The Cancer Of Becoming A Social Media Celebrity

So yesterday I attended Dan Zarrella's "The Science Of Social Media" that promised just-released secrets to the ways of social media. So I bite. First, things first before I go on a rant about the collapse of the this man's social empire. Dan Zarrella is/was a great mind. He has incredible insight with valuable metrics and information about twitter and Facebook users, and a myriad of other topics. I've quoted him in conversation, I pushed his relationship with Hubspot's services. I still look at Hubspot as a sound leader in the industry with a WEALTH of information that they freely give away. To that I say Hubspot is top-notch – at least at the time of this post. What tomorrow brings remains to be seen. 

About a year or so ago I listened to Mr. Zarrella give a webinar about "The Science of Blogging" and I found both the content and his presentation to be insightful, well-rounded and interesting. 

"With more than 24,000 registrants, the Science of Social Media will break the Guinness World Record for the biggest online marketing seminar." Right away something smelled different, it had an aire of self importance around him and not the content. Yesterday's webinar was like watching fat Elvis sing songs about how great he is, only to be supported by Seth Godin's (a monster social celebrity) opening diatribe pumping him up like an old fighter in his waining years. It was awkward and sad. I can see how Seth's brand equity initially provides supposed validity to Dan's webinar, but I thought it completely unnecessary.

After such time we were told that this was the Guiness Book of World Records' largest webinar ever recorded and there was much frivolity surrounding that before we got any real meat. Then we were told that Dan is in front of a live audience and that's about where the wheels came off for me, as it seemed from then on it was him playing to them to get a reaction. It became more of a show of point vs. crowd reaction from slide to slide. And it kills me that the slide that says "Stop talking about yourself" doesn't seem to phase the self-glorification throughout the remainder of the presentation. At least he takes that statement of not getting hooked on your own product seriously, but I digress.

Even as I write this it's becoming more and more clear to me that this was far less about the content and more about Dan, as I'm looking at even his revised avatar from a year ago showing the geeky SME we would expect now transformed into the non-caring bar fly of current day to what appears to be a pop-metal singer brandishing kill shirts (I <machine gun> Las Vegas) for cool factor. I get it, you want to be cool. That's fine, we all do. I have an ego and I'm self-serving at times. But I don't use 30k+ people to do it. But what separates us is that you have forgotten where you've come from – AND THAT... is when the cancer of your social stardom has infected you.

Joe Rogan talks about the 'high' you get from being on stage and having the audience hang on your every word. That's great for a keynote presentation. But it made for a bad webinar. Then in the end, with a post-webinar email advocating that I "brag" about being on the world's largest webinar was the fuel that fired up my fingers for this post.  Additionally, I've watched many of Mr. Zarrella's webinars, all valid, all beneficial, and there was little that I learned that was as new, fresh and thought provoking out of the "The Science of Social Media" other than I played my part like a souless puppet to get this cat his framed Guinness record. Joy. A mistake I won't soon be remaking.

Some stellar minds in this social media celebrity space that have remained in my mind "cancer free" are:

There are countless other great social minds (so if you're not on it don't be offended, it was early when I wrote this) that have made their way without being infected with the plague of their own egos. So the moral of this story is as old as time, "absolute power corrupts absolutely." That being said, it's in my humble opinion that I would rather give of my free time and attention someone that I feel mutually benefits from my patronage and not simply feeds of it.