The Devolving Civility Situation

Social Media Tensions

This post was almost titled “Eating Kawasaki,” but the issue extends beyond Twitter behavior and influencers. The general state of online conversation continues to devolve into a snarky, nasty tar pit, in turn impacting the outside world by destroying real relationships.

That should not be a surprise, people who exist online interact in real life. As bad manners become the norm online, they inevitably affect their real life relationships.

A recent study reported by Reuters and Marketing Pilgrim, showed that “78 percent of 2,698 people reporting an increase in rudeness online with people having no qualms about being less polite virtually than in person.” The above infographic shows more factoids from the study.
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Done with Traditional Publishing

Books to be returned...
Image by Hash Milhan

Brian Driggs asked me to discuss self-publishing after reading my sordid Fifth Estate story. While I don’t want to dismiss traditional publishing altogether, I can only speak for myself. I will self publish my next book.

There are several reasons, but first let’s discuss two reasons to consider traditional publishing:

Prestige

If you are published by a traditional house, particularly one of the majors, there’s a prestige element. Most “published” authors, some business people, and at least outwardly almost every publisher looks down on self published authors.

As someone who attended American University and then Georgetown University, the published prestige is comparable to Ivy League snobbery. And for the record, American challenged me more intellectually than Georgetown (which is perceived as on par with some Ivy League schools).

Traditional publishers will tell you to never self publish, that you won’t ever have a chance of getting published in real life. But then you hear stories of successful self publishers who get signed, people like John Scalzi, Mark Schaefer and Amanda Hawking. Self publishing has become a minor league for traditional publishers.
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What the Circles Illustrate About Influence

First 1000 Followed on Google+

The following is a Google+ post. It is based on early observations about the network and larger social media trends. Consider it an open cognitive discussion and learning about the network. Please fee free to add your experiences, thoughts and hopes.

Much has been said about Google+ Circles, and their ability to filter content streams by the type of person in our life. In doing so, Google+ has also allowed each person to demonstrate how influence plays out in their lives.

In reality, influential people are the most trusted peers and family members in our lives — not the Chris Brogans, Seth Godins and Robert Scobles of the world. Yet, the land grab that has occurred in Google+ and all of the criticism of big voices dominating on the network would have you thinking differently. This again demonstrates belief in popular myths of top-down influence reigning supreme on social networks.

Social network influence by real life roles

In reality, Google Circles allow us to band and view streams based on actual importance to our lives, possibly pictured as above. Of course, everyone’s personal lives are different. Family may have less weight, and different sub-circles, such as nuclear and extended family. The same could be said for any of the categories, for example work can have sub-circles like colleagues, professional networks, online contacts, and yes, bloggers/writers. Of course, there are people who may belong to multiple circles, too.

It is hard to envision the so-called influencer ever getting closer to the heart than the middle of someone’s social network. The only exception could be a bonafide real relationship. More than likely they lie to the far right, in effect turning the top-down picture we are led to believe in on its ear. In reality, the only reason why content creators seem so present is because individual followers — or as the circles become smaller and stronger, peers and friends — reshare them.

If peer trust is what matters in social networks, then the uberinfluencer garners strength from reach within our networks. It is the grassroots network that delivers the content to our screen. Depending on how individuals parse their circles, a Guy Kawasaki may rarely be viewed, while a Chris Pirillo is ever present.

It’s just conjecture based on three weeks of Google+, yet it seems to make sense. What do you think?

Influencer Theory Turned Sideways