Guru Status: Spreading the disease of self-proclamation through social media

With an ego stroked by a few speaking engagements and invites to only the coolest social media parties packed with overhyped elites, the social media guru is on the rise.

I'll keep this short and sweet. I wish I could say this was the first time I've written about my annoyance with "influential" people in my line of work (whether actually influential or delusional and self-touted), but alas, a more than acceptable percentage of those leading the social media front have decided to take it up another notch over the last few months with their personal brand.

The first wave of obnoxiousness was founded on publicly calling each other gurus and experts at tweetups in front of everyone. Facilitating a mix of wine-infused high fives and hand jives, name dropping while at various "social media" events, the snowball of social media douchebaggery is in full effect. Those of us that avoid used car lots and Amway ideology with the ferocity of a honey badger had no problem blogging about these individuals, calling them out on the impossibility of becoming an expert (let alone a guru) in something that has only really existed for a few years. Social media has very few established standards, and has barely just started to become a legitimate path of study in university and college settings because of it's short history and newness.

After stumbling into several Twitter bios and salesy Tony Robbins-esque websites (the teethy master of the infomercial back in the day), I had to say something. Now visible are the intentionally placed taglines describing oneself as a social media guru. It's becoming acceptable, approved of by peers, and worse, encouraged in some cases.

Newsflash: What real leaders & influencers do

First and foremost, they didn't and/or don't talk about their actions. They just lead by example. If you look historically at the approach of the most positive and influential people that led the masses most effectively, they never marketed themselves as leaders, mentors, experts or gurus. I have yet to see a cheeky marketing plan from the Dalai Lama or Mother Teresa's constituents that they themselves actually perpetuated or were the genesis of.

Real experts and leaders in social media spend more of their time talking about the amazing things that others are doing and less about how amazing they themselves are. I've been doing this stuff for awhile now on an enterprise level and still consider myself to be just "a dude that loves and understands the humans."

To quote a good friend of mine @AaronStrout on Twitter yesterday: "Just a reminder... if you have to call yourself a "guru" or "aficionado" in your profile... you probably aren't one."

UPDATE (& FUN FACT): Apparently there are almost 15,000 gurus currently on Twitter. [thx @wootten]

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