The SoMe sheep have a lot to answer for…

Is there a full moon constantly setting over the SoMe industry communities these days? Seriously! Is it me or are we all starting to notice some interesting (others would say disturbing) behaviours falling out of these trade communities?

We can all appreciate the dynamics at work when we’re in various situations: eg. we act differently walking solo down the street vs. brainstorming with a peer in a café vs. bouncing around an online community stuffed full of various personality types. We let the world see different behaviours and characteristics depending on our evironment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But what is it about a group environment that transforms us from independent thinkers to sheep?

If we take a step back and objectively look at these communities, we’re likely to see several distinct groups of people. Here’s what I see:

  • SoMe strut – the people, who in all fairness, have very good reason to strut. They have taken a chance, embraced the unknown and found success doing something they love. These people tend to be at risk of getting too big for their britches. Hopefully they’ve all had amazing moms who told them to focus on being a leader that other leaders want to follow
  • SoMe sheep– those in the community who choose not to think for themselves. Not because they can’t, au contraire, this lot can not only think for themselves but they have value to offer, even genius to extend. But they are lazy. These are the ones who disregard due diligence and probably have a ‘get rich quick’ mentality. These people flock around the feet of a select few higher profile types, desperate to touch the hem. They want a leader to worship – someone to think for them.
  • SoMe cats – it takes time and effort to get this lot’s attention. Even more time to get their respect, but when you do, the respect is mutual and balanced. Their mantra is typically: a win win offer is the only type of offer to extend. Their opinions are less popular but that’s probably because they challenge you to think.
  • SoMe oblivious – they’re here but they really don’t get it! They use old skool thinking and apply it to new world order and the result? Well, it’s awkward. I recently reached out to a US group that I was referred to by a SoMe cat… the US firm will be in the UK later this year. I respect the source who referred them and the US firm’s website looked the part.  I wanted to open a door for them so extended an offer to introduce them to the right people here that would result in a speaking gig for them. Why? Out of respect for the SoMe cat who introduced me, because I knew I could (quite easily) help contribute to this firm’s visibility and because that’s the SoMe world I live in. Anyhow, their response? “thx”  – HAH!

I have a feeling that if this were some sort of personality profile test, we would find degrees of each of these profiles in all of us although I’d like to hope that Paereto’s 80/20 law would ring true for me in this instance as well.

We’ve embraced the whole “we is better than me” philosophy… although I’d challenge on what level. It appears it is a superficial embrace that most of us don’t really hold true. If we did, the SoMe sheep would evolve into their own. They wouldn’t be afraid to question, challenge or disagree with the more higher profiled among us. They wouldn’t be scared that their voice of disagreement would have a negative affect on their career – true story! As a matter of fact, they would be directly responsible for contributing to the success, evolution and innovation of this great space. Their questions to the SoMe Struts – the experts – would make the experts re-think, re-evaluate, adapt and evolve resulting in even better ideas and projects. The SoMe sheep would then recognise their own abilities, get some self respect and feel less inclined to inflate the heads of those who have enjoyed public success. Inflated heads really isn’t good for anyone… I think even the guilty would agree with this.

We really is better than me! The power of collaboration is why we’re here. It’s what we sell. So why is it that we are choosing not to live it? And why the hell are we starting to call those that think for themselves, that voice their disagreement or alternative ideas– haters? Collaboration means there should always be difference of opinions… if there isn’t… you’re not collaborating! You’re a bleating sheep!

About The Author
Shannon is notorious for describing smart marketers as ones who study market trends, analyze emerging media, stalk the evolution of consumer behaviour and consistently extend win-win offers. A marketing & advertising professional neck deep in all things social, Shannon is a Canadian living in the UK and she blogs over at
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