Jonathan Fields has a post called "Prove It or Lose It" on his Awake @ The Wheel Blog. In it he discusses how many people in the online world call themselves "experts" without the ability to back it up. His points are good, but I think he leaves out the middle ground which is where most people reside in the emerging social online media culture.
There is a line between someone being an “online rock-star A-lister”, “a quality resource without a big following” and “a poser fake”.
One might get the impression from his post that you need to start at the top with a huge platform or grow there quickly...less you are going to be labeled a fraud. I am not sure those are the only two options for those who blog, twit, or otherwise participate in online communities.
I don’t claim to be a social media expert, but I am learning a lot about the subject by participating in several communities. I might never be as big an online celebrity as Penelope Trunk, Steve Rubel, Hugh MacLeod or others, but does that make me irrelevant? God I hope not.
The great part about social online media is it allows everyone to have their voice. Some are listened to more often, but anyone who wants to play gets to play. By the nature of life itself, not everyone gets to be on the top of the “stats”, but if "stats" are the only sign of success then we are breeding a lot of failure into the system (think local cable access!).
I believe the advice here is not to “lie” in positioning yourself online, as you will get found out in a transparent digital world. We all learned not to lie in kindergarten (well…many of us did), and I think that using these new tools to be part of an honest conversation is always a victory….even if you do not become one of the famous ones in the social online media world.
In the end, traffic and stats are important, but just be genuine and you will do just fine. I have spent little time focusing on how to deal with growing my stats, but I do get attention for my books, speaking engagements and other accolades from my online presence. I try to deliver value and just share my points of view. My participation online is an extention of myself.
I think that many people are being scared away from social media as they think they missed the boat at being an “A-lister” with blogs, twitter, and other tools. this is too bad because these tools are there just to be a not a race to the top of the charts. The potential for everyone to succeed in their own way exists on the internet....that is what makes this medium different than traditional media. If we get focused on ratings and reach, then it is just another old media tool.
Have A Great Day.