Why People Believe They’re Social Media Rock Stars

Rock Star

Kyle Flaherty wrote an interesting, truthful and important piece last week dubbed, “You Are (Most Likely) Not a Marketing nor Social Media Rock Star.” At the same time, I felt it was important to add some perspective on why some of our louder or more respected voices drink the rock star kool-aid.

Here is an edited, hyperlinked version of my comment on Kyle’s post:

By no means do I consider myself to be rock star. And you know this, Kyle. I put my pants on, collect a paycheck, take out the garbage, and pick up dog poop every day like many Americans.

I also speak roughly once or twice a week on social media or marketing. I’m oft respected publicly as an innovator in our business. I receive lots of kumbaya laurels, and when I am out and about I have a hard time at public events going anywhere without someone stopping me. Though I wear a ring on my finger, I get blatantly hit on by beautiful women at least once a week. Why? Because people see me as a rock star, at least in this nano-bubble.

I choose to see things from your perspective. I know this is more on them than me, a sign of hero worship, and a demonstration that they really don’t know me. As Caitlin (my wife) likes to say after any of these incidents occur in front of her, “Remember honey, you’re just a dork.” And I do remember.

See, I know that I’m only as good as my last big accomplishment, my last project, or even my last blog post. I refuse to rest on my laurels, and, in the case of these accolades, I don’t take the nanofame very seriously. But, I have had moments.

If maybe, just maybe, you’re a geek who never got a lot of attention, or if you are insecure then this kool-aid can seem pretty inviting. One must ask one’s self, can we blame these “rock stars” or feel sorry for them? To believe these fans is to acknowledge one’s reality, though a fake and shallow one thrust on us for public, industry specific accomplishments. Without perspective and spiritual balance, I think it’s a very easy thing to do.

A little more color to the story post comment… The phenomena of nanofame is a by-product of people’s attachment to others, or parasocial behavior. Pam Slim wrote about this in her post last year, “How to avoid being a ‘fan boy’ or ‘fan girl when building relationships with people you admire.’”

This type of behavior will continue so long as we have people creating content or actively engaging in public. People will have to learn how to deal with it, either well or poorly. When it first happened to me, I was so perplexed by it I even did a short movie on it. Welcome to the journey.