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Social Media – Are You a Social Leper?



I define a social leaper as one who markets using a social media platform, yet has no online interaction with those that consume the media.  You’re simply spam, don’t do it.

I have followed this weekend several so-called internet marketing experts on Twitter.  These so-called experts have well over 1K followers and lots of link tweets, yet no social interaction what-so-ever.  Nor, do these experts actually follow any of their followers.  How do you profess to have your finger on a pulse if you aren’t actually taking a pulse?

The bottom line is even the self-proclaimed experts are subject to making mistakes in social circles and have a lot to learn- as do we all- but the one lesson you’ll want to avoid is becoming a Social Leper.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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  1. Jeff Brown

    January 21, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Benn — since I trust you implicitly, I’ll let my massive ignorance on this subject hang out for all to see. 🙂

    >These so-called experts have well over 1K followers and lots of link tweets, yet no social interaction what-so-ever.

    That’s what confuses me sometimes with all this ‘social’ stuff — how’d the guy get 1,000 + followers if he wasn’t perceived as someone saying something of merit? Why is it incumbent upon him to do more? If the answer is he’ll do more business, then I think I understand. Otherwise, I need your help.

    See? I am that ignorant about this stuff. 🙂

  2. Benn Rosales

    January 21, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Now Jeff- ask that question on the social venue the so-called expert is using, in this case it’s twitter and this is what you’ll get:

  3. Lani Anglin

    January 21, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Benn, I totally agree- there will be no interaction should you pose this same question to the experts.

    It’s called social “networking” (implying a two way relationship), not social “preaching” (implying a one way relationship). The one way street turns many people off, even if 10 experts nationally have found what I believe to be temporary success in this approach.

    The bigger point is that it’s called social media, not a non-social, impersonal brochure.

  4. Jeff Brown

    January 21, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Sure, I see your point.

    And yet, he still has well over 1,000 followers. Why?

    Also, won’t some of those followers convert into sales? Maybe more than some?

  5. Benjamin Bach

    January 21, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Yessir Jeff
    For example, Scoble has like a gaziliion facebook friends, even though he interacts personally with very few. People still want to follow him, even if they can’t interact.

  6. Benn Rosales

    January 21, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    No one said he wasn’t a 1.0 approach to a 2.0 enviornment- 1.0 thinkers will surely forgive his imposition.

    The point of using 2.0 worlds is to grab a 2.0 audience- strike 1/2/3 game over.

  7. Benjamin Bach

    January 21, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    hmmm. I agree with that too

  8. Benjamin Bach

    January 21, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    case in point, my client Darryl who commented on this post about his multiple offer situation:

  9. Jeff Brown

    January 21, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Being Devil’s Advocate here, a dangerous move given my dirth of knowledge, how does Seth Godin get away with a no comment section? He seems to be doing exactly what this guy is on Twitter, right?

    On the other hand, your point, i.e. interaction is the way to go, would seem to result in more business. I’m still confused.

    Is Seth an exception to the rule? It wouldn’t surprise me.

  10. Benjamin Bach

    January 21, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I think Seth gets away with it because he doesn’t blog to his peers, he blogs to his readers.

  11. Benn Rosales

    January 21, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Seth has a popularity that an agent will not have marketing themselves- also Seth speaks to many different audiences about one subject- to better market themselves. Seth can get away with bloody murder, a “Realtor” cannot.

  12. Benn Rosales

    January 21, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    I follow Seth in that he is on my feeder, although his attempts to bait and sell me fail because I do not follow the 1.0 bread crumbs.

    I happen to enjoy Seth, and I’m sure some 2.0’ers do as well, but if he were to reach beyond and gurilla market on Twitter, he would fail. Seth on twitter allows those who wish to partake of his link sharing and baiting to come to him.

    In having said that – Seth could do with some Q&A on his twitter feed, some interaction. If he did, those 2.0ers that do not know him but stuble upon him might just take a leap of faith and buy in.

  13. Jeff Brown

    January 21, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks guys — you’ve been a huge help.

  14. Benjamin Bach

    January 21, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    You’ll have a hard time convincing me that Seth Godin is *anything* 1.0

    I’ve heard and seen him on a half dozen blogs/podcast shows recently interacting with fans, being interviewed, etc., including an interview I did with him at

    Maybe he doesn’t interact on twitter, but I don’t even have twitter – I’m still interactive, right?

  15. Benn Rosales

    January 21, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I’m not sure where or why Seth came up, he isn’t the point.

    The point is using a social network to feedblast a product. If you are the product than a one way conversation is what you’re having.

    If you dont believe that the 2.0 generation is easialy offended then jump out there and try it.

  16. Athol Kay

    January 21, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    I emailed Seth Godin a question about a week ago and he emailed me back about 4-5 hours later.

    The reply was just one sentence long, but so unbelieveably right I pretty much did the /headslap move and wondered why the hell I didn’t get it already.

    Can’t share it as he had what appears to be a standard “this is off the record including blogs unless we have discussed otherwise” clause, which I’ll respect. I think if I had Seth’s pull I’d possibly control the comments ina similar manner. Imagine the spam attacks he must get otherwise.

    True Story.

  17. Lani Anglin

    January 21, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Seth is a really great guy, a really stand up guy (for my own personal reasons I hold this belief). Like Benn said, he’s not the topic du jour… as a new Twitterer, I’ve noticed several “big names” who have an incredible amount of followers but follow 0 people which contradicts the theory of networking (see my previous comment).

    Seth could pimp slap a baby and get away with it, but most others could not.

  18. Andy Kaufman

    January 21, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    I’ve thought long and hard about Seth Godin’s use of Twitter, and I had to take a step back and consider his whole social marketing ‘account balance’.

    To me, his books and his blog have been an amazing source of information and inspiration over the past few years.

    By creating, and sharing his content and advice in a simple straight forward manner, in my mind he’s created a massive surplus of social capital.

    By using his personal twitter account to broadcast his message and not interacting with his network, he’s using a bit of that social capital each time he uses it in a self promotional way.

    The trick is to maintain a healthy account balance, which I think he’s doing.

    BTW, Tara Hunt wrote a great post on this subject that might be of interest here:

    It think it’s more important to find the different subset of people on Twitter that create tremendous value like: chrisbrogan, respres, paulkedrosky, factoryjoe, missrouge, chrisheuer, laughingsquid and whoever else you find that it using the channel to create value.

  19. Andy Kaufman

    January 21, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    Of course this isn’t about Seth 😉

  20. Frank Jewett

    May 22, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Seth gets a dollar every time his name is mentioned, so he doesn’t actually need clients.

    Benn raises a good point. Simply having a dedicated fanbase does not translate into success. Geography is also a factor. I live in San Jose, California. If you’re an agent in Florida and I subscribe to your blog, I may be a loyal fan, but there is very little chance of us doing business. Along with talking to your clients rather than to your peers, you should also be talking about local subjects (at least some of the time) so that you attract more local prospects rather than far flung fans who are an unlikely source of business. Participate in your social circle and try to fill that circle with locals.

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Social Media

Instagram for Kids: Do kids really need social media that young?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Instagram for Kids is a terrible idea that we’ll have to contend in the not-so-distant future as social media becomes more prevalent in our lives.



Young girl playing phone, exploring Instagram for Kids

As a Facebook company, Instagram is used to pushing the envelope, and not always in a good way. One of their most recent initiatives, dubbed “Instagram for Kids”, offers pre-teens the opportunity to use a parent-controlled Instagram version—but global criticism is already mounting.

Instagram has a 13-and-up policy that restricts pre-teen kids from signing up for the app (in theory), but Instagram for Kids would allow younger users to share and interact with photos without the pressure of ads and inappropriate content (again, in theory). The goal behind a social media app for 12-and-unders is curious, given that acceptable teen social media use already starts at, arguably, a younger age than is responsible.

According to Instagram, though, their motivation for the app is simply to reduce access to harmful aspects of the web without instilling FOMO in younger children: “Kids are already online, and want to connect with their family and friends, have fun, and learn. We want to help them do that in a safe and age-appropriate way, and find practical solutions to the ongoing industry problem of kids lying about their age to access apps.”

Instagram also promises to “consult with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates to inform [the app experience].”

That’s all fine in—and I cannot stress this enough—theory, but several members of the original internal discussion about this version of Instagram acknowledged that existing Instagram users who are under the age of 13 probably won’t switch over to the new platform, making Instagram for Kids obsolete for any illicit users. That leaves only one conclusion: That Instagram for Kids is for a substantially younger audience.

It’s difficult to find a morally upright justification for creating a social media app for, say, 8-year-olds. Parent control or not, the potential for data collection, early technology addiction, and breaches of privacy is very real. Add to that the fact that the children who are likely targeted by this app can’t exactly give informed consent for their information to be shared (not that 13-year-olds can, either, but that’s a different thing), and it starts to look pretty shady.

Instagram is already tangentially responsible for things like false marketing, eating disorders, and mental health decline in otherwise healthy adults. Adding pre-teens to that list is not only irresponsible—it’s morally bankrupt. Please keep your kids off of apps like this.

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Social Media

Reels: Why Instagram can’t compete with TikTok… yet?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The future for Instagram Reels is uncertain, since even Instagram has acknowledge that TikTok is far ahead of them, but what does it mean for their future?



Phone camera on stand in foreground with two women filming for TikTok or Instagram reels in the background

If you’re a TikTok user, chances are you’ve scoffed at Instagram’s attempt to compete with the hype. Yes, I’m referring to the Reels feature.

In an attempt to step in and absorb all the TikTok user run-off in August, when Trump announced the TikTok ban, Instagram launched Reels. Short, catchy and sharable clips, Reels are almost exactly like TikTok videos – but are they catching on?

In an interview with The Verge’s “Decoder” podcast, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri says that he isn’t yet happy with Reels, stating that TikTok is still “way ahead”. While Reels is growing in terms of shared content and consumed content, it’s not nearly where Instagram hoped it would be by this point. Perhaps this is because TikTok is still alive and well. Or perhaps there’s something else to it.

It’s interesting to note that some of the most popular Reels on Instagram are simply reposted TikToks. This poses the question: Is Instagram’s Reels simply a channel where the ‘cream of the crop’ TikTok videos can get posted in a second location and exposed to a new audience, or is it actually a platform for creators?

Mosseri also hints at some sort of consolidation across Instagram’s video features (i.e., IGTV, in-post videos, Reels). Without being entirely sure what that will look like, I’m already skeptical – is this all just another example of Facebook (via Instagram) trying to hold a monopoly on the social media sphere?

My opinion? As long as TikTok is still in operation, it will reign supreme. While the two apps have a ton of overlap, they are simply different cultural spaces. TikTok is a trend-heavy, meta-humor creative space that relies on engagement between users through effect, duets, and other TikTok-exclusive features.

Adversely, Reels is a space for Instagramming millennials and Gen Xers who might be choosing to opt out of TikTok (which has sort of become the cultural epicenter for the younger Gen Zers). The feature might also be used by Insta influencers and creators of all ages who toggle between the two apps (i.e., reposting your viral TikTok on Instagram to gain more traction).

Whatever the reason is for engaging in Reels, I’m fully certain the feature will never amount to the success of TikTok – but I guess we’ll have to wait to see what Instagram has in store for us next.

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Social Media

How this influencer gained 26k followers during the pandemic

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Becoming an influencer on social media can seem appealing, but it’s not easy. Check out this influencer’s journey and her rise during the pandemic.



Influencer planning her social media posts.

Meet Carey McDermott – a 28-year-old Boston native – more widely known by her Instagram handle @subjectively_hot. Within a few months, since March, McDermott has accrued a whopping 26k following, and has successfully built her brand around activism, cheeky observations of day-to-day bullshit, and her evident hotness.

“It mostly started as a quarantine project.” Said McDermott, who was furloughed from her job at the start of shelter-in-place. “I had a lot of free time and I wanted to do an Instagram for a while so I thought, ‘I might as well take some pictures of myself.’”

To get started McDermott, used a lot of hashtags relevant to her particular niche to get noticed, and would follow other influencers that used similar hashtags.

“I definitely built a little online community of women, and we all still talk to each other a lot.”

Like many popular influencers, McDermott engages with her audience as much as possible. She is sure to like or reply to positive comments on her pictures, which makes followers feel special and seen, and subsequently more likely to follow and continue following her account. She also relies heavily on some of Instagram’s more interactive features.

When asked why she thinks she has been able to build and retain such a large base in just a few months, McDermott explained: “I think people like my [Instagram] Stories because I do a lot of polls and ask fun questions for people to answer, and then I repost them”.

But it’s not just fun and games for @subjectively_hot – Carey wants to use her account to make some substantial bread.

“I’ve gotten a bunch of products gifted to me in exchange for unpaid ads and I’m hoping to expand that so I can get paid ads and sponsorships. But free products are nice!”

Additionally, McDermott was recently signed with the talent agency the btwn – a monumental achievement which she attributes to her influencer status.

“Having a large Instagram following gave me the confidence to reach out to a modeling brand. After they looked at my Instagram, they signed me without asking for any other pictures.”

To aspiring influencers, McDermott offers this advice:

“Find your niche. Find your brand. Find what makes you unique and be yourself – don’t act like what you think an influencer should act like. People respond to you being authentic and sharing your real life. And definitely find other people in similar niches as you and build connections with them.”

But McDermott also warns against diving too unilaterally into your niche, and stresses the importance of a unique, multi-dimensional online persona.

“[@subjectively_hot] is inherently a plus size account. But a lot of plus size Instagrams are just about being plus size, and are only like, “I’m confident and here’s my body”. I don’t want to post only about body positively all day, I want it to be about me and being hot.”

And you definitely can’t paint this girl in broad strokes. I personally find her online personality hilarious, self-aware, and brutally anti-patriarchal (she explicitly caters to all walks of life minus the straight cis men who, to her dismay, frequent her DMs with unsolicited advice, comments, and pictures). Her meme and TikTok curations are typically some of the silliest, most honest content I see that day and, as her handle suggests, her pictures never fail in their hotness value.

For McDermott, right now is about enjoying her newfound COVID-era celebrityhood. Her next steps for @subjectively_hot include getting paid ads and sponsorships, and figuring out the most effective way to monetize her brand. The recent spike in COVID-19 cases threaten her chances of returning to the place of her former employment in the hospitality industry.

With so many influencers on Instagram and other platforms, some might find it hard to cash in on their internet fame. But with a loyal fanbase addicted to her golden, inspiring personality, I think Carey will do just fine.

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