Posts tagged michaelnus
It’s Sunday. I needed a bagel. So I went to get one.
Here is my quest to acquire and eat some bagels using Vine. I figured if I’m going to really try it out I should do it in a style that tells a story.
Where my Jews at?
It’s a new year and things are already shaping up for some exciting times. I thought I would take a moment between now and my next San Francisco flight to get back to blogging and continue my “The Day I Met:” series. 2013 is the year of Epilogger so I’d like to tell you about:
The Day I Met Chris Brooker
It was in 2010 when I met Chris Brooker. In 2010, new people were becoming friends, LoserKaraoke was still in its original form at Tequila Sunrise and I had just come to Toronto from New York looking to start something new. It was the summer of love, if you think about it. There was still GenYTO, Tweetups for the sake of meeting new people, and Tumblr meetings. People just wanted to connect. It was innocent. Social media was too and the corporations and agencies weren’t hip to the jive just yet.
So there I was at this peculiar weekly night out on the town in a cramped Mexican saloon called Tequila Sunrise meeting all kinds of interesting people and finding myself fascinated by all of them. I was hooked. I wanted to know what was going on in Toronto and all I had to do was check Twitter for any one of many open invitations to an event, a casual hangout, a tweet up – whatever. On one particular karaoke night I met Chris and was immediately comfortable talking to him. He was friendly, fun, and smart as hell. We became friends pretty quickly.
The first thing I can remember was that we exchanged numbers and twitter handles (back in the day everyone was exchanging numbers and twitter handles – there was no pretense, no one was too cool) and we had a few beers while singer after singer screeched out one song or the other. I remember texting him some time after that, on a different night, asking him what was going on around town. His reply was “Tumblr meeting. You should come.” Here was a person I barely knew and the invitation was open, no worries. The photo above was taken in 2010 around the time we met.
I never made it to the tumblr meet up , I don’t think I was even on Tumblr at the time, but over the weeks and months to come we kept running into each other at one thing or the other, with Karaoke being the baseline, as it was for just about everyone in the tech scene.
Over the Years:
There was just no way that I could have known that Chris and I would not only become very good friends, but business partners. If I knew how much this extraordinary man would put on the line to build something as great as Epilogger with me, I might have never done it. We’ve had our high points, our low points, and our rows but it has been a most excellent adventure. Who would have thunk that a genius developer and notorious straight shooter would one day leave his 9-5 to become a captain of Industry, creating something truly great. Through his sacrifice and dedication I’ve been honoured to call this man my friend. There are just too many stories, misadventures, drunken nights, high fives and more to tell in one blog post. He has been at my side through just about every scheme I’ve dreamed up. He’s always there.
The best piece of business advice I ever got was from my friend Guy Gal (look for his “The Day I Met:” soon) who once told me “only start a business with someone you trust 100%. If there is any doubt at all, even the smallest, don’t do it.”
Smart words from a smart man. For all the time I’ve known him, Chris has been the most trustworthy, reliable, hard working, colleague I’ve ever known. Everything he creates is amazing. It was shortly before we were heading off to Founderfuel that Chris told me of a new project he was working on: Nathaniel William Whiteside Brooker, his son with his beautiful and equally smart life partner, Krista. That I was one of the first to know humbled me. I gotta tell you, this kid is gold and I am every bit as interested as his parents in seeing him grow up to be another amazing human like the Brookers.
What I’ve Learned from Chris
By now I would think that anyone who has ever met Chris has experienced his complete and sometimes brutal honesty. He never means bad by it, he just tells it like it is. Chris does not ever deal in hyperbole. If it comes out of his mouth, you can be sure it’s the unlubricated truth and you would do well to listen. He is regimented, deliberate, rational, and stone solid, but he also knows how to have a blast. In the Karaoke days he was a hoot, and he would always show up to our Epilogger team-building exercises at the usual place and throw down like it ain’t no thang.
Whenever I am being honest with myself or someone I always think of how Chris would say it. He has the unique ability to be honest and not make you hate him – and that’s a truly rare thing that I can only hope to achieve one day. I’ve learned to become a better leader, a more patient, productive person, and a better friend to any who I would refer to as such. To be Brooker-honest, I don’t think I will ever stop learning from him.
Chris, if you read this, I want to thank you for helping me and everyone around you achieve great things. See you at the top, partner.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Some of you will recall that a long while ago I said that I would begin a series on my blog called “The Day I Met.” The purpose of that category here was supposed to be a retrospective and an update about some of the amazing people I’ve met in my life. But as things go, priorities competed with priorities, and i never got around to it: until today. Why today? Because I want to tell you about my friend and colleague, Michael O’Connor Clarke.
I wonder if Felix Baumgartner caught a glimpse of an angel rising into the heavens as he was about to begin his descent. If he had, I bet that Angel, Michael O’Connor Clarke, would have smiled at him, waved, and paused a moment to make sure Felix was alright.
That’s the Michael O’Connor Clarke I knew over the last 3 years. No matter how busy he was, or how big a fish he had to fry, he was always there to help out when asked. Michael was one of the most generous people I have ever met.
The day we met:
I met Michael right at the first HOHOTO that he helped organize. My first memory of him was seeing him on stage sincerely thanking everyone for their support of the Daily Bread Food Bank. The stage lights were flashing and we was joined on stage by a sizeable entourage of his co-organizers and fundraisers. There I was at an event that seemed to have everyone in Toronto’s tech scene under one roof, and at the centre of this circus was Michael. I was in awe of this man. I was still new to Toronto’s tech scene myself and I had no idea if I would ever see him again.
Over the Years
As I continued to build my first start up (SKZ), Michael and I kept running into each other at events like Democamp and found that we saw eye to eye on a lot of things that were good and bad about the digital space. As fellow strategists we would celebrate and commiserate. Soon I found myself at the centre of big community events like Movember Canada and Social Media Day, not knowing that Mike was watching all along.
As fate would have it, one day I found myself at his doorstep at Media Profile. He interviewed me for a job there, and although the position never materialized, we kept in touch right through my subsequent career in the ad game and further into the very early beginnings of Epilogger. I’ll never forget the hard questions he asked me at that interview. I must have been sweating bullets as I sat in front of him realizing more with every second how brilliant he was. It was humbling and I remember thinking that no matter what qualifications I thought I possessed, I could learn lifetimes more from Mike.
As we stayed in touch, I did just that. There has never been an instance when Mike and I got together where I didn’t come away smarter. But, even though I always saw him as a teacher he made me feel like what I had to say was just as important as what he did.
I was honoured to have have him as a keynote speaker at Social Media Day last year where he told the crowd his now famous line: “social media is like Soylent Green; it’s made of people.” When he needed help with last year’s HOHOTO, I was only too eager to help with the sponsorship push. When he helped me get my consulting gig at CTV/BNN by telling them that “Michael Nus is the kind of guy that makes things happen,” I was once again humbled. Isn’t that pot calling the kettle black, Mike.
As of this morning, October 14th, 2012, I am overcome with sadness to write that Michael has passed away. He is survived by his loving family and legions of friends and colleagues.
Michael and I were equal in our respect and admiration for each other, but Michael had no equal in personal generosity. Although I helped Shannon and Tamera with his fundraiser a short time ago, 1,000 fundraisers could not even begin to tip the scales when compared to his lifetime of being a good friend to everyone he knew, a wonderful husband and father and, above all else, an angel in the the very truest sense of the word.
The name “Michael” is Hebrew for “He who is like God.” I know that wherever he is, Michael is showing the same godly generosity and compassion he showed me and all of us. This post (and forthcoming posts) naturally has caused me to reminisce about every experience I have had with Mike. Not one of my memories of him carries with it even the slightest tinge of negativity – that says it all, I think.
I will miss you, Michael. We all will.
Look, not to be a pessimist here, but no matter how good things are going for you or your company, even if you’ve been on a run of good luck for a good while, you’re bound to hit a bottleneck or six sooner or later. Call it summertime blues (the last week of August tends to be a deadzone for investment and action), or call it karma, it’s just a fact of life.
It’s all too easy to get pessimistic and be blind to any silver lining. After all it never feels good to have people criticize you or your project. From personal experience in Epilogger’s earlier days, I can share that it’s hard when possible investors pretty much send you packing. You wonder if your pitch deck needs work, start to toy with the prospect of taking all that advice you’ve been getting in changing features or the direction of your product or life, or even question your fitness to continue doing what you do. Substitute “investors” for “supporters” and the same queasy feeling may come over you whether you’re a CEO, a CTO, blogger, salesperson, athlete, or artist. People love support and can do great things when the world strokes their egos. The true test of character, however, is when the gravy train stops and it’s just you and the open tracks.
Don’t give up. Trust me on this one. Tenacity is the ultimate form of optimism. No one knows what you’re capable of like you do. No one knows your business like you do. Know one knows your limits like you do. No one wants you to succeed more than you do. Being an entrepreneur can REALLY suck sometimes but that’s the sacrifice we make to try to change the world. I’ve said it before in this post. If one was to ask me what the common x-factor is among all successful people, I would say it’s tenacity. Many people who saw “The Social Network” think that Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook at Harvard, met Sean Parker and got investment and fame over night on the heads of Eduardo Saverin and the Winklevi. The real story of Facebook is that Zuckerberg got turned down by numerous investors before finally landing his VC. Some told him to give up and that it would never fly. How’s that working out? You have the vision, make the world believe it by executing.
Don’t confuse tenacity with plain old stubbornness though. There are legitimate cases where people just have a genuinely crappy idea that needs to fail. Usually the bad idea is due to lack of due diligence (Is this even needed? Is there at least a niche market? Did someone already do the exact same thing?) A few episodes of Shark’s Tank or Dragon’s Den should paint you a good picture of what I mean.
Get advice but always take it with a grain of salt. Ask whether the source of advice is playing with a full deck and has the right experience. Celebrity does NOT make expertise. You could be talking to the most well known though leader in internet security who has sold his/her company for a bajillion dollars, but if that person would need buy into what you’re doing/selling and has no understanding of it, keep that in mind before panicking and changing it all. There’s a difference between opinion and advice – one is criticism, the other is constructive. So take advice from people who you really trust and want what’s best for you. I can count on one hand who those people are in my life and you can be sure that those will always be kept close. They have helped me profoundly.
You are NEVER alone:
The world is more social now. As such businesses have changed and communities have become more tight knit. What’s really great is that there are now more people and programs that are willing to help you solve a myriad of problems that every entrepreneur faces at different stages. If you don’t know something, ASK SOMEBODY! Don’t worry about looking stupid because I guarantee you that you will look even stupider when negligence to learn something important comes to bear in an important situation. Get social and get out there. I learned a lot from my advisors, but to get to the level where their advice made sense, I had to go back to basics. I enrolled in the MaRS program, signed Epilogger up for Founderfuel, read books, attended tech meet meetups, and pulled the right contacts to get me to the right people to teach my dumb ass the things I didn’t know jack about.
You are not alone If you were ever stranded at sea or on a desert island you would do everything you could to signal for help. Apply the same logic to your startup, your art, and especially your life.
I know this post will get a lot of you mac addicts (I’ve called you mac zombies in the past) up in a tizzy but I wanted to share my feelings about my recent purchase of the iPad.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been brand agnostic. When I buy a product the single most important factor that decides whether or not I whip out my wallet is the practical use of said product. The other factors that go into my decision, in this order, are: specific need for said item (i.e. I need a shirt for x reason), recommendations from friends/peers, and then price/value. Price is the last one because sometimes the value of an item justifies a higher price, however value, in my books goes back to necessity (the first criteria), meaning that the brand or “coolness” factor have little bearing on my decision.
As a startup entrepreneur you most likely apply the same criteria to making a new hire. Unless you are hiring some high profile team member to attract more investors, most of the time potential hires that come your way are not necessarily known to you. At that point you have to rely on the above criteria when making a decision whether to put that new developer, project manager, or designer on payroll. Do you need to make that hire to reach certain objectives? Can your peers in the business vouch for him/her or do their references check out? And, of course, is their salary expectation worth what they’re promising?
The same due diligence is what went into buying my iPad a few weeks ago. I needed a light computer to be able to pound pavement in Silicon Valley, tons of my peers said that iPad was the cat’s pyjamas, and the price was pretty good for the perceived value. HOWEVER, in practice, the iPad was an overpriced electric newspaper.
When I complained about it to some of my peers, what I got back was the same, almost cult-like, response from all the macheads: “Oh well the iPad is a consumption tool! It’s great for watching videos and reading books.” That drove me crazy. The other feedback I got was “you didn’t buy it for the right reasons.” That drove me even crazier. Given the above, I thought I did buy it for the right reasons. The feeling I got was that I was a square who didn’t fit the almighty Apple rather than vice versa. Maybe it’s because mac buyers tend to contort themselves into fitting the limited choice that Macs offer as far as customization (annoying in some cases for PC converts like me, but I can see how this limited choice is also likely the secret to their success in controlling the vertical market through their line of compatible products).
Pulling this back to the hiring allegory, I see similar behaviour from people in the tech scene all the time. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: some well known tech company hires a new CEO with great pedigree to replace their old one in a time of need. The new CEO starts his/her first day on the job to great fanfare, only to run the entire thing into the ground.
Or maybe you’ve heard the one about the young startup who got some big name investor to give them some money and join their board. While in many cases this is a great thing that helps the startup grow and flourish, there are some that find that particular investor is out of his/her depth with the type of business they just got themselves into. The relationship between investor and entrepreneur get strained as the big investor puts on the pressure to go in a direction that deviates significantly from the vision of the company. Scary stuff.
And then there is the busy entrepreneur (me) who needs a thin, light, computer that can help me make my everyday tasks easier. I knew going in that the soft keyboard was not for me so I bought a physical keyboard cover (as pictured above), still giving the iPad the benefit of the doubt. As sexy and sleek as the iPad was to hold and show off, this thing did nothing particularly useful, like, oh I don’t know, EMAIL! Yes, iPads can send emails just like an iPhone would but without the ability to attach a file in-line with an ongoing email chain, it gets extremely clunky. In order for me to attach a file (like say, a pitch deck) I had to download DropBox to act as a virtual drive (which it does quite well. I’m a big DropBox fan), and then download iBooks as a halfway point. I had to basically open the file from Dropbox in iBooks then hit the share button to get it into a separate email from the original email chain!
That was only one of the many problems, but I won’t get into the rest to save you the reading length. The thing is that Apple advertises the iPad as a productivity tool in their TV commercials. If so then how do they explain the iPad cutting my productivity in half due in large part to the need to hack together a bouquet of apps to get a task done that any laptop computer can do in one app, like a fully featured browser, and with Flash to boot!
The amount of extra moves needed to accomplish my computing goals were akin to having to hand-hold that new hire despite them coming highly recommended. It cuts down on productivity in a big way. Therefore, iPad is not a tool that is meant for productivity. It really is just a consumption tool, as my machead friends say.
It plays games, watches videos, surfs Facebook, and takes pictures, but gets little work done. Just like a crappy employee.
So I fired my iPad and hired its much more productive, and equally light, brother; the MacBook Air.
This has been something rattling around my noggin for quite some time. It has put me in a bad mood more than once and I’ve had to resist the urge to write about this while in that state. I think if I had, I would be guilty of being the very thing I am writing about here: a negative tech scene jerkass.
Fortunately, today, I’m in a good mood so I can approach this pink elephant without being downwind of its stench. This would be yet another elephant outed on this blog.
Let’s wind the clocks back to about two and a half years ago. It was the summer of 2010 and the social media boom was revving up to its zenith. Social media was still a shiny bauble that no one truly understood but, frankly, nobody cared what it meant. The sheer fact that people were connecting on twitter, facebook etc was amazing and so much fun. If you wanted to go out somewhere and needed some company all you had to do was tweet out and some friendly folks, some you may have not even met yet, would be lacing up their shoes to meet for a beer or whatever trouble you could get into. Why? Because people just wanted to get to know one another and learn something new.
If you wanted to meet a lot more people en masse, there were Tumblr meetings (remember those?), tweetups, drinkups and so on. Everyone was on equal footing and no one claimed to be an expert in anything. People were connecting on a very human level – no pretense, no vapid self-importance, and little bullshit. It was awesome, nearly utopian. A veritable summer of love. I miss it.
Then at some point near the tail end of winter, some people began to call themselves social media experts and started criticizing everyone else in order to build a name for themselves as people who supposedly saw frivolity in the above. Real social media and web citizenship, to them, was not about good will and discovery, instead it was about having so-called expertise informed by marketing practices. They would write scathing blog posts, do cat calls because some of the harder working bloggers got free swag (they were really just jealous, let’s be real here), and even speak at community organized conferences (i.e. Podcamp and similar panels) about how all that love was nonsense and the “love fest” should be done away with. What’s worse is that these detractors have parlayed their supposed heightened expertise into jobs!
Absolute bull-honky. These guys became the tech scene jerkasses and are a big part of the schisms and dramatic nonsense that goes on in many similar communities. I mean, what the hell happened? Were these people so afraid that their value as marketing bollocksmen was so at risk that they had to go all negative nancy on people they used to call friends? Were they afraid that their employers would wake up and smell the bullshit, so they went ahead and called bullshit on the whole social media thing preemptively so as not to be swept away so callously as most newcomers are nowadays? They just wanted to look like they knew what the hell they were talking about in a field that was still being pioneered! It’s not like there were accepted university or college courses teaching this stuff!
Some of the genuinely smart and benevolent ones went and started their own businesses and have created a community above all that rat race crap. These entrepreneurs live a tough life trying to build something from nothing, and are thus united in their struggle like brothers and sisters. The even nicer ones in the scene chased their dreams and realized them in other cities (there were some real saints here, who when they departed, took the glue with them) and now stand as people to look up to.
I realize that pointing all this out isn’t the nicest thing to hear but someone had to say it, I guess. Perhaps now that it’s out in the open, web communities across the continent can start to heal. Enemies can become friends again, bygones can be bygones, and we can bring back the love that made it so exciting to live in the tech scene in a new age of discovery.
It’s a thought that is at once scary and enlightening.
We go through life looking out for numero uno, rat racing, making as much money as we can, and sometimes stepping on others to get there, but you just can’t escape the fact that no matter how much wealth or possession you amass, you can’t take it with you. Does success come at the expense of others or does caring for others bring success? I think it’s the latter.
You may have heard it all before from people like Oprah or Deepak Chopra, on the power of gratitude and reveled in their insight if you attended on of their seminars but once the excitement wears off we find that we think critically and usually get to “it’s so easy for them to be happy and enlightened with their money. The question which is hard to answer is which came first, the success or the money? Success is not always money. Gandhi could have told you that if he were still around. Success is the people around you who believe in you and they all deserve your gratitude.
It can sometimes be difficult to slow down long enough to think what or who you should be grateful for. Is it truly possible to make it to the top in today’s “Thank you economy” without help? A celebrity has her agents and distributors to thank but we all know that without fans, there is no celebrity. We celebrate people who thank the little people who helped get them there. Lady Gaga, with all her fame and fortune knows it (Little Monsters, House of Gaga), the Misfits knew it (Fiend Club), captains of industry who give back by mentoring know it. They don’t have to thank the world, in fact even infamy could also make them known the world over, but who will cry when they die?
I stopped to think of all the people who have helped me and continue to do so. There are so many that it’s impossible to list them all, and it humbles me to the point that there is no gesture big enough to thank them all that could ever do them justice. The best I can do is be the best person I could be to them. Helping others does take time out of your busy schedule but it’s worth it. I could easily bury myself in work for each waking hour of the day and still never be done, but when a friend needs me I do my best to be there for them. The rewards of being a genuine, helpful friend totally outweigh the cost it presents to your time. When you are sick or need a leg up, they will be there for you and that’s priceless.
I’ve been reading Robin Sharma’s book that shares the title of this post. I’ve seen him talk before and I like how he relates all his sort of hippy advice to entrepreneurship, so it resonates with me. One would think from the title that it’s about how to be more awesome, as most self-help books tend to be, but if you read it (and it’s a very easy read with 1.5 page chapters) you will notice that most of his advice is about taking care of yourself so you can take care of others. Seems to be the contrary of what I ranted about at the start of this post, but the difference is the reasons behind looking out for oneself. You only have one life to live and once it’s over, it’s over. Will you be forgotten or will you leave a legacy? It’s up to you.
Recently I’ve found myself in a few conversations centered on the same subject: who people really are when no one’s looking. This subject has come up mostly with my younger friends just entering their 20′s (i.e my sister and her friends, students I’ve given lectures to, young friends in the tech scene) and I wish I had taken the time to think about it when i was in my early 20s. I think it’s important to grow your own way and be the person you want to be, not the person everyone else thinks you should be.
Consider that most of us, on any given day, dress or act a certain way in public to “fit in” without rocking the boat. It makes sense; it’s a lot easier to blend in because you’re less likely to get hassled by others or be the subject of gawking onlookers’ judgement. You can ride the public transit system or walk the streets in peace knowing that you can exist without impinging on anyone else’s equally pedestrian existence.
However, I believe that within every one of us there is an artist, a scientist, a writer, a sexpot, a game changer, an inventor, a dancer, a fighter and, in some cases, a genius. It’s painful for me to watch someone stifle their true nature to fit in to such a degree that even behind closed doors they worry about what label they will bring upon themselves because, secretly, they enjoy some sort of activity or pursuit that others would find strange, abnormal or taboo. When we force ourselves to fit the mold that society puts pressure on us to adopt, potential and growth are stifled and we are that much further from our next giant leap in culture, science, enlightenment and acceptance.
It seems the only time people cut loose a bit is in the bedroom, but a lot of the time, it’s more of the same. To me, it’s ludicrous to think that two people can’t shed society’s expectations, or take a break from the usual folkways and mores when the door is locked. Pierre Trudeau said it best (although he was referring to the state specifically – however it can be said that the state sets the tone for a lot of what we think is right and wrong)
“The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation… What’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the criminal code.”
Consenting adults should be able to escape from it all when it’s just those in the room. I guess the point is, if you can’t be “naked” when you’re naked then do you even have an identity at all.
The implications have a wider scope when applied to the double standard that the sexes face on a daily basis. Why is it that a man can be promiscuous and liberated while women get all kinds of labels should they want to live that way as well? It doesn’t make sense in an increasingly secular society. In my days learning the ins and outs of the criminal code as a criminology undergrad it became blindingly obvious that most of the common law that we take for granted is rooted in the bible or the Ten Commandments. Just about all mala in se offences are straight off of the stone tablet and the vast majority of mala prohibita offences are extensions of that.
I always find it fascinating when I see people staring and shaking their heads at a person who walks by dressed in a way that expresses their true selves. You must have experienced it at one time or another. Someone in neat pants, functional shoes, who carries pens in their shirt pocket is labelled a dweeb. A person dressed in black who has dyed their hair is a goth or a freak. It goes beyond fashion sense and into self-expression. When most of us were younger (say, high school) we probably got the chance to explore our more unusual sides, but why does that have to end once we enter the work force? If hiding your true self away is what growing up means, I never want to grow up.
Take one look at anyone who has changed the world in a profound way or brought about social change (good or bad) and you will notice one common factor among them that is anything but common! Each of these brave men and women dared to dream and dream different, to BE different. Why do I say brave? Well, because being different invariably means you will get in all sorts of trouble, be called “crazy,” and take all matter of crap from just about everyone. Most people don’t like change, but without change, there is no progress. To be a leader is to grow your own way and to be strong enough to endure the consequences. Albert Einstein did it, Hugh Hefner and Larry Flint did it. Rosa Parks, Pierre Trudeau, Barack Obama, Johnny Rotten, Gandhi, The man in Tiananmen Square, Raoul Wallenberg, Oskar Schindler…. the list goes on and on, spanning centuries. We could not ignore them and they changed everything.
So, when you step out of your home and are under the gaze of others, will you grow your own way or are you happy to go with the flow? Here’s to the crazy ones.
Since, 2007, when I became the heartless bastard that I am, I haven’t had a Valentine on Valentine’s Day. It’s almost like clockwork; life happens to me just before everyone’s favourite Hallmark holiday and I am single as ever. Nothing has really changed since last year, I suppose.
Well, to be exact, there are still people I send valentine’s wishes to but there usually isn’t a significant other that gets all that usual pampering and attention and whatnot. Since I have not had a long-term girlfriend that made it to Valentine’s Day for so long, I have since had a yearly tradition of buying one more rose than I need above and beyond the friendly roses I send flowers to. Some years it’s a new friend, some years it’s an ex-girlfriend and some years I give a rose to a completely random stranger who looks lonely.
It never hurts to be nice to someone you don’t know as it’s always easy to be cold in February.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
The other day my frenemy, Kerry McKibbin, posted the video below on Facebook and it made me and a few others wince with pain. The video pokes fun at what they call the “YouTube” generation. What they are referring to is the large number of pseudo-famous people who post videos on YouTube or tweet on Twitter who, for one reason or another, go viral overnight and then take their unexpected, short lived, accidental fame as expertise in whatever it is they got “famous” for. Here’s the vid.
DISCLAIMER: I Do not own the rights to this video and clearly neither does the poster of the vid. NBC Universal may at anytime remove the content, sue the crap out of the user who posted it from YouTube and repost it on their own channels/sites. Please don’t hurt me, NBC.
The ghosts of Antoine Dodson, Hungrybear9562 (double rainbow guy), and, I’m sad to say, a lot of people I’ve met at various social media events, conferences, outings rattle their chains as I write this. The vid satirizes “Twitter famous” people who, by virtue of their sizable followings, feel entitled to whatever it is they want. The character played by Daniel Radcliffe very poignantly explains that he got on the show by complaining to his many followers on twitter that he deserved to be on the show – the online equivalent of a spoiled kid tantrum or… terrorism.
It’s funny and yet so painful because it’s true. It’s the real dark side of the two-way conversation that has been opened up by social media and just about every “influencer” I have met is guilty of doing it to some degree at some point; myself included. I hang my head in shame at the admission of it but I did catch myself in the past and made my amends where necessary. Lalawag calls this phenomenon “Social Media Entitlement Syndrome” and there are a few variations to the meaning of the term from that most excellent article. I encourage you to read it:
1. Feeling and behaving as if one should be granted certain privileges (event access, free products, job offers) because he/she is well-known in social media.
2. Expecting all-access to an individual’s private life because he/she occasionally posts personal items in social networks.
3. Acting like it’s acceptable and normal to piss (bombard w/comments, tweets, DMs) on someone’s social stream.
4. Demanding that people retweet your content, and resenting them if they don’t.
5. Assuming that because you correspond with someone via social media, you should be invited to every social gathering that person plans or is involved with.
Some of them are more poignant for others, but you get the picture. If the video didn’t make you cringe enough, finding out that you’re guilty of one of the above will rub salt in the wound. I’ve noticed something of a binary divide in people you find on twitter and other social networks: people are either thought leaders with something to show for it (i.e. a book, a career in an related field, training, a popular blog) or they are noisemakers (read: social media bums) who are all over twitter but tend to have none of the aforementioned things coupled with a very vague twitter bio that mentions their love for cats and food.
The thing is that even before I saw the video I’ve noticed and been aware of the issue but not given it much focused thought. What I can tell you is that the issue itself is in part responsible for my far less frequent posts on this here blog. You could say I’ve lost my joie de vivre for posting for the sake of posting about my life. It all started when I changed the direction of this blog to be more about the reader than me as much as possible. I try to post about things that are within reach of a reader rather than brag about that super exclusive event I was invited to. If I go to something like that (although lately I haven’t had any time to do it for some time now) then I usually offer readers an opportunity to join me there or reap some benefit from the sponsor of the event. Still you’ll notice that my posts have been going mostly in the direction of marketing, advertising, SEO, futurism and so on.
This all goes right back to the Social Media Elephant in the Room and it’s no wonder why there is an ever growing cohort of people who just can’t wait to declare social media “dead” because they see, like you may be starting to now, what was described above. However social media is still big business even if the adoption rate is still a bit slow among bigger companies who are accustomed to outbound communications. The value is still that two-way channel of communication that can make or break a company in terms of marketing and increase accountability. However, the dark side that is entitlement remains and it’s hard to tell if it’s going anywhere any time soon.