Let me tell you what this post is not. This post is not an attempt to bash anyone. This is not a cry for controversial attention, nor is it a huge slimy piece of link bait. Rather, you could think of this as kind of a plea from someone who cares.
As for who I mean when I say “A-Lister,” if you think it’s you, then it applies. The plea I have to make would really work for anyone. It’s just a matter of degrees.
With all of the disclaimers out of the way, let me get to the meat and potatoes of the issue.
A-listers, you have an amazing opportunity right now. As people who guide and lead so many in the online world, how you behave could help determine what Social Media grows up to be. With the power to drive people to websites, with the power to create major conversations on your blog sites, with thousands of followers and fans wherever you go, you have an opportunity to bridge the gap between the seeming surrealism of the online world and the all too real really real world. You have the opportunity to talk to people who are currently feeling disenchanted with this online space and make them feel really special. You could show them the real beauty that can grow from online communication.
To be fair, we all have these opportunities, but you, because of the scope of your online world, see these opportunities magnified.
It is because I see these potential opportunities laid out before you that I am consistently perplexed by what you decide to do with your online power. So many of you use your blog posts to decry how you are taken advantage of online, and then others in your crew come and you all lament your position in the online world. On Twitter, I see so many of you converse with each other as if you are surrounded by imbeciles. I understand that you are more exposed to trolls and rude treatment, but you receive so many compliments every day you can’t even keep track of them. Must you use your powerful Twitter presence to complain to each other as if you were truly in an exclusive club?
Maybe my expectations are a tad unrealistic, but it seems like every day I see a different A-lister getting applause for “calling BS” or for lamenting the general status of the online A-lister. While it’s certainly not my place or intent to tell you how to use your site and your time, it seems like there are so many things that would be more productive, more inclusive, more “safe” for newer people to participate in. Perhaps you could visit some of the people I talk to on Twitter who are so discouraged that they are ready to quit. They can’t get a modicum of attention in the online world right now, and all they see are their mentors lambasting, well, people like them.
You were new once, though the times were different. You were trying to find your voice, find your friends, and figure out this maddening technology. But you did not have the experience of looking up to see a ceiling of people who were beyond reach, beyond reproach or praise, high above you in the ethereal realms of this online world. It’s intimidating. It’s frustrating sometimes. And you can determine how all of that comes out in the wash. It’s you, not us little guys, who can decide if the future of Social Media will consist of “haves” and “have-nots” or whether it will remain one cohesive group.
It feels like you’ve been going towards the former lately. I’d beg you to consider the upside of your position at this particular time, in this particular place, and see if you can smooth over some of those creased blogger brows.
What do you think?
Image by Billy Alexander. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ba1969