Introduce Yourself: Why Should We Listen to You?

One of my favorite unicorns-and-rainbows myths to pick on is the dog-eared “don’t call yourself a guru.” I’ve heard said a bunch of different ways, and it’s present anytime someone maligns the term “social media expert” or suggests there is no such thing.

It turns out though, that when you pull the rainbow-colored wool from your eyes and look at actual data, Twitter accounts that use the word “guru” tend to have 100 more followers than the average Twitter account.

Now, I don’t think the takeaway here should be to call yourself a guru at every opportunity, but if you look at the rest of the words on the list, you should realize that you need to identify yourself authoritatively. People like to follow “official” accounts, and they want to know if you’re an “author,” “expert,” or “founder.”

It’s yet another way social media is like a cocktail party. I always find myself looking at nametags at networking events, because I want to know who the person I’m talking to is and what they do.

So don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and tell us why we should listen to you.

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Cheer Up and Don’t Be Such a Debbie Downer

Building on my cocktail party analogy, imagine yourself at a networking event deep in conversation with a new bunch of friends. One of them is a total bummer and is constantly negative. How much do you really want to be talking to that person?

Social media is no different than that party. Both on Facebook and Twitter, people don’t like spreading bad news.

And the data bears this out. For instance on Twitter, accounts that make many negative remarks tend to have fewer followers.

And on Facebook, while sex is the most “shareable” content type I found, “positivity” is number 2 and “negativity” is the least shareable.

There is no lack of negative news on the web and if I want to get bummed out all I have to do is turn on one of the 24 hour news stations. People don’t go to social media to feel bad, they go to social media to talk to their friends, make new ones and generally have a good time. So cheer up, and stop being such a Debbie Downer.

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Stop Talking About Yourself, Start Talking as Yourself


Imagine yourself at a networking event or cocktail party. You’re talking to a handful of people, and one guy is only talking about himself. Is he your favorite person to converse with? On the other hand there’s another guy who’s talking about you, your needs and your experiences. Which would you rather talk to?

Social media is a cocktail party, nobody wants to listen to you talk about yourself all day.

When I analyzed Twitter follower count data, I found that as the amount of self referential Tweets increases, the number of followers an account has decreases.

Now imagine that same party, with a different group of people, all talking shop. Most of them are saying the same things, stuff you’ve heard a million times before. But one person has a totally different point of view. You may not even agree with him all the time, but he’s bringing something new to the conversation. Who would you rather listen to?

People don’t want to listen to the same things, over and over again. Every time I do any kind of research on social media or contagious ideas, novelty comes up. People want to read and share things they haven’t heard before.

I’ve even gone so far as to test the idea I found that blog readers click more on ReTweet buttons that say no one else has tweeted a given article yet. They wanted to be the first person to share something and were far less interested in sharing it when it appeared many other people had already done so.

When I was doing research for my Science of Blogging presentation I did a survey and asked people what made them want to read a blog. In the responses, one of the most popular themes was that people wanted to hear unique perspectives, they wanted to read a blogger’s unique analysis and insights.

Now, we can’t all make headlines every time we Tweet or blog, but we can all speak from our own, unique perspectives.

So stop talking about yourself, it’s boring and nobody wants to hear it. But start talking as yourself and show us how the world looks through your eyes.

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My Top 6 Social Media Science Presentations (600+ Slides)

One of my favorite parts of my work is presenting the findings of my research to audiences, and as part of that I get really excited about building attractive and educational slideshows. Over the past few years I’ve researched and built a series of presentations that each explore the data and science behind some aspect of internet marketing.

Below I’ve embeded 6 of my best, hour long “science of” presentations, covering everything from social media in general, twitter, facebook, and lead generation to contagious presentations themselves. I’ve even included my newest presentation “The Science of Blogging“, which I’ll be presenting for the first time on December 9th at 2pm EST.

And if you’re organizing an event, chances are pretty good that I’d love to speak at it. See my speaking page for more information on my presentations and then email me.



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