Last week I had lunch with one of those funky new online brander types. Local girl, building a niche in the world of women and online branding. We did the typical "so where you from," "how'd you get into this," BS chatter, and then she told me about her upcoming "You, the online brand" seminar. Oh great, another seminar on how to be online, how to type your way to wealth and fame.
Then she started talking about me. She follows my blogs and everything else I do online. She knows my criticisms of the failed lawyers and phony snake oil salesmen who pray on geeky BigLaw partners and young desperate lawyers trying to "make money as a lawyer." She knows I'm always there to call out bullshit when I see it, and she knows I think much of this "let me teach you about the internet" crap is just that - crap.
So she asked me to speak at her seminar. Now please, social media types reading this, pick yourself up off the floor. Read: I am speaking, by invitation, not begging like so many of you do, today, at a seminar about online branding.
While the social media types are busy searching the internet to find this seminar and beg the host to rescind my invitation, let me tell you what I intend to say:
How I really feel. What I really think.
I plan to discuss how your offline reputation can be destroyed by your online parading. I plan to talk about creating an image online that's not true. I plan to talk about failing to respond to negativity - what the social media darlings mean when they send emails to each other: "don't respond to Brian," "watch out for Brian." I plan to talk about engaging with others as a real person, and not a used car salesman.
I trust those that have sat through a couple hours of this seminar will look at me and think "man, is everything I've heard for the last couple hours a bunch of garbage?"
There is honor in what the host is doing. Last year, after publicly criticizing online attorney directory AVVO, I was asked to speak on a panel at an AVVO seminar. I was introduced as "controversial." One of the AVVO people sitting next to me on the panel announced that "our first experience with Brian was not positive."
AVVO wasn't scared to not only engage with a dissenting voice, but to invite that dissenting voice into their world - to put me in front of a room full of people only there to hear the great and wonderful things about AVVO.
The social media folk will never understand the value of negativity. The value of accepting a dissenting voice, a person who questions both it, and the people behind the curtain. To the social media types, transparency is the enemy of their business.
So today at 4, after all the "rah rah rah," I'll get up and pour water on the crowd. I'll speak from a point of view of a human being who doesn't think setting up a blog and twitter account is the key to success in life.
Some will thank me, others will curse me.
It's what I call "Tuesday."
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.