“Tweet your waitress, i’ll be here alllll week.”

Through “Miss Destructo’s Wild Adventures” i’ve encountered a creature in my journey through the world of social media that needs to be classified and properly cataloged for further research. Last year I tackled the term of “Social Media Expert”, recently i’ve seen a growing trend of a different kind of guru/expert hybrid that I have found highly interesting and a little bit sad.

Have you ever been at an event and met that one person that is highly intriguing, charismatic, but there’s just something behind them that leaves you wanting to take a shower? They sing in buzzwords and you can find them weaseling their way into your conversations, business cards and a drink or two in hand. No real conversation other than name dropping about that one time they hung out with Sinatra (or Chris Brogan) in Vegas.

The Social Media Lounge Singer. Fallen giants, they may have been bright stars in their industries… but fast became burnt out, worn down jazz singers, clinging onto social media because it’s the easiest song to sing to others that may be tone deaf. These types tend to have small loyal followings, mostly of the senior citizen or easily entertained crowd… you can find them working their magic in bingo halls, your local hotel conference rooms, anywhere with a stage and a crowd that will swoon over their half-assed recreations of talented other’s advice, trying to gain a spot in lights by riding headliners coattails. Usually highly egotistical and pure sleaze, they can be spotted by their fast talk, name dropping… yet a Google search on them provides nothing but a world of horribly written ebooks, failed pyramid schemes, paper trail of bankrupt companies and possible police headshots.

Now don’t get me wrong, just like any good lounge singer… they are prodigies of someone else’s art, these folks have talent all of their own… it’s in the art of seduction. It’s all show, flash, glitter and lights. But once they get you as a client, a guest at their event or as a friend… you leave the relationship feeling used.

My advice, always ask around…get recommendations from trusted sources, and always listen to your gut. I think Olivier Blanchard says it best…..

“If I cannot somehow find a way to make a dent in the monuments to bullshit, stupidity and utter ineptitude currently dominating the social media “thought leadership” space in the next year, if I cannot convince digital agencies, big brands and their recruiting firms to favor competence over incompetence and actual results over spin, I will go find something else to do, and watch – from afar – this whole inbred guru-driven experiment burn into the glorious pile of rubble it was destined to be from the start.”

Amen brotha. It’s sad, and i’ve lost good clients and friends lose tons of money to these types. I’d hate to see social media become a failed experiment, but it’s up to us… the “bullshit detectors” to call out those that can’t live up to their claims. I’ll be honest here… I don’t know every in and out of social media. I still curse at Facebook and Twitter as much as the other guy. I don’t have 20+ years at an agency or a MBA, but what I do have is experience in is people and how to connect with audiences. That same kind of legendary connection with audiences that Lady Gaga or Mick Jagger has, to be a genuine “rockstar” in social media. I have passion for teaching my clients on how to have that same larger than life personality online that brings lifelong fans, gives them something to talk about and leaves the consumer and client feeling like a million bucks.

That’s the kind of experience that people and brands need in social media. Don’t just give em a show of smoke and mirrors… to become a legend, you have to learn your craft and put your sweat, blood and tears into your art. I don’t care if you are in scuba diving or social media, success comes from learning, practice, experience, immersion and results. If you can’t prove any of this, get off of my stage and out of my spotlight.

Oh and I want my sequined jumpsuit back….


8 thoughts on “The Social Media Lounge Singer”

  1. Amen! WAY too many "gurus" out there, spinning their bullshit tactics and making social media/blogging smell like a sewer.

    I was at a mixer the other day and a friend of mine introduced me to some guy and told him I was a "social media guru". I immediately corrected him, and he got all pissed off…we actually got into an argument about it. I had to make it really clear that I HATE that frickin' moniker, and I think anyone who accepts it with a big grin on his/her face should be avoided like the plague.

    Thanks for callin' 'em out, Amber!


    1. this need to label eh Jerry….glad you set that person straight. Weird though that they would take umbrage at being corrected. I think social media in some ways has made us social "retards".

  2. Not gonna happen. That jumpsuit is mahn.

    Great post. Without these out-of-work short sale engineers in the space, some of us would have to find the edges of best-practice on our own. So thank you Mr./Ms. Cautionary Tale… your constant blazing and imploding lights the way for the rest of us to make an honest impact for our clients.

  3. What's interesting to me is that the so-called "genuine" experts of the field can be just as slimy. Several months ago one of the big names took an idea of mine and put it forth as his own. I won't name names…today. But that aside, I can understand the frustration – and not just the frustration because of lost clients, but the frustration of watching businesses have no clue how to choose someone genuine.

    It's a relatively new field though, and without any formal university or job training. Everyone in it has to be self-taught, learn from others in the field, and through their own sweat and experimentation. Rather than another post about how awful these posers are, how about we start a genuine dialogue on what needs to happen in the field to make it more clear to clients what to expect.

    For example, not every client actually wants to be "larger than life" online, they just want to genuinely connect with their customer base. I am genuinely invested in my clients and finding what is going to work for them.

    Can standards be defined? Because if they can, they should be.

    For the record, it isn't just social media that has this problem. It's all web marketing tactics. I am also a junior partner for a search marketing firm that has been around since the beginning of SEO, and we see clients all the time who were burned by "experts". From web designers to PPC to SEO. These specialties have been around much longer than social media, and yet the hucksters are still a problem.

    Also, don't just blame the lounge singers – they themselves are victims of false hype and a desperate economic situation. Books and blogs (many written by the super stars of SM) are busting at the seams, full of information that "anyone can apply" to make it big/win/succeed. My guess is that the majority of blog audience and book readers on the topic of SM are people out of work trying to find anything they can do RIGHT now to survive.

    So maybe folks at the top can make up their minds…can anyone do social media? Or not.

  4. Olivier’s quote is gold and now I want to marry him. Or at least be a groupie. I also want to marry this post–spot-on and perfectly said.

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