We Need Social Media Interpreters, not more Evangelists

You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it. People who deem themselves “Social Media Evangelists“. But are they? Really? I’m not picking on any one person, but a situation in Social Media that I believe needs to change.

To me, an evangelist is someone who is spreading the word to those who don’t already know about it. Otherwise, you’re just preaching to the choir. I’m not saying there isn’t a place in social media to organize and inform the geekworld, but we’ve got plenty of that.

There are people out there who are actually bringing in fresh meat. Rob Clark brought me in — he showed me that the community was more valuable than the technology itself, and how relationships are the glue that hold it all together. We’ve got too many new media douchebags, too many people jockeying to position themselves as experts (I don’t claim to be any of these, far from it), and not enough trying to inform the rest of the world how social media can benefit them. I mean think about it, how much more is the social media community going to monetize itself — let’s open it up to the world! A lot of ordinary folk don’t even know what a blog is!

I recognize it’s not an easy task. It’s hard to explain Twitter, and blogs, social bookmarking and other SM tools to your average person who doesn’t spend all day in front of a computer like we do. Thank goodness for CommonCraft, they describe themselves as interpreters. Yes, what we need are Social Media Interpreters, not more “evangelists”, not more “experts” not more new media douchebags.

What Can I Do? (including me)

Just like how we can all be social media marketers, we can all be Social Media Interpreters.

I don’t have all the answers, like I said before, I’m far from being any kind of an expert, but there are a few things I do and will be trying to do to get folks dipping their feet in the social media pool:

  • Explain how being social on del.icio.us and other social bookmarking sites can bring more value than regular bookmarks
  • Show off the interesting conversations you can have on Twitter
  • Direct friends to favourite blog(s) and encourage them to engage in the discussions.

How do you share and explain social media to your peers?