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Social Media Intellectualism Outside The Bubble

Though I don’t credit my time at a “big box” social media agency for a lot of personal growth it did do one thing for me, instill a hefty respect for the exchange of real-time, valuable social media intellectualism. You know the kind I’m taking about…water-cooler exchanges about the changing nature of social media and it’s implementation, right then and there for the benefit of a client.

Once you leave the bubble, you’re faced with keeping up with news and trends without the support network of being face-to-face with dozens of other social media fanatics, like you.  This week I encountered two very different reminders of this and why social media intellectualism outside of that bubble is still an ongoing search.

The first reminder came during a networking event I attended with bloggers here in Atlanta.  By all accounts it was a fabulous event and I got to meet a ton of really smart individuals who were using blogs to turn their passion into some sort of profit.  The challenge was that the event was heavy on the doe-eyed, new-to-the-social media sphere kind of mentality.

I shared my frustration with a friend of mine who I had accompanied to the event, lamenting the fact that in terms of our own takeaways, we weren’t able to learn that much.  Instead, it was a great exposure to other points of view which is, I guess, just as good if not better.  Still, it left me hungering for networking opportunities that would teach me something new.

The second reminder came with a comment posted to one of my work blogs.  Unlike my personal blog, I try to simplify social media strategy down to the bare essentials as that’s what the audience is looking for.  I should have known, however that simplifying things would carry its own set of problems.  An author whose work I had cited found the article and proceeded to “rip me a new one.”  She accused me of missing the entire point of her work by failing to disclose the complexities of that particular issues.

The problem with the author’s work was that though she had put a lot of smart theory forward, there wasn’t really any tactical substance to it.  Like many intellectuals in the social media field, she spent a lot of time working out the complexities of the topic without really connecting it to the realities of implementation on a day-to-day basis. Though I tried to fill in that blank by offering an operational example in my post, I guess the author thought my attempt to put her work to use devalued the complexities she had built-in.

Both experiences left me understandably sour on the state of social media intellectualism. Where are the social media geeks that both know their sh&^ AND make it work? There’s a lot of room in the middle to discuss sensible, practical applications of social media outside the constant parade of “5 Ways To {INSERT BUSINESS VERB HERE} In Social Media.”

Perhaps it’s that those of us who need it most are all too busy with work?

Though “big box” social media agencies tend to promote a very production-oriented rather than a client-centric vision of social media execution, that bubble does have a benefit.  Its create a “live-wire” environment of thinking and theorization that is applicable in real-time.

Agree/Disagree? I would love to hear from other social media professionals their take on things.

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