Being known as a social guru is something a lot of us working on the Internet aspire to in todays social networks. Right? Well, Ive noticed that some people " followed by many and well respected " give out information without giving the good, bad and the ugly.
In my opinion, its irresponsible. The worst culprits are the ones that wont admit theyre wrong. Some wont even admit that another point of view is viable unless it agrees with their own. Especially when discussing another discipline they know nothing about, they should, at the very least, be willing to listen.
Now, this is simply my opinion; everyone has one and were all free to give our own. As a professional in the field, its important to accept that there will always be differences in opinions. Giving facts based on an opinion, however, is dangerous.
Is there data backing up these statements? If youre stating something as a fact, you should be able to back the facts up. If there are no facts, its an opinion " and thats okay.
Are You An Omnipotent Guru?
The omnipotent guru is a legend in their own mind. The omnipotent guru always right. Their opinions are facts; what they say is law. To keep their online reputation going, they perpetuate the myth that they know all. After all, if they dont know everything, people wont respect them, read them, follow them
Id argue that people who respect your blog and follow your social bread crumb dont mind if you dont have all the answers. Id even venture to say inviting experts in that field to give their professional opinion is a great way to start a conversation. Quoting that professional would allow your readers and followers to know you care enough to share your platform and give real value.
To Promote or Not to Promote
Most of us in the industry know a few things about using tools and widgets for spam, etc. Why? Because many of us manage a heavy load of sites and blogs. I have my favorites, other industry people have their favorites, John Doe blogger has his favorites and the list goes on. Therefore, when I see some gurus post about the best blogging tools and widgets, itd be nice to see a in my opinion somewhere in the post.
What reason do they have for promoting their personal list? Maybe they use the tools, or are being paid to promote them. Either way, its irresponsible (again, in my opinion) to lay down the law and say, This THIS TOOL RIGHT HERE out of the MILLIONS is the best one to use.
How do you know? Did you test the other 556 tools that offer the same thing? Do you have a case study to share? Do you have a valid reason for believing the tools youre promoting are the BEST?
When you unequivocally promote something, remember youre saying, My company backs this product. In other words, youre staking your company reputation " your online reputation " on XYZ product. Unless youre willing to do that, dont get caught up in the omnipotent guru attitude. Be willing to admit the title best is your opinion " unless you have the case study and facts to back it up.
Let me give you an example of the omnipotent guru in terms of comment management tools. We used Disqus a while back as a comment manager. We discovered that Disqus weighed down our site. We also discovered that we were unable to give link love; all Disqus links are nofollow. In short, this wasnt a tool we wanted to keep using.
However, I noticed people promoting it as the end all, be all of commenting tools. In the same breath, theyd talk about how Akismet is a great spam management tool. Does Akismet work? Sort of: some spam ends up in the comments, and some comments end up in spam. The truth of the matter is whether a tool is the best or not depends on what you want it to do.
A Comment on Comment Management and Moderation
Comments seem to be the lifeline of any blog. For some reason, people are drawn to the posts bringing more comments. Maybe we (readers) believe that the more comments a post gets, the more interesting it must be. Of course, the question is always, Interesting to whom?
Once you have readers coming to your blog and commenting, you soon find out you need some way to manage them. One reason, you see, is because spammers like high traffic blogs. If you allow all comments to go through, you could end up with tons of spam comments " and most spam comments look exactly like what they are
Now, you can use tools like Disqus; it just didnt work for us. Another option is giving a commenter the ability to comment freely once youve allowed their first one to go through. Personally, I think people who comment on a regular basis know there might be a short waiting period and arent expecting an immediate response.
So How Do You Keep the Conversation Going?
You know, I actually jumped in the fray of a comment conversation to defend someone I know, read and respect. Maybe I shouldnt have, but some very good points were being discussed.
However, after a few comments back and forth, I realized it was more a matter of flexing guru muscles rather than sharing great information. Its still mind boggling to me. You dont keep a conversation going by being unbendable and full of yourself.
Blogging, commenting, networking " it all makes the conversation go round. As well, how you contribute to a conversation and what you contribute helps build your online reputation.
If you find the conversation stopping, think over your past responses, comments, and posts. Have you become the omnipotent guru? Have you decided your opinions are all fact? Do you use words like, in my opinion or in my experience?
Remember, your readers have the right to their own opinion. They have the right to make up their own mind. Giving your readers, followers and industry peers a level of respect will give back a mutual respect that lasts a lot longer than one post.
Find out how your online conversation is doing:
Check out Klout. Klout gives you an overview of how youre doing in the social world. Ive been using it for quite some time. Dont read the numbers as law, but it does give a virtual view of your conversation. Along with my other secret weapons 😉 , I can pretty much figure out how my campaign is going.
You can get an idea of your Tweet Rank " gasp - Although its written in Portuguese, the translation isnt bad and its a pretty popular tool.
Peerindex is also a popular tool. If youre networking and have a certain target niche, this tool can give you a visual of how well youre staying on track / topic. What do you talk about most? PeerIndex just might be able to tell you.
And just for giggles and grins, you can try ePenis, brought to you by the sex country of the world. Not only is this thing hilarious well, test it out. You might be surprised by the results.
Whether you think your opinion matters or not to people, keep in mind Google is watching everything now. As well, more people are watching than you think. That should give everyone a clue that ORM should become part of your day-to-day strategy and conversation.