Friday, September 24, 2010

The Notion of Experts

One of the things I consistently see on Twitter is "expert analysis."  There's a sense for those of us not in digital and social media day-to-day that a few of the mavens in the space are self-professed "experts."  But yesterday, I saw an interesting twist from an account that I follow, describing this notion.

This is the tweet that launched my thoughts for today.
The guys at Hugging Harold Reynolds (@HHReynolds; who are intimately involved with @BlogsWithBalls) posted a pretty angry tweet here about this very thing, even as I was thinking about it.  (I realize the tweet itself is a bit out of context, but I hope you can see the intent behind the message.)

I think the interesting point about this tweet is that the HHR guys are angry with marketers they see as self-proclaimed evangelists (note his "preaching" comment), and want to see bloggers involved more in the conversation about what is and isn't solid insights about engaging through social media.

I really do believe that bloggers are some of the most powerful influencers in sports.  They have leveraged fan passion, and used it as a platform to organize and spur communication.  Some of them have become rich from it.  Most of them haven't.  But I believe that the HHR guys here have a point, that bloggers deserve to have a voice in the "experts" conversation.

Honestly, I've talked with a lot of my marketing colleagues in the industry, and we're seeing the same thing: people who have found that social media is a great way to expand their own personal brand, and then benefit from being the "loudest talker."  I'm not seeing it as much in the #sponsorship or #sportsbiz communities, but definitely among the #socialmedia set.

There are, however, a set of folks in the #sportsbiz community that have set themselves out as these loud talkers.  Two of which I won't name but they immediately came to mind.  I think both of these folks are likely intelligent individuals that just found the volume button through social media and haven't figured out how to control it.  I unfollowed one of them and I'm on the verge of unfollowing the other.

I have 300 followers on Twitter ... these folks have many more than I do.  But, it's not my goal to make 20,000.  I want engaged individuals and brands that are interested in real sponsorship insights and discussions, beyond the chatter.

And I think that's what HHR's point is ... don't just talk, engage in intelligent conversation.  Even if it is just 140 characters.


  1. Great post that sums up where the frustration came from. You'll notice that we (the HHR/BwB team) do not get up and moderate and/or chime in on the panels at any of the 3 events we've held. It's not about promoting ourselves, but forwarding the conversation.

    My real frustration with the tweet is that there was a lack of diverse view points on the panel and a lot of the people doing the talking never actually rolled up their sleeves and implemented themselves the things they were talking about. This was evidenced when a question I asked lead to silence.

    It's not to say they aren't valuable opinions, they were just so limited.

    The big word was "authenticity." Who's more authentic - bloggers or marketers?

    The audience would learn much more about reaching core audiences by listening to any one of the BwB panels. They are just afraid to get out of their comfort zone.

  2. Having been to one of the three BwB events, I would totally agree and align with your comments. I probably was one of the few actual sports marketers at the Chicago event, not in the digital space, and not on a panel. I was surprised there weren't more "traditional" marketers there. There needs to be more organic conversation and less idle banter.

    And as for the notion of authenticity, bloggers and marketers both bring value to the table. But marketers must work hard to understand the blogosphere and social media space, because it's foreign territory for the most part. Marketing is largely an inorganic organism in that ecosystem. However, it has its place, and eventually, in the middle the two shall meet (or at least figure out how to work together with some measure of success).