Do you remember the movie The Usual Suspects? It came out back in the mid-90s. It was the first “surprise ending” movie that I really really liked. I wasn’t quite ready for The Crying Game back then.
If you still haven’t seen it, let me summarize the non-spoilery parts for you. A handful of men, “the usual suspects,” are arrested for a crime that none of them committed. They decide they’re all going to get revenge, but in the process of forging this alliance, they come to realize that really, they were all gathered together by a massively powerful man who goes by the name Keyser Söze. They have all wronged him in some way, and their payment to him is essentially to carry out a suicide mission that will knock out his enemies. What four of the men don’t realize is that the Keyser is actually one of them.
The interesting thing about Keyser Söze is that he is able to create a network of very different people to carry out the actions of his empire. He is constantly using other peoples’ personality traits (flaws and good points) to his advantage, and people seldom realize that they are serving this purpose for him.
The five main characters of the story (I won’t tell you which one is the Keyser) can be compared to five different kinds of bloggers. I’m going to share with you how you could blog like Keyser Söze and incorporate these other kinds of bloggers into your team.
Verbal: Verbal is a meek guy, somewhat handicapped by cerebral palsy. His skill is that he aligns himself with whomever he perceives to be in control of the situation, because he doesn’t think he is capable of controlling things himself. As a blogger, the Verbals of Social Media will align themselves loyally with you if you make them feel like they can contribute something without shouldering the weight. If you show that you are a good resource and can offer guidance, you will be able to win the loyalty of these kinds of bloggers, and they will go out and help you promote your work.
Dean Keaton: Dean, in the movie, is dating a class-A lawyer and is trying to get a major international business going, but he used to be a very high-stakes player in the criminal world. He insists throughout the movie that he is done with the game, but of course he can’t really stay away, especially when he is offered wealth beyond his imagination, along with a little control. Getting the Mr. Keatons on your team as a blogger can be done by offering them guest posts or promoting their posts. They may say, on occasion, that Social Media is a dirty stinking world, but they keep coming back for a little more glory, and they like to be told that they are invaluable. If you feed the ego of these folks a bit, they will work for you.
McManus: McManus is the person in the movie who you can really believe is a criminal. He’s easily angered and finds it very easy to pull out his gun and kill people. He’s wild and doesn’t like to plan much, and he likes to stir the boiling pot. In the blogosphere, the McManus folks are the ones who like to post blogs that attack other people or who raise extremely controversial questions with their blogs. They can be hard to get under your wing, but if you let them know that you’re on their team, they’ll be loyal to you. Sometimes the best way to do this is just to mention their blog posts in your own when you are citing 2 opposing views. Give their position a nod. Show them that you read and understood what they were trying to say.
Fenster: Fenster is played by the barely recognizable Benicio del Toro, and he is McManus’s long-time partner. He is the comedy relief in what is otherwise a pretty dark film. He is loyal to McManus and not really to anyone else. He doesn’t really take anything too seriously but he likes money a lot. The Fensters of the blogosphere may not blog a lot about really serious subjects, but they may also get a huge following because they seem accessible. If you can build a partnership with these bloggers, you can benefit from their pull in the Social Media world.
Hockney: The final member of the Usual Suspects clan is Hockney. Hockney’s crime of choice is to hijack trucks that are carrying valuable materials. There are a lot of Social Media Hockneys out there. They want to hijack your blog by making snarly comments, maybe. Perhaps they want to hijack something else that they perceive is a valuable advantage for you. To get a Hockney on your team, you need to make them think that you are giving them your “secret sauce.” Give them a small secret and let them think it’s the key to the castle. Maybe you do a post about how you approach your own blog. Maybe you comment on their blog posts too, building them up when you think they have something good to say. Make them think that they have already hijacked you so that they aren’t looking for anything else. Always keep your eyes on them, but let them talk about your blog posts for you. Let them mention the comments you make on their posts. It’s all part of your evil plan.
Of course, finding ways to incorporate different kinds of people into your own community is not evil, whereas the Keyser, well, he’s a real mean piece of work.
What other kinds of personalities do you see out there? How can you help them and also inspire them to help you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!