I recently had a conversation with Amy Africa, and she mentioned that after she presented at the Marketing Profs B2B Forum last week, that several attendees came up and asked her if she did social media consulting. She explained that:
I think part of the thing is that you guys are so cliquey that you are often difficult to approach. Yes, even you. So people approach people like me (who know jack about social media) because well, we’re approachable.
I can't really disagree with her, and I have been thinking about this for a long time. From my personal perspective, the problem for me is that:
1 - I am an introvert offline, and an extrovert (or at least more extroverted) online
2 - When I am at an event, I assume that most people have no idea who I am, and thusly don't want to approach me
Now my fear is that my naturally being introverted and assuming most people don't know who I am, is giving the impression that I don't want to meet you. And another problem is, I am following almost 3,000 people on Twitter. I always have someone come up and introduce themselves and give me their real name and say they are on Twitter. I normally don't recognize them from their real name, and if we haven't interacted on Twitter, I probably won't recognize them at all. This is a downside of following so many people on Twitter, that I can't always have meaningful connections with everyone.
And I've talked to other people that are 'known' in social media, and I have also been around others at events when someone approaches them and compliments them on their blog, etc. I can tell you that I am always slightly embarrassed when this happens, and I have been around some of the so-called 'superstars' in social media when someone gushes about their blog, and I've seen them turn beet-red with embarrassment as well.
That's because at the end of the day, I'm just a guy with a blog. And I know that YOU guys as a group, are smarter than I will ever be. So when someone comes up to me and says "I just wanted to let you know that I love The Viral Garden!", I am so thankful, but it's also a bit embarrassing because it's like you are thanking me, when as a reader of this blog, I should be thanking you!
And honestly, this post is difficult for me to even write because it involves talking about myself. I don't like doing that, but I think this is an important topic to discuss. I do agree with Amy that some people may see several of their favorite bloggers/social media people together in a group, and feel like they can't walk over and introduce themselves. I am the same way, at SXSW this year, I literally forced myself to go up and introduce myself to Kathy Sierra after her talk. I made a complete fool out of myself blubbering about how amazing I think she is, but it was important to let her know how much I appreciate her smartitude.
So while I can't speak for anyone else, I can tell you this. If you see me at an event and want to introduce yourself PLEASE feel free to do so as I absolutely love meeting you guys. I've said this before, but the best meeting I had last year was at a conf where a reader walked up to me and said they loved The Viral Garden. It was completely unexpected, and I was so appreciative. For my part, I am going to try to make myself more accessible and approachable during events from now on.
And I don't usually do this, but if you would be more comfortable emailing me instead of commenting on this post, please do so. I want to make sure that when I am at an event, I have a chance to meet as many of you as possible. If you have any ideas on how I can make that happen, please let me know!
Pic via Flickr user David Alston