Six years ago today, I wrote my first blog post. It was not here. It was at a little Blogger site called The Real Mad Man. I had started tweeting a little beforehand.
My reasons for joining Twitter were pretty simple. I had been invited to talk about social media before a group of manufacturers at a small trade show. I knew the concepts behind social media for marketing, but I thought it was important to actually show that I knew what I was talking about. I feverishly tried to build a Twitter presence. Facebook wasn’t quite as important to marketers back in the day.
I realized pretty quickly that just trying to tweet was not really working. I needed something to share that gave me more than 140 characters to show my personality. Enter the blog site.
As time went on, over the next probably 7 years or so, I found myself, remarkably, climbing up the ladder amongst social media marketers. I found my blog posts getting shared by people who had written books and who had huge followings. I found myself on “best of” lists. I started to think about books to write so that I could go out on a speaking tour. When the great recession hit all of this seemed like it would be easier than clawing for business in the traditional way. With all of the support I was getting, it seemed like I could really do this. I became that person who humble bragged about getting mentioned by this or that person. I fiercely lamented decreases in any of my follower counts. How could anyone want to unfollow me? I was great!
Yeah. I started to get REAL cocky. I began to question myself. And I haven’t stopped.
The Social Media Marketing Corner – Is This Real Life?
A lot has changed about the social media marketing segment of the social media world over the last few years. There are people writing books today who are terrible writers. There are people writing about social good and how to be a hero to people when they treat people in abysmal fashion off the blog sites and social media platforms. Individual consultants have grouped together like amoeba to form consortiums of consultants, and they spend much of their time (so it seems to me) talking to each other online. It’s kind of like those disgusting dating or married couples who post to each other on Facebook all day. “I love you. No I love you more. I miss youuuu.” Like yuck, man.
In the old days (five years ago) people with big followings tended to show gratitude for kind words and interest in differing opinions. Today the good words are clearly expected, and even slightly differing opinions are dismissed. It is no wonder that so much of the social media marketing world consists now of talk about “influencers.” When you consider yourself an influencer, talking about how important you are works out pretty well.
No Longer Riding on the Merry-Go-Round
When I say I am leaving the social media game, I do not mean I am leaving social media. I just mean I am excusing myself from the remarkably ugly world that social media marketers have created. Here is the reality for me. My clients are primarily B2B manufacturers. Do any of the leading social media marketers know what a plumb borehole is? Do they know the difference between a cylindrical floor machine brush and a rotary floor machine brush? Can they speak to lean manufacturing and what goes into getting ISO-certified? Maybe some of them, but overall, these folks are not remotely speaking the language that the manufacturers I know need to hear. Virtual reality is great, but let’s talk about not being able to attract the right kind of work force for the work that needs to be done. Let’s talk about China knock-offs and what lower oil & gas prices really mean for businesses in the industrial sector.
I don’t need to be on a “best of” list to be able to talk to my clients about marketing of any kind. I need to be able to talk to them in a way that shows I really understand where they’re coming from. The social media marketing world does not provide that context or that venue.
What I’ll Be Using Social Media for Now
I’m going to be using social media for two things moving forward. One is not new. I am going to be trying to reach out to companies that need help in today’s increasingly confusing marketing and business world. I’ll be running social media campaigns for some of my clients, too. And I will not be bowing to the gurus in that case either. Influencers for my clients would likely be names you would never recognize unless you’re in the marketing sector too.
But I am also going to be honing my presence for an important purpose. I am going to be striving to reach out to young people who are growing up small. Whether they have achondroplastic dwarfism or another kind like me, these kids are not provided with a whole lot of real life role models. Tyrion Lannister is great but may not be the best example to follow. I want to give young people someone to reach out to who has survived the humiliation and pain of bullying to reach the humiliation of the adult life while still living a fairly regular life. I want to show what kinds of obstacles they might face so they can prepare for them. I want to give parents ideas of how to support their kids.
When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to meet a city leader who was an achondroplastic dwarf – that means she was the kind of dwarf Peter Dinklage or the people on the TLC shows are. A bit before we were due to meet, she canceled. I was heartbroken. I finally had a chance to hear from someone who had found success – a person I could talk to, not just Danny DeVito. It felt like a real slap in the face.
I want to make up for that now. With the voice that I have online, I hope I can reach some kids who need that kind of understanding. Yes, you can make it, even though it’s hard sometimes.
So, that’s where I am on my sixth anniversary of starting to do online…things. As always, there are people who have been with me this whole time, and to them I owe a huge debt of gratitude. I hope I can continue to earn your support and friendship.