Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Social Networking Myths and Voluntary Ignorance

Recently I have had conversations with alleged industry thought leaders and mavens who are loathe to acknowledge social networking as a legitimate business tool. As a result, these people are being marginalized and replaced without knowing why or how this is happening as well as that it is happening. These people are not simply not participating in social networks, but actively demean social networks and those who use them at every possible turn. This type of voluntary ignorance will result in the Darwinian elimination of these people as thought leaders.

These people are assuming several things about social networks predicated on outdated notions that may have been true when MySpace was the only network out there. These myths are perpetuated by the voluntarily ignorant, but that’s OK – they are simply making way for a new generation of thought leaders while they themselves face extinction.

Among the myths believed are

- all social networks are like MySpace and are filled with childish ramblings and pictures of people drinking in their underwear
- LinkedIn, MySpace - they're all the same
- anyone on a business social network is just looking for a job
- there are no legitimate connections to be made on these time-wasters
- they are only for people under 25
- social networks are not secure
- if you join you’ll just get more spam
- I can do all that stuff much better offline
- the “conversations” on social networks are vacuous and of no business use
- and on and on

I will not attempt to refute these on a line-by-line basis, but suffice it to say that those who believe these and other myths have missed the Web 2.0 boat, and they will be staying on Fantasy Island a while longer.

It is not incumbent upon me to attempt to educate the voluntarily ignorant, especially when they are obstinate in their ignorance. I have halted my efforts in educating these people and as a result have reevaluated their position in my universe.

When they marginalize social networks and those using them, they have marginalized themselves in a way that they may never see.

When and if they finally get a clue and test the Web 2.0 waters, they will find themselves not only behind the curve technologically, but out of the thought leadership loop they thought they were driving.

Not that I have an opinion....


  1. Mark, you are, of course, absolutely right. I think for many people it is fear of the unknown.

  2. Fear of the unknown, fear of being left behind, fear of getting old, fear of not getting it! - all kinds of phobic stuff, but the arrogance factor took me to a new level of pissed off!

  3. I think success today is predicated on understanding both the old world and the new. The fervor of your new blog is great, Mark, and I respect your understanding of the entire leadership and networking field.