In the world of jewelry, we have a saying: no one ever died from lack of jewelry. Someone told me this during my first week of work and it has served as a guiding light ever since. In light of several recent posts, it feels as if it is something that many of us in the world of commercial Social Media could use to hear right now. While the impetus for writing this post is all of the reactions1 surrounding both Chris Brogan’s decision to hold a Google+ webinar and Gini Dietrich’s subsequent post preaching caution about selling a product around such a new service, this is more of a general observation regarding the space at large.
Now, before you jump in with examples like Egypt, Iran and some of the exceptional non-profit work we see on the web, I know that Social Media can and has saved lives. That is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about you and me, the people who are using Social Media to make a living through traditional capitalist2 means.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying our work isn’t important. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take it seriously. Career and personal accomplishments mean a lot in this world. But for most of the people I see railing out lately3 (myself included), a healthy dose of reality is warranted. It’s ok to disagree. It’s ok to take a somewhat controversial stance. It’s ok to have a hard debate, but we have to stop letting ourselves get carried away.
We’ve lost perspective and that’s okay. It’s pretty much inevitable when you really care about something. We just need to take a step back, a deep breath to really remember who we are what it is we’re doing here. And for the most part, that’s simply making a living and not saving any lives.
When it comes to what we do, no one has ever died from Social Media. Take a minute to remember that from time to time. It won’t save your life, but it just might save you from saying a lot of stupid, blown-out-of-proportion nonsense on the Internet and encourage you to spend a little more of that energy accomplishing things that really matter.