Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Social Media, Thought Leadership and the “Know It All” Syndrome

It is well understood that social media is an effective channel for thought leadership. Yet, any expression of opinion carries the risk of adverse market reaction.

Here is an example. It had been less than 24 hours since I published my post about a Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) event on social media when I received some rather interesting feedback.

Two separate business contacts each sent me a tweet from Evan Weisel, NVTC social media committee lead and principal of PR shop Welz & Weisel, with a note saying, “I think he’s talking about you.”

Just read a blog from a competitor that thinks he is a know it all...I really don't like know it alls...I'm just saying. 9:34 PM Feb 28th via web

OK…before I dive into this there are a couple of important points to disclose. For starters, I do not know if Evan is specifically referring to me, however considering my somewhat critical post about the discussion at the NVTC event it is a possibility.

Second, Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) does compete with Evan’s shop. I’ve never met the guy, yet I have worked with a number of his employees in the past and think highly of them. I am confident they do fine work for their clients.

As for his (possible) personal criticism of me for expressing my opinion in this blog, I’m comfortable with it. In fact, it’s part of the compelling value of engaging in social networks – near real-time feedback on views, beliefs and ideas.

I often joke in new business presentations that thought leaders have to have thoughts. It’s true. Social media content that engages, educates and entertains demands a clear and well articulated opinion.

There will be those who disagree. They’ll share their views through comments. They will counter with their own posts. And they will possibly refer to you as a “know it all.”

UPDATE: Message from Evan via Twitter explaining that I was not the person he was referring to in his tweet.

evanweisel: Hey @strategicguy - why do they assume I was talking about you? I was not. But thanks for calling or emailing me direct.

@evanweisel Thanks for the tweet. Great to hear I'm not the "know it all" (smile). Used it to make a point about social media engagement.

1 comment:

allison.tobin said...

Marc--on the balance, much better to be a 'know it all' than a 'know nothing' i say! I don't think either of you are 'know it alls' or 'know nothings' for that matter, but you both have a responsibility to maintain your knowledge of social media and provide your insights and opinions. Hope you are well, Mr. Know a Lot!