I’m coming up to my third year bloggiversary. I can’t legitimately celebrate it, I suppose. I haven’t really posted here much for the last several months. But my bloggiversary also marks about the extent of my time in the online world. A lot has changed over the last 36 months. Maybe some of those changes have just been in me – my perspective, my experiences, my various amounts of increasing or decreasing knowledge about certain topics. But A-Listers, I think you’ve changed, too. In fact, I’ve watched it happen. And I’m worried about you as people. I’m worried about your souls. I’m worried not that you’re “selling out,” but I’m worried about your souls.
A-Listers, you don’t walk your talk anymore. I watch you continue to talk about relationships, but what you create are not relationships. Not anymore. You have your cliques. You have your secret meetings that result in projects that you all announce on your blogs at the same time. You don’t even pretend to follow people that aren’t in those groups, in some cases. All of the things you used to preach, all of the things you stood by, you now contradict with your actions. I worry about you, A-Listers.
A-Listers, you no longer are willing to “do the work” like you so often used to preach. You forget what it was like working your way to the top, don’t you? Now you go for the short punch, the quick kill. You have learned that if you put “ROI” or “Content Marketing” in your blog title or in your e-newsletter headline, people will read. And sadly, most will not question why your post or your e-newsletter has nothing to do with those things. You will get away with the traffic bait unhindered because people are convinced of your expertise. But I see it, A-Listers. I’ve fallen for it. And it disappoints me every single time. Because you know better than to toy with people like that, A-Listers. I know you know the importance of not messing with people online because when I was starting out I went to YOU to learn those lessons. I went to your blog posts that were about the things the headline hinted at. I worry about you, A-Listers.
A-Listers, I worry that you are creating protective bubbles around yourselves and around each other. I worry that you are showing your work to each other and that you are so afraid to give or receive honest feedback, you are creating a world where “the Emperor’s new clothes” is no longer just a fairy tale. You are not perfect. None of you. Sometimes your work will be flawed. Sometimes your thinking will be flawed. You need people in your life who will say, “Man, that post kind of blew.” Because sometimes your posts do stink. Sometimes your writing is crappy. Sometimes you say things you really should not have said. Where are the people who will keep you honest? They have been dismissed as “haters.” You have surrounded yourselves with people who will only coddle you. And that is doing no favors to you, A-Listers. You need a devil’s advocate. You need to hear other perspectives that may not match your own. You need civil disagreement. I worry about you, A-Listers.
A-Listers, I listen to you talk about how you value people, but I have watched you throw people away. Some of you have thrown me away. Some of you have thrown great people I know away. For stupid reasons. For selfish reasons. For reasons you did not think through clearly before you acted. This will catch up to you eventually. You will lose those who are loyal to you. You will lose those who will defend you. You will be left with the dreary consequences of your actions, actions that were made for what? To maintain your celebrity status? To keep you on the speaking circuit? These things will seem inconsequential to you if you stay on the paths you are on. You will find yourself married to your work in a relationship without love or joy. You will find yourself ensnared in a mire of incestuous, mindless support of the same people, the same ideas, over and over and over again. You will find yourself with a house of cards built on avatars and Facebook updates. I worry about you, A-Listers.
It is not too late – it is never too late – to right your path. You can do your work with honesty and integrity. You can admit that you don’t know things. You can accept criticism, gracefully given, with grace. You can reach out to new people. You can learn new skills. You can hone the skills you have now. You can apologize for the wrongs you have done, and you can correct the missteps you’ve taken. It’s the option we all have, A-Listers. You can do it too.
I worry about you, A-Listers. I worry that you are going to drag down individuals and companies with you when you fall. I worry the weight of that will be too much for you.
I worry about you, A-Listers.
I really do.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizhaslam/7499366134/ via Creative Commons