After a week off, it’s back to the grind stone for this Savvy Sister. Though it was tough to hear that alarm go off, an intriguing post by Savvy friend Mark W. Schaefer entitled “Does Amanda Chapel Matter?” jumpstarted my brain and kept me mulling through Kindergarten drop-off, my exercise class, and a quick round of local errands.
Mark asks his readers what value they place on dissenting voices like that of “Amanda Chapel,” a fictitious front “man” for a group of anonymous individuals who have spent the last few years skewering many of the A-list social media “gurus” and bloggers – taking on a role that is part journalist, part comedian, and part vigilante. In an editorial note following his interview with Amanda, Mark expresses his admiration and appreciation for the way her message – though sometimes offensive – cuts through the “group think” and “social media’s sycophantic mind muck.”
Having spent the last few days snowed in and intentionally unplugged from my usual online haunts – blogs, twitter, etc – I found myself amused by the whole conversation. Not being deeply familiar with Amanda Chapel and the now defunct Strumpette blog, I cruised around to do a bit of research. I came away feeling less like I’d had a veil lifted from my eyes and more like I had stepped into a loud arena full of inner circle spectators ready for a blood fight – placing bets, checking the odds, and wondering who would get into the ring next. It was interesting for a moment, if only because of the spectacle; but I didn’t feel that it ultimately provided me with any earth-shattering insights.
Two comments on Mark’s post really stuck with me. Trey Pennington noted that, “No matter how many tweets or followers or websites or startups Guy Kawasaki does, he does me no harm. By the same token, no matter how many times Amanda Chapel snipes at me, they do me no harm either.” In my opinion, the same holds true on the positive side – neither entity does me any good. Mose said, “… quite frankly the sheep get the false gods they deserve.” Right – may each of us be responsible for the company we keep.
Coming off of a week away from the social media buzz and babble, I find that I’m starting 2010 with a greater sense of clarity about the kind of work I want to do and the way I want to do it. Although I will continue to read certain blogs that I find valuable, I feel no urge to stay uber-connected or on top of the latest scandals and popular opinions. When you step back, a lot of the content that’s hammering away at our inboxes and readers has more in common with the supermarket tabloids and infomercials than it does with responsible journalism or enlightening educational materials.
I guess it all comes down to balance – in terms of what and how much you’re consuming – and a strong sense of self. In the end, it doesn’t matter what anyone else has done, is doing, or plans to do. The rhetoric and opinions of others will not have any real impact on your world unless you let them. Instead of ceaselessly following trends, worrying about looking smarter than the other guy, and keeping up with the Joneses; how about taking stock of yourself, your business, your goals, and working to come up with a plan that is custom-tailored to match your personality, needs, and style? How about stepping back and giving some long, hard thought to the purpose of your business and then figuring out how to further that purpose using whatever tools make the most sense – social or otherwise?
Call me Pollyanna if you will, but instead of letting the hue and cry of the “rabble” distract me, I’d rather spend 2010 focusing on my own vision and goals and how to reach them … in a way that suits me, regardless of what the “experts” or their dissenters think. Let them spend their energy beating each other up in the ring. I’ll be over here, quietly building the business and the life that I want.