I’m a fundraiser, and I’m getting a little sick of people calling themselves something they are not!
Warning: Rant coming…
A little while ago, I was having a Twitter conversation with nonprofit pros Ian Adair and Jay Frost. We were discussing the over-abundance of people calling themselves Social Media experts in their Twitter bios. Come on folks- almost all the various social media platforms are in their infancy. Really? You’re an authority? A guru?
Worse though is that people write it as if it’s impressive. Said Ian, “You can be an authority in your field without coming off like a clown- charisma should be seen/heard, not stated!” I mentioned that I was seeing more and more people call themselves experts and Ian suggested a small experiment: go thru my followers and see how many different words people used to describe themselves.
I have 1,100 followers. I went thru all their bios. My findings:
- The following words were used: expert, ninja (?!), dude, authority, nerd
- Words I did not expect to find but found: fanatic, aficionado, provocateur, enthusiast
- Words I’ve seen elsewhere but did not appear in my follower’s bios: maven, guru, rockstar, sensei, queen, diva, princess, superstar, damn good, zen master of SM, MVP
You’ll notice that the word “evangelist” is missing from the above lists. As Jay Frost put it, “And that is why “evangelist” is not on my list of moronic monikers. Even in 2011, we need to advocate for fundraising!”
Call yourself what you want- but an authority? Guru? Ninja??? Do me a small favor:
1) Go to Rabbi Google
2) Type in “Whats a ninja”
3) Click on the first result
4) Read the first paragraph
5) Reread the first paragraph
Is that what you wanna call yourself???!!!
Not all the words above bother me. Enthusiast and fanatic, for instance, are ok. Aficionado was an interesting one.
I decided to ask some of my Twitter friends what bugged them about some of the words. Here’s what NPO pro Lesley Pinder had to say, “Guru- smugness and the presumption of knowing better. Maven has always bugged me– it’s just a bit highfalutin for me.”
There have to be better ways to tell people you understand social media and know how to use it effectively. But rockstar, zen master and superstar are NOT it.
Parting words come from my good friend and NPO event organizer extraordinaire Shanon Doolittle: “As an expert maven in all things ninja-like, I endorse gurus pimping their evangelistic skills in their rockstar bios.”