My car’s in the shop. That means I’m walking and taking transit a lot more than I usually do, and that means I get to catch up on my podcasts.
Yesterday, I was listening to John McLachlan’s Full Bleed Arts Marketing Podcast #7 (I figure prominently in #6), an interview he did with Julien Smith of inoveryourhead.net. Julien is a Montreal-based social media dude (we don’t use the word guru around here), and co-authoured (with Chris Brogan) a little book you may have heard of called Trust Agents.
It’s a great podcast, and I’d encourage you listen to it yoursef. You should know up front that Julien’ language is a little, er, colourful, just in case you get offended by stuff like that, but I personally loved his post called Five Effective Ways to Use Twitter… Ahhh… F*%k It!
For me, what was really inspiring about the post was all this talk about how we, generally as humans, and more specifically as
Canadians, want to be liked, and want to belong. And social networks give us that opportunity. How popular are you? You’re as popular as the amount of friends you have on facebook. It’s like revenge of the nerds for those of us who were uncool in high school. Your social success is now judged by the amount of friends you have on Facebook, or by your Twitter followers.
Julien blows all of this out of the water. He talks about taking risks, most specifically, the risk of failure. What if I write a blog post or a tweet, and it’s bad? Careers have toppled. The internet never forgets. Danger Will Robinson!
But Julien argues that we are actually too cautious, and that cautiousness is holding us back from living a life “out there” which is interesting and exciting, and somes bad because we made a mistake, but it’s not the end of the world.
He talks about polarising your audience. We are so afraid of losing friends and pissing people off or hurting someone’s feelings that we play the fence. I do this all the time in my blog posts: I’ll present both sides and allow the reader to choose without really taking a side, even though I totally have a side. Julien is encouraging you to take sides and to polarize your audience. Will you lose some people? Yep. Will you piss some people off? Oh yeah. But at least you are being truly truthful, and transparent, and isn’t that what this whole era of social media is really about?
Also, interestingly, folks who take one side or another (whatever they may be) tend to get more hits. So, in a way, being mean (if you want to view it as that) can get you seen. I’m not encouraging you to create controversy just to get numbers, but I have to say, I really admire folks who have the
balls guts to say what they really feel. Because I am Canadian. And a female. “Be nice” is engraned into my DNA.
Do two things today. For me. First listen to the podcast. Then do one thing that takes you out of your comfort zone. One thing that makes you feel uncomfortable. It could be Julien’s method of social skydiving, or it could be something else: post a controversial tweet or a Facebook status, or write a blog post, or try Uni. But just try it. And see what happens. And then maybe post your experience in the comments below.