A word on social media narcissism

I co-founded a community called Engagement Marketing Experts. Now I regret the name, especially the ‘expert’ part. But it’s too late.

We are all experts. Being an expert is a matter of thinking, learning and seeing the reality through the hype. Experts exist because many companies THINK they need them. I know many experts and “gurus” myself. Some are really great people that know what they’re talking about. But some are living in a world on their own. Narcissism.

I write this because I just read something on Twitter that drives me mad. I hope it’s a joke but I’m afraid it’s not. It has something to do with certifications for social marketing experts.

Social media are great but narcissism is beginning to invade social media. From ultra-friendly Twitter profiles that talk about nothing but themselves to ridiculous celebrity cults, the world of social media, Twitter particularly, is packed with one-upping, patently sycophantic discussion, and profiles that are simply embarrassing when looked at with any semblance of self awareness.

How and when will it stop? For a lot of people, the answer seems to be never. As much as social media, blogging particularly, has helped the world by giving a voice and audience to intelligent people that would otherwise never have one, it has caused a lot of stupidity to leak through in the form of completely ludicrous avenues for narcissists and serial self-promoters to gain attention.

For social media marketers, this presents two problems.

The first is to protect yourself from potentially turning into a one-way social media user. Instead of merely seeing an audience as a resource and your product as their calling, a dedicated effort towards real discussion is important.

The second is to prevent the short-term intentions of social media narcissists from stepping in the way of your long-term efforts.

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