The Iconic Face of Social Media

In the spirit of the upcoming IABC World Conference in Toronto (yay T.O.) I offer this post as an homage to Twitter and the phenomenal people with whom I’ve had the privilege of interacting and meeting to date.

I may gush and gasp as if Twitter were oxygen to me. So if this bores you, go back to reading Godin— I mean, tough.

Woops. Was that what you expected to hear? Oh well.

that faceSparks not plugs
Individuals are sparks, balls of energy at times driven by relentless determination. Sparks collide by chance or are drawn to each other and come together in groups. Through regular and deliberate interaction on Twitter, these groups of sparks become tribes and thus, alliances are forged and the power of social networking realized.

When I wrote Twitter Sense and Sensibility I mused that “Twitter is social media’s iconic face”. I thought this because I felt Twitter is the only social network that really understands community-driven endeavours, how “organic evolution” works, and why the longstanding focus on staying true to perfecting user experience is profoundly more valuable than scrambling to make a quick buck out of sheer numbers.

Imagine the painstaking work it took (and still must take) for Twitter to open their ears to a cacophony of voices, to filtering out the weight of sentiments that clearly speak to democratized information, level playing fields, thoughtful transparency, productive collaboration and, yes, even social good.

Utopian? The notion certainly reeks of it. But the credibility Twitter has earned is undeniable, as the social media revolution proceeds to run its due course disrupting many long established paradigms that have rested far too long on their laurels.

While the list below is in no way meant to purposefully exclude others in my tribe, it does serve as a wake up call. And if you happen to currently follow me and have just woken up and suddenly realized that you no longer need to follow me, please, feel free. I mean really, BE free.

I can be terribly compulsive when engaging with people online. If I have taken the first step and you’ve followed my lead, then your name, your identity, your story will always be top-of-mind for me.

Below is a list of the folks who’ve made and make Twitter a singularly rich professional and personal networking experience. At first, I didn’t realize how long the list got while typing it out. And then after the fact, its length actually made me smile.

Who needs #followfriday, right?

  • @GoToAaron (formerly @aaron116) – among the few CTO I follow and interact with regularly. We’ve been collaborating online since I started tweeting. Encouraging, entrepreneurial and a connoisseur of Stella, Artois that is.
  • @CoachKamna@jenfrahm@archanaverma – IABC professionals who have been consistently supportive and interactive. I very much look forward to meeting you next month!
  • @femelmed – she had me at “devotee of the lowercase”, sharp, witty and fastidious HR communication consultant.
  • @dexin – the brain behind TweetBrain, co-founder of Zettar. She planted the cloud computing seed in my head. Dexin and I have exchanged numerous emails, constantly exchanging ideas on how to market technology.
  • @erniehuber – IT leader and strategist who introduced me to SaaS and other related aspects of the cloud I would not have even clued into.
  • @franciscojsaez – web entrepreneur, biz analyst, developer and very engaging. Tweeting in Spanish has never been more fun and hilarious.
  • @Magnuson – more to him than Twitter support (although I feel like he’s the closest brush I have with shmarmy “w00t I know an insider”) Chuck’s brilliant. Period.
  • @fredericl – admire this Portland-based tech journalist. For someone so close to the tech scene (where I’d love to be sinking my teeth into *sigh* one day maybe) he takes the time to reply and interact. That’s almost unheard of.
  • @charlottehrb – short on positive vibes? look up Charli. Her enthusiasm, charisma and passion are contagious. We’ve collaborated on a number of fronts including testing Google Wave.
  • @bergerchris – another IABC-er for whom I have great respect. His candour is refreshing and his blog comments (esp on an HR/recruiting post I did a while back) are most inspiring.
  • @spurdave – constantly spurring the movement of novel ideas and setting himself up for me to throw smart-alecky remarks about them (haha) Seriously one of the few whose outside-the-box approach is truly an art form.
  • @mktgdouchebag – don’t let the name fool you. His tweets make up the entire next generation of ‘edu-tainment’ fodder this side of the Library of Congress.
  • @AdrianEden@Beckstar23@Grdeken – along with @charlottehrb, these three always inspire. Adrian for his often insane, unbridled tweets, Grant for his gung-ho attitude and Rebecca for being a long-time colleague and true friend.
  • @ajmunn – our exchanges in comments and on Twitter have proven that our educational  backgrounds serve us well. Thought-provoking CMO, Alasdair is an ally to have in your camp.
  • @XNetInfoSys@hessiej – tech talk much? How ’bout Ray Kurzweil, singularity, 70’s sitcom shows, music and things quasi-related to tech? Impromptu engagement has never been easier.
  • @dean_cummings@xxmarypoppinsxx@StarsandSpace – UK peeps I simply couldn’t live without. I can always drop a line to Dean and Esther and I would always get a tweet with ‘lovely’ or ‘gorgeous’. And Angela! Well, quite special indeed: she is the only person with whom I tweet in verse.
  • @RepuMetrix – brother from another mother. Sometimes this guy’s eloquence blows me away. Very lucky to be in his company and be in his good books (so far, haha).
  • @ChristinaKudym – sister from another mother. Truly a force of nature and remarkable marketing pro. We once decided to have a chat by phone and the experience was remarkable—as if we’ve known each other for years.
  • @MyriamBalian – had the pleasure of meeting this lovely, bright social media up-and-comer. Extremely shy but animated and passionate when you start talking about the things that matter to her generation and present milieu.
  • @bodsworth – recent exchanges have proven that we are passionate about the same thing: Toronto’s beleaguered public transport system. We shall overcome! (and if not, then we have our eyes set on Rogers haha).

What about you? Have you paused to think about the wonderful people who’ve made your social media experience memorable and truly valuable?

Who’s on your short list? Is their face top-of-mind?

17 thoughts on “The Iconic Face of Social Media

  1. how fittin’ that this comes across as i’m listening to rufus wainwright’s first CD. wish i was going to meet you and chris up in T.O. you *know* i’d be sporting my red tutu.

    cheers m’dear.


  2. Awwww – now this is a wake-up call I really appreciate, (literally – it’s 6.54 am). Yes, one of the most satisfying aspects of social media for me is the connection that follows and deepens. I have been super blessed in that regard since starting “Oh I’ll give it a go” experiment on The Icon. Can’t wait to meet you too!

  3. Autom,

    Your ability to connect and nurture online relationships is something truly aspiring. Your comment on our friendship is very kind and I sincerely feel the same way. This post, just one of many, demonstrates the ways collective input, listening, and sharing shines like bright star across the social “media-verse” (just Googled it and unfortunately it doesn’t look like I can stake my claim to having coined the word ;-).


  4. Autom, thanks for the mention. It’s funny you mentioned the organic engagement and relationships drawn from a daily addiction to Twitter and its mass of information and opinion. I used to be a bystander, worried about the potential criticisms and musings people would have at my expense should I choose to pipe up and divulge my opinion. Now it’s much easier when you run into people with whom you inherently make a connection. The conversation flows as easily as wine at a dinner party ….without the face to face connection. It’s true that Twitter can create great connections and opps for business relations but for me it’s about finding people who have walked in your shoes who are able to identify the same challenges you face and can offer up some perspective on actions to take or just a different viewpoint. While I follow many I choose to engage with about 30 or so who frequent the space and are willing to truly share. Otherwise what’s the point?
    and engage.

  5. Thanks Autom for the mention. You are a kind, warm and intelligent friend that I hope to meet one of these days! Thanks for your friendship!

  6. We are living in a changing world. Our relationship to resources and scarcity is making us continually question, adapt and challenge the status-quo. It is tools like Twitter and people like you, Autom that demonstrate an element of this shift., both in tools and attitudes. Connecting to like minded people, regardless of where they are, what industry they are in or if they wear an old school tie or a tee shirt embodies the spirit of this change. We connect because we recognise each other, we recognise the value in changing the way we do business and the way we live. I value the connection.

  7. Alasdair, I totally agree. Interconnecting with like minded attitudes in real time, globally. Pretty amazing really… however, like you, I am not saying this replaces, or is even trying to replace an in-person connection.

  8. Thank you so much! I am both humbled and elated by your mention. And I too have found this an amazing forum to connect with people, particularly IABC members around the world! I wish I were coming to World Conference in June, but I know I’ll keep up with highlights via Twitter!

    And you’re one of my faves when it comes to all things tech comm!

  9. My friends – I am truly humbled by your frank insights and genuine sentiments. I only wish that others who venture into social media are lucky enough to be encouraged and supported by people like you.

    Yes, it takes two to tango, but since we rarely find ourselves in elaborate dance halls these days actually *doing* the tango, then let’s go with a cocktail or even house party. Thank you for granting me the privilege of your company. A

  10. Since it was you who engaged me in Twitter over a year ago (when I had no idea what Twitter really was) and, after this time, I consider you a real friend, I am very gratified to see my name in this list. Thank you for all the smiles you’ve brought me, my friend. 🙂

  11. I’ve grown to love and appreciate / those endearing verses from Autom8.

    Thank you so much for your very kind comment, Autom. It is really appreciated, even though I don’t deserve it!

    I so enjoy tweeting with you, and feel truly blessed to have you as my Twitterpal. xx

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