I was speaking with a Social Media friend about so-called celebrity experts in the SoMe world. We quickly distinguished between the real knowledgeable person who actually did their own tweets and others that sort of fell into fame for no apparent reason. This topic even came up in a recent #blogchat where someone was negatively talking about a SoMe celebrity who had tens of thousands of followers on Twitter, but followed only a handful himself.
In my experience, there are genuine stars in Social Media and a lot of people who simply game the system without providing the goods. It seems pretty obvious who is who and I choose to learn from the former and marvel at the chutzpah of the latter.
Happily, I can count a lot of the genuine SoMe stars as either/both virtual or IRL friends. The list includes Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, Angela Maiers, Jessica Northey, Ted Rubin, and so many others. Not a one of those people – specifically mentioned or that I consider a valuable resource – doesn’t get back to me quickly and do much of their own SoMe work. Of course, Guy Kawasaki has assistants, as do so many others. But, when he guests on #DadChat, it’s him all the way and he rocks it out of the park each time. Same with every other name on my short list above, each of whom has co-hosted #DadChat at least once.
Those people who give back to others are always my favorite “stars” since I truly do believe in my motto that Social Media = Social Good. But, what about the more obvious celebrity experts or, more accurately, the celebrities (without expert added) who have fame and stature on SoMe or, for that matter, fame outside of their expertise?
These are the celebrities that irk me the most — when Sean Penn, Michael Moore, Barbra Streisand, Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon and so many others espouse political points-of-view when clearly they know so very little. My fav is Alec Baldwin who puts his foot in his mouth every time he opens it and utters something unscripted. I still don’t understand why he lives in the United States after declaring emphatically he would leave if Bush (II) were re-elected.
Sean Penn courts favor with despots and dictators while that tattooed idiot of a former basketball star curries favor with Young Kim in North Korea, one of the most evil men on the planet. The foolishness of these celebrities in spouting off platitudes when they know so very little is astonishing. I suppose it began in earnest in sixties when Marlon Brando had a stand-in accept his Academy Award and declare a political position and stance.
During World War II Hollywood was extremely pro-America. It was a badge of honor to enlist in the service as did so many actors and so many sports stars. The great Ted Williams gave up many years in his prime to proudly serve in the military. We all know how many celebrities lined up to enlist during the Vietnam era.
It was my generation which tore down all the walls of civility and respect towards authority and the military AND the government. Sadly, Nixon didn’t help the cause for a president to earn respect, but the extreme actions of my generation during those turbulent years laid the groundwork for the nonsense of celebrity experts today and the deterioration of so many of our institutions.
Ironically, 9/11 brought back for a brief period, a sense of unity in the country but that has long been blown away by the growth of political correctness and the incredible vitriol that is standard now among our nation’s politicians.
All this rambling brings me back to who really is a celebrity expert. It’s basically in the eyes of the beholder. Do you vett what a basketball or Hollywood star says or do you simply agree with them because of their celebrity status? This is our responsibility. Take the time to know who is who. I know those in my space – public and private – that genuinely make the world a better place. And, I know those that are simply mouths that speak with rarely a word of wisdom or truth uttered. Take the time to know the difference and be sure you teach your children the same!