When you were little, did you want to be just like someone when you grew up? Did you aspire to have his or her strength? Intelligence? Compassion? Did you think his job was the coolest? Her car the fastest? Did you decide that you were going to follow in that person’s foot steps?

I’ve heard it said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but let’s go a step further. Let’s say you didn’t just imitate someone. You idolized and by definition, you held that person in high regard blindly.

One of the problems with the social media sphere at the moment, in my opinion, is idolatry. Instead of collaborating and pushing one’s own ideas about communication, a person will tend to gravitate toward a proclaimed “guru” and follow that person’s advice with closed eyes.

I know. You’re guilty of it at times. I’m guilty of it at times. When someone else has a great idea about something, it’s hard not to want to latch onto it. Maybe you appreciate the same thing or hold the same feelings. Maybe you’ve just been well persuaded.

Some people choose their idols wisely and end up actually learning from the experience. They worship, subscribe, and attend the idol’s webinars. They help to finance the success of the maven or rockstar.

The sad truth is that some of the idols I’ve come across aren’t actually idols at all. They’re rude and unappreciative. They’re very full of themselves and dedicated to hoarding knowledge and experience. They don’t answer questions and they’re not approachable. They simply go through the social media community living off of their reputation and from time to time, they produce something that truly is good work. It’s sad really because while you’re following the idol, you’re missing out on SO many great ideas from those lesser knowns.

For the past few months, I’ve been challenging myself to explore — to grow beyond the idols that got me to learn more about social media and its practice. I’m reading things from people I’ve never heard of. Maybe people you’ve never heard of. And it’s good. No, it’s great. These people are producing GREAT work.

I challenge you to step outside your comfortable circle of influencers and look for content of substance elsewhere. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.


One Response

  1. Almost not a day goes by when I don’t run across great work by someone who hasn’t achieved global idol status. Not everyone aspires to that and it’s OK, they can still be my idol. The psychology of crowd dynamics has typically been applied to physical groups of people but I posit much can be applied to online communities. I plan to blog on that topic soon. As always Mandy – thought provoking… ~Karla

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