I'm having a love/hate relationship with the social media industry right now. I'll be a big girl and admit it.
What am I talking about? "Expert" lists.
For all the value they can bring, I love them and for the negative they also bring, well, they suck.
Before I go any further, let me say this. If you are new to the social media industry, these "expert" or "top people" lists can provide value in helping you to find who to follow to learn more. So please don't be discouraged from what I'm writing.
Truly, I am a list person through and through. I organize my day by them, projects by them, my Twitter account by them. I could not survive without my to-do lists. So naturally I gravitate to lists giving me the best social media programs to use, best WordPress plug-ins to use, etc. and the top/best/brightest/up-and-coming in the industry. That last type of list is what brings me here today.
Being on a list is a great boost to a person and their business. It could be Forbes Social Media Influencers list, someone's top 100 Twitter Accounts to follow or a list of soon-to-be known names. What frustrates some of my peers and I to no end is the fact that it's almost always the same big-wig clique who always gets all the praise. On top of that, some of them are just blowing smoke and no actually doing the work themselves. There are MANY social media pros out there that should be making these lists and aren't.
I realize there are a bajillion people working in social media these days (seriously, do a search on LinkedIn) and it's hard to weed through everyone. If you are listed somewhere, somehow, you should be grateful (unless you are bribing people to get on a list, then you should be ashamed). I really am when I see my name pop up. However, for those who don't make a list no matter how long they've been in the business, some form of self-doubt and second-guessing does creep up.
I know when people come up with lists, they devote a lot of time and energy into selecting the people they want. They cannot include everyone so something has to give. For the most part I think we need to start ignoring most of these lists or at least be very selective in what lists you give value to.
It's just one person's opinion.
Who I respect and follow is different from the next person. Those individuals I would put on my list probably wouldn't be the same as Joe Schmo's.
Some of the individuals don't walk the talk.
Yes, it may be the same people over and over, but if you take a look at the real work they are doing, you'll see some of them don't deserve it. For example, if a social media "expert" is doing nothing but typing quotes into Canva and publishing it, are they really a social media "expert"? How about stealing content from other social media professionals? Trust me, there are some big names out there doing both of those.
Some of the best and brightest are not out there to be acknowledged all over the web.
I know of several pros who deserve to be acknowledged like that, but because they don't fawn over the big names with "look at me!!" they are often missed.
If you put too much into being validated by a list, you'll lose your way and start doubting what you do.
Let me explain. Self-doubt can be harmful for a business owner. It's a sick, downward-spinning spiral that can totally derail what you are doing. In life everyone seeks validation and being on a list does that for a businessperson, no matter how superficial or vain. It can indicate they've made it or they are someone important. However, you shouldn't judge yourself by that alone. If your business is growing year after year, you are doing something right.
Speaking of that self-doubt, we all struggle with it throughout our lives (hello, middle school?) however there are things we can do to combat it.
- Point out your successes. If you focus on the positive and not the negative, you'll feel better.
- Use your self-doubt as a motivator. Prove to yourself you can do it, whatever it is. Show the world why you're awesome.
- Use it as a self-improvement tool. Take a look at yourself and ask yourself why you have that self-doubt. Is it out of jealousy? Did someone say something?
Okay, confession time. A while back there were a few social media people lists that came out from people I talk with on a regular basis and I was not on any of them. Yes, my feelings got hurt but you know what? I got up the next day and kept trucking. I (we) do not need to let these lists influence how we go about our daily lives and our daily business. These lists are simply opinions and we all have them.
So let me ask you - what's your honest opinion about these lists?
Photo Credit: Expert Lists/shutterstock