As social media has gone mainstream, the more articles, lists, and projects come out like The 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter and the Fast Company Influence Project. Some of these things make sense - after all for the uninitiated it can be a confusing space so having a place to start is helpful. However, so many others are ill-conceived because influence and popularity is confused or because they are biased or because they are not well constructed. I keep moving around and falling on and off the 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter list which I think is kind of appropriate... popularity and power are fleeting after all.
There is a deeper issue going on though - many people and organizations still see social media as a numbers game or a popularity contest. Popularity is OK - certainly it brings with it recognition but it has some disastrous downsides depending on what it is you want to do. I learned fairly early that if you are too perfect and shiny there is a lower likelihood that people would take you seriously... people interact and use beautiful and popular people and they take their other qualities less seriously. I actually used to feel badly for the really beautiful girls in high school because most of them were ONLY that - beautiful. They had a hard time being thought of for their personalities, their intelligence, or their athleticism. It seemed I had an easier time being multifaceted because I didn't have one quality that overpowered everything else.
As people and as organizations, it is worth thinking about what persona we want to have in the world. Do we want to be the shiny object with fleeting popularity? Do we want to be thought of as serious, fun, reliable, comfortable, intelligent? Social media channels should reflect those basic core 'brand' attributes.
I'm a bit wonky...with a slightly off sense of humor and I don't take myself too seriously. I'm OK with that... and you can probably guess that if you are a regular reader of my blog or Twitter stream. I don't trust popularity or beauty... it is too elusive and transient although I do occasionally like hanging out with the cool kids because the spotlight is fun in small doses.