But here’s the thing. What I saw began to happen as the days and weeks went by was that some of the very people I’ve grown to know, interact with, admire and respect within the realm of Twitter became obsessed with “winning” and garnering as many votes as possible. I began to receive DMs from people, asking me to nominate them, as well as asking for my vote. I even began to get private messages from friends who had received pleas from people they barely knew, asking for their vote, and when they weren’t sure how to respond, they wrote to me to ask for advice. Intrigued, I began to pay attention to Twitter streams and saw public messages that said “Vote for me and I’ll vote for you!” and a myriad of other tactics in play by people I never would have dreamed would care so much – about something so trivial. Truly, as time went on, I began to be more and more sickened by the rampant, repugnant behavior that I saw taking place in the Twitterverse. And, as a result, the honor of being nominated with this group of people began to pale and the Awards became, for me, almost laughable.
People – what is wrong with this picture? When someone pays you a compliment by standing up on a pedestal and saying “I think that so-and-so is a great person, an influencer, and someone really making a difference” why in the world is it appropriate to DO ANYTHING but say “thank you.” And to humbly accept the recognition and behave accordingly. But, instead, people were begging for votes. Pleading for support. Bartering quid pro quo. And engaging in lots of shameless self-promotion.
This ridicularity reminds me of all the morons out there who insist on calling themselves “Social Media Experts.” We all know that the people who feel the need to attach a label of “expert” to themselves are, in all likelihood, probably the LEAST qualified among us. As Forrest Gump might say “Expert is as expert does” and a true expert only has to be himself. No labels, no gimmicks, no flashy signs. Experts are obvious and have no need to affix labels to themselves or proclaim their “expertness” at every turn.
The same can be true of those who are truly deserving of an award like the #140Conf NOW Awards. If your behavior in the social media realm is such that you warrant identification as an influencer, game changer, person making a difference, etc., isn’t it possible to leave it to your peers to say so? Without extolling them to vote for you, begging in private for votes and, in general, acting like a bunch of crazed high school kids in the race for selection of Class President? Expert is as expert does. Influencer is as influencer does – and I’m pretty sure that when he created that definition, that @JeffPulver didn’t mean that he expected to see how much influence people could exert over their Twitter followers in a bogus effort to gain votes. I think he’s a smart guy and intended the #140Conf NOW awards to genuinely recognize people who are making a difference.
But life has a funny way of taking care of things. Many of this very same group of people, people who’ve been hanging on every vote and checking their status on a daily basis, pleading with anyone who will listen to vote for them, hell-bent on remaining “important” fell victim to someone they claim was gaming the system. I saw frantic messages all day long when this rapscallion had the nerve to unleash his game and, truthfully, I’ve never laughed harder.
It seems that things do have a way of working out. Some might say that there is a God. The God of Appropriate Behavior is what I call him. The gamers got gamed. And, maybe, just maybe, next time, when there’s an Awards program that calls for nomination by peers, people will put their egos firmly in the closet, act like grown-ups, and let nature take it’s course. They’ll remember the manners they all used to have and the fact that graciously accepting a compliment, and humbly acknowledging honors bestowed upon us – especially when they come from a group of our peers – is really only the right thing to do. The cream always rises to the top. Always.
My words of wisdom: never forget the transparency that is the social media realm – and always behave accordingly. Everybody is watching. And class never goes out of style. Ever.