(Video) How to Call BS on Social Media Gurus

Thanks to the folks at SMC Seattle, the video from last month’s talk is now up.

Some background and disclaimers:

  1. It was a rowdy venue, with an open bar at a circus themed hall (Hale’s Palladium room). I had a heckler of sorts at about the 8 minute mark, which I dealt with abruptly to prevent more of it from happening. Apologies if I come off as brash – the content is brash enough.
  2. A drinking game for my talk was announced during my introduction by Brian, my SMC host, right before the video starts. It wasn’t my idea, and I found out about it when the audience did.
  3. There is a some use of the word BS – very mildly NSFW.
  4. There is a typo in the opening credit, I’ve already let the SMC Seattle folks who produced the video know
  5. The slides and references for the talk can be found here.

SMC Seattle May Event: How to Call BS on a Social Media Guru from SMC Seattle on Vimeo.

11 Responses to “(Video) How to Call BS on Social Media Gurus”

  1. Percy

    Really enjoyable talk Scott. Couldn’t make out anything about the rowdy venue other than the heckler, and that was because you actually pointed that out.

    (This is to be expected) but it was way more interesting and informative watching you speak than going through the slides. Once again, thanks for posting the video.

  2. Steve Milligan

    Hi Scott,
    Really enjoyed that video. I watched the slides a week or so back and although interesting they suffered the curse of slide decks in that you never get the full context of the presentation.

    The talk was great, good pace and presentation style.

    At the risk of sounding sycophantic I discovered the site after picking up Making Things Happen which is probably the best book I have read on PM. I like your writing style and the fact that it is not preachy. I was reading it thinking in some parts “yeah, that’s all well and good but would not work in our workplace” and others were “that’s genius!”.

    Take care


  3. Elisabeth Bucci

    Thanks for posting the video. Makes a huge difference over reading the slide deck.
    You will still have to poke my eyes out.
    While I appreciate very much your calling bullshit on social media “experts”, (thank you for that by the way) I still think social media is “tranformative”. In other words, I take issue with you calling bullshit on social media itself.
    Long after the so-called gurus have moved on to the next bright and shiny objects, we’ll still have these amazing new ways of communicating with each other. And these new communication tools will/are bringing in the next revolution / transformation. (Uh, want to ask someone in the newspaper industry if there’s a transformation happening?)
    Don’t forget that the Second Industrial Revolution took about 70 years, give or take a few. In other words, an entire lifetime. The same probably goes for the transformation that we are in the middle of right now.

  4. Elisabeth Bucci

    And one more thing.
    You call bullshit on citing 30-year-old research (the weak-ties paper) as the basis for calling something “transformative” or game-changing.
    Are you going to call bullshit on the laser as well???
    Einstein came up with the laser in 1917. The first functioning laser wasn’t built until 1960, more than 40 years later.
    Even then, it wasn’t until the 70s that the laser showed up in practical applications, more than 50 years after Einstein’s original paper.
    Just because it takes time for a practical application to show up for a scientific theory hardly makes that application bullshit.
    So, I call bullshit on your calling bullshit on social media not being transformative simply because someone is citing perfectly good research that is 30 years old.

    1. Scott Berkun


      Do you disagree with the general point? Or are you questioning my specific claim? I can’t tell.

      I how long most ideas take to develop and have an impact on the world (I wrote a book largely about this).

      I’d have no problem at all for someone to say “this amazing social media thing has been developing for 30 years and now it’s paying off!” That would connect the present the past, and I’d be comfortable with that – but that is not the stance they tend to take.

      Instead they take the stance something is happening now that has never happened before and not only is it unlike anything in the past, but is not based on anything that has happened in the past.

      Frankly, any acknowledgment all about social networks throughout history is rare among some social media gurus, and that’s the primary notion I’m challenging here.

      And: btw Einstein did not invent the laser. Some of his work (photon/photoelectric effect) enabled the invention of the laser, but that’s not the same thing.

  5. Elisabeth

    I agree with you calling bullshit on social media gurus. They’re annoying and sucking the fun out of everything. This whole nonsense of “how to increase followers so you can make 5 gazillion dollars” is just silly. So is misquoting statistics. You raise excellent points.
    Except: I don’t agree that what is happening now (the use of Twitter, Facebook, blogging and whatever hasn’t been invented yet) to have conversations, the ability to publish without a publisher, the freedom to create art without friction is NOT transformative or revolutionary. It is.
    As to how to prove my point…I need more words and space. (I’m working on it. I’m slow. And I do like to get my facts straight.)

    Speaking of which…I’m afraid that Einstein most certainly is credited with inventing the laser. He came up with the physics (a population inversion will result in stimulated emission) which eventually led to actually building the first working one in 1960. I am no expert but I did do my undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics, took a Laser Physics course, and I can still hear my prof saying “Did you know that Einstein invented the laser?” I’ll defer to him…:)

    My point is this: You’re not full of shit if you quote 30-year-old research. You are if you do the other stuff you talk about in your video.



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