Saturday, April 16, 2011

Social Media Dick

Hello, My name is Patrick and I am a dick.  

Call this a lesson or call it a tale of what not to do. Either way the result is the same. I received a DM to my twitter account from one of Ktown's biggest Social Media Gurus and author of a blogging book, declaring me to be a dick. It's not a surprise to anyone, really. But I would like to tell you about the circumstances regarding my dickishness.

This past week Knoxville hosted a Social Media Event called Social Slam which is cool. Several of my friends (both online and IRL) went to the event. And as these things go, my twitter feed was filled instantly with quotes from the same person with the hashtag #soslam. Now being the individual that I am and seeing that many of them were my friends I started conversing with them.


My good friend Brian (@BC42) was posting some quotes and I would quote tweet him and change some words here and there. Harmless right? Nothing too bad.

I came across a webpage with sexual statistics in my surfing during all of this and knew there were approximately 400 people at the event so I started tweeting some statistics on the event. Things like, total square inches of nipple at the event and amount of sperm at the event. Silly stuff. Still in the harmless range.


Here is where I got myself into a jam. You see, when you have these experts espousing rules and paths out to the world it is like street preaching. Whenever I come across that I have to validate what I hear. Aw fuck it, I try to validate anything I hear. But Like I said this is the virtual cousin of street preaching, hallelujah! Towards the end of the event I saw this quote going around on twitter "Content is King."

This got me to thinking, is content king? What is the measurement for that? Hits? Reposts? Quotes? I am sure there is an algorithm that is used for such things, but the big one is Page Views, unique or otherwise. Which lead me to question what is the most visited site in the world. Facebook is or was or will be the most visited page depending on the statistic floating around today. Doesn't really matter, it's up there.

If you're like me you find 90% of the content on Facebook to be trash. The same goes for twitter. We re-visit these places for the 10% and for the community. Hell, I visit Facebook to see who I can argue with sometimes, but that is my baggage and I am sure there is a pill for it.


So around about that lead me to the thought that if content truly was king, then sites like Wolfram Alpha and Wikipedia would garner 90% of all internet traffic. They don't. They are big, to be sure. But they do not garner anywhere near that amount of traffic. Facebook has the form that draws people back even if they hate it.

So I of course tweet my displeasure at that statement because in my point of view it is not correct. The funny thing is that I just had an debate that day whether being right precludes happiness. It does not by the way, or at least the search for it does not. I am happier than most people that I know.  And I received a few nibbles back from some of the people at #soslam about my statement. But still that was most likely the point of the day when I over-stepped my welcome at #soslam.

The next day I received the DM stating that i was a dick and had embarrassed everyone there and basically stained the whole city with my smegma. My first thought is to apologize for my actions and I did. I soon retracted my statement because it got under my skin. Who is this asshole to call me out and tell me to censor myself. Who is this asshole to tell me that even though it is a public event and they are cluttering up the Knoxville Twitter stream with quotes, awesome motivational phrases and the like that it is an exclusive club? Listen to us, but don't interact with us. Or if you do, only agree with us. I know who the asshole is and some of you do too. I shall not mention the name, for fear of lawsuit and what I would do upon such lawsuit. But that is neither here nor there.

So, therein lies the lesson for the social media gurus. Let's move on to the lesson about working with honor and being a man. We'll slide into some eastern pseudo-philosophy here too.

I am an unabashed asshole, but I try to follow some rules of engagement. I try to never personally attack a person. I will attack their concept of an idea. I will attack their actions if I see hatred or malice. But I will not attack that person, unless provoked. I will also listen to every idea under the sun. I love them. I even love the ideas that people tell me where I am in the wrong. If I have followed an idea that has been proven wrong I drop it. It's not really mine. If I have offended someone I will re-evaluate my actions. Here for instance I see the line that I crossed. I might not should have done that.


My attacker does not see the lack of honor in privately calling me a dick. He does not see the lack of honor in calling anyone a dick, or launching a personal attack. He never will. He has set himself up as THE guru with all things relationship and has forgotten the first rule of any knowledge; ALWAYS BE THE STUDENT. So that is fine. I'll let it go. I don't expect anything more. I'm old school in that regard. So where is the lesson?

When someone attacks you privately, it is not because they have class. It is because it keeps their actions hidden from everyone else. This is the way of politicians, popes and middle management flunkies. Oh, and apparently Gurus. The private attack is also disarming, because hey, they have your best interests at heart too. They are doing this privately to protect your reputation and level of respect in your community. That's the sales pitch anyway. It's rubbish. If you have to say something, do it in public. Speak well and do not attack the person. It keeps us honest.

Another benefit for a private attack is it gives the attacker the upper hand. Let me explain. In my school we had a phrase "Admonish in private, praise in public." Who was that rule for? The teachers. My instructor, who is a wise man, teaches us how to teach. I learned a lot about conducting myself from that class. Thanks Tagaturo Klement. The point being is when you pull someone aside, you are in the act of teaching them. You are transferring your knowledge into them and with them. Make sure you are that person's teacher before you do.

Of course, this is all from my point of view and I could just be an archaic relic from times passed. I would like to thank everyone at #soslam who played along for putting on a good event and for not taking yourselves too seriously.

You guys know how I feel about quotes, I think they are the sign of a mind with unoriginal ideas. That being said, I'm going to leave on one...

"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them." John Wayne - The Shootist


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  2. What chapter will this be in the book of Snarky? :)

    Lots of lessons in this lesson. Thanks for sharing!