don’t have a problem with this. Proper live speakers have always been able to handle hecklers and mischief-makers. Previously if you sat in a talk or presentation that you haven’t enjoyed, you used to have to wait for the coffee break to share your thoughts with people. Not any more. The immediacy of social media allows instant comment and observation. If you can’t deal with it…get off of the platform (in more ways than one!)

At this point I’ll hold my hands up, as clearly I’m not a complete outsider…you’re reading this on a blog, and I’ve been known to host the occasional tracks at unconferences, and live tweet. But then I’m a recruiter; I’m not really looking for speaking or consulting gigs. Although happy to oblige if offered, I’m really not trying to pass myself off as a consultant, adviser or speaker, merely voicing my thoughts on what I see, hear and experience.

For me, Social Media is really all about connecting, engaging, sharing and learning. It’s not about looking good, looking smart or looking well connected.

So where will it all lead?

An excellent blog from Trish McFarlaneIn Search of Normal – got me thinking. Are the social media non-adopters, naysayers, cynics and deniers really Lennon’s Joker, laughing at us for seeing something that they don’t think is there?  If they were to eavesdrop our online conversations would they just see a rash of self-serving, self-referencing micro PR releases masquerading as engagement? A ‘conversation’ where nearly 30% admit retweeting without even reading what they’re retweeting?

Maybe social media gives us all the chance to shine…remember what Marilyn Monroe said?

Everyone’s a star and deserves the right to twinkle

I’m just worried that the modern social media take on it is

Everyone’s on Twitter and deserves the right to be an expert

Let me know what you think…

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3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. andrew chilvers / Aug 13 2010 7:32 AM

    Excellent post. I agree that so much of twitter is self promotion. But i also think itKs a tool that will help liberate people from the tyranny of traditional communication channels. LOve the Lennon ref. tittwe is

  2. Jessica Miller-Merrell / Aug 25 2010 8:17 PM

    Mervyn,

    You know how I feel about this from my recent blog post. I changed my linkedin profile last week title to “Chief Cat Herder,” but the most popular one for me was “Social Media Badass.” I actually got three calls about it.

    It was just an experiment for some training I’m doing a college but it was fun to post it.

    Jessica

    @blogging4jobs

    • Mervyn Dinnen / Aug 25 2010 11:29 PM

      And it was good to read Jessica! We all need a voice of reason sometimes.

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