Friday, March 12, 2010

Chat Roulette: Don't gamble at work

  Chat Roulette is probably one gamble you don't
want to take at work

The spring semester here at Syracuse University has really been busy, and since I'm on spring break now, I can devote some time to blog more on my perspectives of social media. I figure I should probably start with the latest craze: Chat Roulette.

I'm not really sure where to start with this one. Perhaps a little background: The site was started in November in Moscow by a 17-year-old, and it's just now starting to gain popularity. Basically, it's a chat site that utilizes Web cams. You start a "game," as it's called (believe me, there are no winners on Chat Roulette, so it's hardly a game), and you are shown the video of a random stranger. If you like what you see, you can continue to chat with them through type or audio. If you don't like what you see (and you probably won't), you click "next" and then given another new person on Web cam. If you've heard nothing of Chat Roulette to this point, you're probably thinking that this Web site is highly abused by voyeuristic people intent on showing you things that shouldn't be shown during a first meeting. Congratulations. You're 100 percent correct in your assumption.

While I will spare you the sometimes gruesome specifics of what you're likely to see if you visit the site, I will go into a little bit about how businesses should handle employees who feel like visiting the site during company hours. I'm a huge proponent of social media in its various forms. I'm also big on opening up the conversation and letting whatever's going to happen, happen. I encourage people to stay away from the privacy settings on their accounts because it only hinders what can be possible through social media. Chat Roulette, however, is a gigantic exception. With the site quickly becoming viral, thanks to being featured on a slew of mass media TV shows and news channels, companies should be proactive about the use of the site at work. Most companies are just now working on social media policies for employees, and I hope they're all encouraging their workers to use social media during business hours. However, when it comes to Chat Roulette, there really aren't many business uses, unless you're running a recruitment firm for the pornography industry.

I run into a crisis of conscience with this site. I'm a First Amendment guy. With a lengthy background in the newspaper industry, how could I not be? I don't like censorship in any of its forms. I worry, however, that some poor soul is going to be exposed to Chat Roulette at its worst inside the work environment, which could cause problems for the company that didn't keep itself informed of new, popular technology.

Chat Roulette is really a lesson for businesses in staying informed. With social media as a whole gaining in popularity by the day, companies that want to use those tools for business purposes should do whatever it takes to stay up on the social media industry. From there, steps should be taken to make sure that the company's social media policy is not compromised by a site like Chat Roulette.

Again, I'm not a censorship type of person, but I firmly believe there's a time and place for something like Chat Roulette. I'm not judging anyone who may really enjoy the site. Have at it. I just think Chat Roulette should stay home while Facebook and Twitter come to work with you.

Have you tried Chat Roulette? What do you think? How do you think companies should adjust their social media policies to account for the sometimes lude material that can be spread through Chat Roulette?

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @JayAdams70.

In case you missed these great takes on Chat Roulette, here are a couple of videos for your enjoyment.

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart jumped on Chat Roulette and discovered some interesting folks were also hanging out there:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tech-Talch - Chatroulette
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform

One of my favorite comedians, Daniel Tosh, also took a hilarious look at the site. This one's probably NSFW:

Chat Roulette
Web Redemption2 Girls, 1 Cup ReactionDemi Moore Picture

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Profile: How a clothing designer uses social media

Alloyius McIlwaine is turning his Cultures 
Clothing Company into a monster through 
social media

During a trip to Philadelphia over the weekend, I had a chance to hang out with Alloyius McIlwaine, a clothing designer who is no doubt going to be a household name one day. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why Alloyius will achieve that success is his use of social media. While he could easily just use his accounts to promote his clothing line, he uses social media the way a business should: He makes strong connections by just being himself. Those connections then translate into hits to his Web site,, where his fans and friends can view and purchase items from his clothing line, see what he's up to and know what's coming from him in the future. If you want to see how a clothing designer uses social media the right way, check him out on Twitter @culturesclothes. Here's an interview I did with him:

JAY ADAMS: First of all, explain a little bit about what Cultures Clothing is, how the idea came about and what type of success you've had since you launched.

ALLOYIUS MCILWAINE: I founded Cultures Clothing in my college years. At first, I was just making T-shirts as a way to make some extra money, but then I really fell in love with creating. I'm an artist at heart, and this gave me an outlet to express myself and to get my work seen. Even in high school, the idea of having people wearing something that I created really appealed to me. I came up with the name because everyone is a product of many different cultures, whether you're talking about nationalities, or the culture of the society that you grew up in, so I wanted my line to reflect that. I wanted to show that all nationalities, cultures, or social groups have something interesting or beautiful about them. The line is representative of high fashion, urban wear and everything in-between for men, women and children. I've expanded from just doing T-shirts to doing dresses, polos, skirts and hoodies, as well. You'll see influences from everything from fine art and high fashion to hip-hop in the clothing.

On the price tags for the clothing, I include little known or interesting facts about different cultures, to inform people, and to help them to understand that we are all connected. Along with doing pieces of clothing for mass production, many of the pieces from Cultures Clothing are hand-painted and can be customized, so that the consumer can have a one of a kind piece of art to wear.

Just like anything, it takes a lot of time and hard work to really become successful. Statistics show that, on average, it takes business at least seven years to become successful, so it's been a long and hard process, but people seem to love the clothing! The hoodies are big sellers. People love that I use a lot of color in the clothing. One thing that I've noticed is that I get a lot of return buyers. People love the quality of the work and that I'm doing something a little different than the norm. I've gotten a ton of support over the years and I'm getting to the point where, every once in a while, I can see someone walking down the street wearing something that I've created, and let me tell you man, that is a bug-out! It's like, "Wow, I made that!" Sometimes I introduce myself and tell them, "I made this shirt that you're wearing, take a picture with me really quick" (he says with a laugh).

JA: How do you use social media for Cultures Clothing?

AM: Well, essentially, I use sites like Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and Model Mayhem to spread awareness about the clothing line, to let people know what's going on behind the scenes, and to let people know what is available from my brand. All of the different sites have something that is very useful. I use Model Mayhem as a way to connect with models, photographers and make-up artists. MySpace was my first social media outlet, so I have the most followers on there (about 3,000). I use MySpace to post bulletins and news flashes. Sidenote: MySpace is also great for promoting music. Facebook is a more personal way to connect with people, and Twitter is the best way to reach influential people who might help the brand, and to build a following.

JA: How have you been able to gain a following for your brand through social media?

AM: With Twitter, I just started out by just speaking about whatever subjects are trending at the time, and usually, if you have something funny, witty, or truthful to say about something, and people see you, they'll check you out and follow you. I also try to reply back to every message that I get, so when people get to see how friendly and personable I am, then tend to check out whatever else I'm doing and they support it. I talk about various subjects, including the clothing line, and I post artwork, and I just try to entertain people. People like to be entertained, and I like making people laugh, so I just try to be fun and easy to talk to, and the following grows daily. I also invite people to come out and meet me when I do events and stuff. It's funny, people are usually pleasantly surprised when I act the same way in person as I do in (social media).

JA: What has been the impact to your business? Has being active on social media brought you more visitors to your site?

AM: Yeah, it definetly has! I haven't done any magazine ads, or billboards or anything like that, so outside of doing events like fashion shows and people hearing about me that way, I'd say that social media is the source of the majority of the clothing line's sales.

JA: I notice that you don't publish tweets or Facebook updates just about fashion or your personal brand. You talk a lot about music and your other interests. How much do you think that helps potential customers identify with you as a person rather than just some random brand? Has that been your strategy all along?

AM: I guess you can say it was a strategy, but moreso I'm just being myself. I just feel like if you're too one-dimensional with your posts, it's not going to be as interesting for the reader. I mean, they might come to you when they specifically want to read something about your trade, but that's it. I just talk about whatever pops in my head, whether it be sports, fashion, music, politics, or social commentary. I think the key to gaining more followers is personality. If you're interesting, people WILL follow you.  

JA: You recently started up an online magazine. How did you get the idea to do it and why do you think it will help your brand? 

AM: Honestly man, one day, on a Tuesday I just said "I want to start a magazine" and I had it up two days later on Thursday. I just figured that I'm talking about all of these different subjects anyway, let me put them together in a format like a magazine and get my thoughts and (point-of-view) out there. I come across so much information that might be overlooked by mass-media, and I just felt like certain information needs to be out there.

For example, if you go on the Internet, it's incredibly easy to find out what Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane are doing this week in jail, but news about cognitive, thought-provoking hip-hop just gets swept under the rug and doesn't see the light of day. I think that's sad. Most people who are unfamiliar with what hip-hop really is would just look at what's in mass media and think that hip-hop's all a bunch of womanizing, talk of drug trafficking and money-worshiping with gratuitous violence. I use the magazine to push real hip-hop out there.

Just to give you a few more examples, I also think that there's a lot of propaganda going on in mass media. Like recently, there were reports that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the Taliban leaders had been captured. Shortly after that news came in, Taliban videos pop up all over YouTube refuting that claim. So I'm like, "Which is it, is he captured or not?" Next thing you know, we have breaking news on like every station about Tiger Woods' apology. That was just amazing to me, and I mean amazing in a bad way, like shocking. I use the magazine to bring those types of things into light. I also have this section of the magazine called "Cultures Facts" that I use to give little known/interesting facts about different cultures. I think that if people could see how closely we are all related and gain a better understanding of different cultures then the world would be a better place.

As for how the magazine will help the brand, I've already gotten a lot more exposure from it. I recently did a radio interview with Shamara on Power99 about the magazine, and I actually got a ton of Facebook adds just from people who heard that interview on the radio. So it's given me more exposure, and with more exposure comes more sales. Since I started the magazine, I think my sales have at least doubled. I do an article every week called "What's New With Cultures Clothing," which gives me an avenue to let people know what's going on behind the scenes, and to let them know about what I have for sale and what I have coming out. So now that people are more up-to-date with what I have to offer, the business is having a lot more success.  

JA: What has been the response to the magazine so far? 

AM: Oh, the response to the magazine has been incredible! The first month and a half of the magazine has gotten 3,200 views, which is pretty good for an unknown online magazine that popped up out of nowhere. I have so many people that are just offering help and support, it's really humbling. Like my inbox is filled every day with friends, family and even fans of the magazine sending me interesting articles to talk about for the magazine. It looks like we're starting a bit of a movement here! 

JA: What are your future plans with it? 

AM: As far as future plans, I'd love to put it into print one day. That's definitely on the agenda. I'm currently looking for investors and writers. I'm just trying to make this thing grow and reach as many people as possible. Hopefully, one day, I'll have something on the scale of what Marc Ecko is doing with Complex magazine. That would be awesome. 

JA: You're very active on Twitter. How has Twitter helped you network with others in the fashion industry? 

AM: Twitter has helped me to get in touch with so many people in the fashion industry, in the music industry, and mass media in general. Since I've been on Twitter, I've gotten some clothing to hip-hop underground legends like COPYWRITE, the incredibly lovely Aubrey Aquino has worn my clothing on her TV show "On The Flipside," and has put me in touch with celebrities like Somaya Reece. I've even gotten the chance to talk to a lot of my hip-hop idols, such as Chino XL and Talib Kweli. It's amazing, I've also found numerous models off of Twitter, and made lots of great contacts in the fashion industry. You'll be seeing some collab projects coming up soon! 

JA: How difficult would that be if Twitter didn't exist? 

AM: Truth be told, it would be very hard. Twitter is maybe the best social media outlet for connecting with people. It would be much, much harder to get in touch with a lot of these people, even through Facebook and Myspace. I mean, a few years ago I got in touch with Natalie Mejia of Girlicious and Cori Yarckin, who's now a friend of mine, through MySpace, and I have pictures of them wearing my clothing, but with those, I felt like I got really, really lucky. Twitter's easier for contacting celebrities and marketing your brand.  

JA: What does the future hold for Cultures Clothing, and how does social media play into it? 

AM: Hopefully in the future, Cultures Clothing will be up there with the big brands like Ecko and Polo. The plan is just to keep expanding and to keep promoting. I have photo shoots, fashions shows, and all types of other events coming up. Social media will always play a big part in how I promote Cultures, because it's the easiest way to get your brand out there to the largest number of people. You'll see me on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Model Mayhem, Formspring, and every other social media outlet out there promoting Cultures Clothing for a long time! 

Alloyius McIlwaine's Cultures Clothing line can be found here:
Facebook Fan page
Model Mayhem

And, as always, you can follow me on Twitter @JayAdams70

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Problems with Facebook redesign? Me too

UPDATE: As of 8:30 a.m., it looks like this problem has been corrected. I'm not 100 percent sure yet, but it looks like my live feed is updated much more regularly than it did last night. Anyone else still having problems?

When Facebook rolled out its new redesign, I was actually pretty happy about it. It seemed like the changes would actually optimize the user's experience. It seemed like it would take less clicks to navigate to where you wanted to go. It seemed like this redesign might not draw as much ire as previous ones.

It took only a few days for me to realize that the redesign was not without its bugs. My biggest beef right now is the news live feed. I don't know about any of you, but my news live feed has never been less useful. The updates I get are completely sporadic. If I log in to Facebook, I'll get one set of updates that seem to have been sent hours apart. If I refresh my feed, I'll get the same set of updates with some several-day-old updates mixed in there. Even more frustrating, if I create a status update or post a link, it doesn't even come through my own news live feed.

I understand that there are always unforeseen issues that pop up when a redesign is implemented, but Facebook's usability and functionality has always been a hallmark of the site. Yet, in the face of research I've done to see if Facebook has somehow addressed this issue or if it's even aware of it, I have found nothing about news feed problems due to the redesign.

Are you experiencing the same problems? Have you been able to find anything about what the problem is or how to fix it? And what do you think about the Facebook redesign in general? Like? Dislike?

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @JayAdams70

Monday, February 8, 2010

SU student finds 15 minutes of social media fame

Pat Manley with his Big Boeheim Head. Manley's on the left,
in case you were wondering.

If there's one thing that Web 2.0 has proven it's that the previously elusive 15 Minutes of Fame are easier to attain than ever. Just ask Pat Manley. He knows.

Manley, a graduate student at Syracuse University, has become a local celebrity because of an idea to make Syracuse basketball games just a little more interesting. Manley saw the idea during games at other schools, but he hadn't seen anything like it at Syracuse before. The idea, in case you missed it in the photo above, is the obscenely gigantic photo cutout of Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim's head.

While Manley has received a steady stream of media and interview requests since the Boeheim head made its first appearance a few weeks ago, perhaps nothing has helped spur on Manley's meteoric rise to viral Syracuse fame like social media. It all started hours before Syracuse's home game against Marquette on Jan. 23. Before walking out the door to head to the game with the cutout that took six hours to make, Manley had friend Stephen Wolek snap a photo of the creator with his 5-foot-tall monster. Manley posted the photo to Twitter and Facebook, thinking it would just be a way to show all his friends what he had created.

"Within five minutes it was on a popular Syracuse blog,, and by the end of the game I was contacted by the Post Standard about using the very photo I uploaded," Manley said. "Within an hour after the game, I was contacted on Facebook by a girl from CirtusTV to set up an interview time."

And with that, Manley and his big Boeheim head became social media stars. Within 24 hours of the big head's debut, a Facebook Fan page was set up and a Twitter account followed shortly. The Facebook Fan page, which Manley played no hand in setting up, gathered in followers at a blistering pace. Manley was amazed when the group had just a couple of hundred. As of Feb. 8, the group is more than 5,100 strong and growing by the day. The big head's Twitter page is behind that with only 128 followers, although a Twitter search for "Boeheim Head" yields some interesting results.

But Manley has found that the big head hasn't stolen all of the social media spotlight. Manley himself has seen his social media requests rise in the past few weeks.

"My Facebook and Twitter accounts have exploded," Manley said. "I more than doubled my Twitter followers in a week's time and added a significant number of friends on Facebook. I synced up both accounts with my BlackBerry and it is constantly receiving notifications from both."

That might have something to do with Manley's decision to start marketing himself through the success he has had with the big Boeheim head. On the backside of the head, Manley wrote his Twitter account in large black letters so fans behind him at games would be able to find him on the micro-blogging site. He has even parlayed his social media presence into more and more traditional media appearances.

"Once things took off, I used social media in a variety of ways," Manley said. "Brent Axe contacted me through Twitter to set up an appearance on his radio show, which is simulcast on ESPN Radio and Time Warner Cable Sports. I was able to contact (Syracuse basketball players) Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph through Twitter to set up a meeting that allowed me to take their pictures for new heads.

"I used direct messaging on Twitter to communicate with the owner of and field questions that he had, as well as provide him with links about the big head; and I was able to set up meetings with local media outlets through Facebook messaging."

Weeks after first becoming an icon at Syracuse basketball games, Manley is still surprised at just how much attention his creation has received and continues to receive through social media. A few years ago, Manley's popularity might have taken much longer to achieve. But through his use of social media and social networking, Manley was able to reach a large number of people in a very short period of time.

"Social media is certainly the wave of the future. Information can be disseminated much faster, it's relatively easy to use and understand and can reach people throughout the world with the click of a button," Manley said. "It was the key ingredient in my 'rise to fame,' and allowed me to connect with Syracuse fans that I would've never interacted with otherwise."

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @JayAdams70

Friday, January 29, 2010

Want to know what I think of you? Read this

"Hey, cat! You have cheese on your head!" - Anonymous.

How would you feel if I told you to your face exactly what I think of you? You'd probably hit me, and I wouldn't blame you. Now, how would you feel if I told you exactly what I think of you anonymously over the Internet? You'd probably do quite a bit of research to track down my IP address and then my real address with the goal of hitting me. But you wouldn't be able to. Ha!

While being blunt with someone you're not too fond of is a time-honored tradition at bars and inside New Jersey state limits, it's going to become viral on the Web very soon. At least, that's my prediction. I read Mashable's take on a brand new social media site that's about to hit the Internet for beta testing very soon. It's called, or Failings for those of you who don't understand this new wave of URL addresses. Basically, is going to give users the ability to track down their friends on the site and tell them everything they have always wanted to with the added convenience of Web 2.0 anonymity. That's right. They'll never know it's you who told them there's an odor that persists whenever they stand up after sitting for a while or that you think their lame attempt at a mustache is childish and creepy.

In an added bonus, allows users to categorize the things people say about them. Users can choose the following: "I knew this about me," "I had no idea," and "I totally disagree." Something tells me the disagree function will be used quite often on this site, although it'll be interesting to see the types of things that fall under the "I knew this about me" category.

This site may seem like a hilarious spoof on social media, but it's not. It's the real deal. It's like a more hurtful version of Hot or Not. And my prediction is that it will be wildly successful when it finally launches gets some legs. For me, this is just the latest chapter in the "Me-First" generation. It allows all of us to feed into the curiosity we've always had about how people feel toward us. It allows us to focus more on ourselves. More importantly, it allows us the opportunity to tear people down without all the guilt that comes from confrontation and punches while making us feel better about us. Social media is not without its flaws, and the perpetuation of the "Me-First" mind-set is definitely one of them. It's that mind-set that spawns ideas like and keeps us constantly searching for validation and approval from others. But it's that mind-set that will likely allow to torch the Internet ablaze. And I say good for It has a niche and it definitely has a market. Everything is set up for it to be successful.

But will I join the site to hear what people really think of me? Absolutely not. That's what I have a blog for. Besides, I bruise easily in the emotional sense. is just not for me. But what about you? Is this a site you would join? I'm interested in knowing why or why not. Please comment below.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @JayAdams70.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ten reasons not to read that top 10 social media post

Confusing title, huh? Well, that confusion has brought you here, so that's good, right?

Maybe not. But I can't help but notice all the information out there regarding how to successfully run a blog, a Facebook page or a Twitter profile. This information usually comes in packages of 10, but it's not uncommon to see five packs, seven packs or eight packs. Personally, I think those people shot for 10 ideas but ran out way faster than they thought.

I've set out for 10 ideas in this post, but we'll see how it goes. I'm not promising anything. I'm no better than the people who write seven or eight reasons. In fact, I'm worse.

10. You don't have time for ten reasons

You're a busy person. We all are. Who has the time to read 10 reasons to do or not to do anything? Honestly, if I'm given one really good reason to do something or not to do something, that's usually good enough for me. I'm sold. Call me cheap. It's how I roll. I understand you put a lot of thought into reaching ten ideas on one subject, but I just don't have the attention span for that many ideas. In fact, I'm already bored with this post.

9. Because of Reason 10, you only read the first few reasons anyway

When you're a one-reason person living in a 10-reason world, it's tough to get all the way through a blog post. I read the 10 reasons posts just as much as the next guy, but you usually lose me after about Reason 3. If those three reasons are good enough, I'm not so sure I need to go any further. So I'll skim. Yeah, there was nothing decent after Reason 3 anyway.

8. Reasons are really opinions being sold as hard facts

You'll see the blog posts that guarantee success if you follow the 10 steps laid out. You'll follow the 10 steps and wind up unsuccessful. You'll then determine yourself to be a failure and threaten to kill your Twitter profile. Don't to it. I need someone to compete with. But while the 10 reasons may come from credible sources, they're really just a list of things the poster has done that ended up working. Those 10 things may not work for you. That's just the way it is. In social media, not much is fully proven to be successful every time, except spouting off opinions as if they're facts. That works extremely well.

7. People post 10 things just to get retweeted

Yeah, that's why I'm doing it. So? The word "ten" and the number "10" are two of the most commonly retweeted words, according to some source I likely found on a top ten list. Getting retweeted is good for all of us. I happen to suck at it. That's why I'm writing this post: strictly for the retweets. But I won't get any. You won't do it. (That's a challenge. I think you should).

6. Ten reasons lists are too simliar

I can't tell you how many times I've read multiple top 10 lists and found the same reasons over and over. I get it already. Don't tweet while drunk. Understood. I know most people who spend their lives drunk need to be reminded of a lot of things over and over, like where they live. But I read all top 10 lists completely sober. If I didn't, I wouldn't tweet about it anyway.

5. Ten reasons lists are too dissimilar

There is so much conflicting information out there in top 10 lists. Should I follow everyone and hope they follow me back? Should I hope people just find me and determine that I'm interesting enough to follow? I don't know, but I've got two top 10 lists telling me to do two different things. What should I do? Oh, yeah. Refer to Reason 8.

4. I've run out of reasons

See? Told you it would happen. So now I have to think up some desperate reasons to reach 10 and not get yelled at by you. So now the following items are going to be throw-away reasons. I should have just created a top six list.

3. Anyone can write a top 10 list

This reason is similar to Reason 8, you say? I told you these last few would be throw-aways. But it's important to note that anyone can come up with 10 reasons to do something or not do something when it comes to social media. That kills the credibility of top 10 lists. Anyone can blog, too. So I guess I'm taking down the whole Internet with this list.

2. Ten reasons make you feel comfortable

Reading a top 10 list is like wrapping a nice, warm blanket around yourself. It feels nice. It feels like home. We love the number 10. Ten commandments. Ten-day forecast. Ten-gallon hat. Ten just works because it's a nice round number that doesn't cause disorder, like seven does. I hate 7. It messes everything up. What's 7+6? I can never remember. I blame 7.

1. You don't need reassurance

Seriously, you don't. As long as you're not spamming people or letting your social media profiles sit idle for days at a time, you're doing social media right. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and whether you're using social media for fun or for business, each case is unique. Only you can determine the right things and the wrong things to do. Sure, researching tips and tricks is awesome, and educating yourself is always a great thing to do. But you don't need me (especially) or anyone else to reaffirm that you're doing something right or wrong. Success comes from trial and error, and it's never too late to try something new. Figure it out for yourself. Then, write a top 10 list.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @JayAdams70.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Be wary of the social media expert

As I've incorporated myself into the world of social media marketing, I've done a whole lot of reading on the How To's, the What To's and the What Not To's of how to build a personal brand using social media. Through my learning of more and more about social media, I've found myself having to make a lot of changes to my existing social media profiles to better serve the strategy I have created for myself. One of the things I did today was rebrand myself on my Twitter profile. I changed my profile description to be a little more, well, descriptive of who I am and what I'm about. Here's what I changed it to:
"Graduate student focused on new media and social media marketing, hardcore Buffalo Bills fan and an all-around pretty sweet dude."
My previous description just included my interest in social media and social media marketing, but I'm so much more than that. So I included the fact that I have an undying, pitiful passion for one of the most lackluster franchises in the NFL, and I showed decided to show my sense of humor by including the pretty sweet dude part. But if you notice, nowhere did I include the words "expert" or "guru" or "rockstar" in my description. Why? Because I'm not any of those things when it comes to social media. Now, let me clarify. I'm no stranger to social media sites. In fact, I've got a good seven or eight years of experience using social media sites on a daily basis. I've pretty much been obsessed with them since I discovered Friendster and MySpace so many years ago. I'd be willing to bet that I've logged just as much time on social media sites as the experts out there.

But that doesn't make me an expert. I'm not sure what would, really. What does make for a social media expert? What are the qualifications? Do you have to use social media as a business tool before you can be considered an expert? Mashable's Pete Cashmore, one of the very few people I would consider to be a true social media expert if there was a way to truly measure such a thing, wrote a blog post almost three weeks ago saying that there are more than 15,000 people on Twitter who call themselves social media experts in some form or fashion. Then, I saw a tweet from one of my favorite tweeters, Douglas Idugboe (@douglasi), that completely captured my thoughts on this subject:
"douglasi: To call yourself a social media expert is like saying, "I don't know what da heck I'm talking about!" We are all students just now."
Couldn't agree more. Let me take that thought a bit further. I've found in my personal experience with experts in any field that they tend to be closed off to new ideas and new ways to do things because of the status they have achieved. I feel, whether it's a conscious decision or not, that the day you consider yourself an expert is the day you stop learning little by little. That's a dangerous prospect in social media when things are changing so rapidly; day-to-day in some cases. Now, is there anything wrong with being considered an expert by your peers? Absolutely not. In fact, I applaud anyone who has achieved that status through years and years of hard work and dedication, and to have other people consider you an expert is the ultimate form of flattery. I just wonder what the value is in referring to yourself as a social media expert when there is absolutely no way to measure such a thing. Cashmore wonders in his post about the 15,000-plus social media experts how us folks who make social media such a big part of our lives go about creating a reputation for ourselves when there's no certification process for what is still a new, growing industry. I wonder the same thing.

So what is the standard you have to reach to consider yourself a social media expert? Is it, as I mentioned before, achieving success by marketing a business or product through social media means? If that's the case, you're leaving out a lot of people who could seriously be considered social media experts. Off the top of my head, I can think of Justin Halpern, who found fame with his Twitter account @shitmydadsays. Justin started the Twitter account to keep a record of all the funny, sarcastic things his father says. He turned it into an Internet sensation and currently has more than a million followers. He has parlaying that success into a book deal and a CBS deal that could bring a character based on his father to TV. Now, is he a social media expert? Sure, in some roundabout way, the content he provides ends up being some form of marketing. It's just another case of good content ruling all. But he's not a social media marketer in the same way a lot of other people on Twitter are. But I'd consider him to be a really good source of information on how to turn an idea into a burgeoning brand, even though he basically stumbled into his current success. Do we leave him out of the conversation simply because he doesn't blog about SEO, ROI or The Top 10 Twitter Tips You've Already Likely Read in 50 Other Blogs? What about Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco — who is a great marketer largely because of his phenomenal personality? Do we leave him out, too, because he doesn't share the latest social media trends?

This is precisely why the term "social media expert" is so murky. What does it encompass? How can we tell who really is an expert and who's just trying to give themselves a boost? If we look at what social media's purpose is, we can have a better idea of how to separate the real experts from the impostors. Social media is about engaging in conversation — whether it be by sparking the conversation or joining in on it. It's about making digital connections that add value to the space as a whole. With that said, can we really consider someone an expert simply because of their follower count? Or because of the amount of links they tweet at a feverish pace?

I guess, in the end, it all comes down to who you trust, whose input you value and who makes your social media experience better. Until there is a way to gauge who is truly a social media expert, it's up to you to create your own criteria for such a title. The problem, then, becomes the criteria people set for themselves to place such a title in their own Twitter description. Oh, well. For now, trust your instincts and be skeptical of anyone claiming to be an expert until they meet YOUR criteria of such a title. Don't just take their word for it.

With that said, what would your criteria be to consider someone an expert in any field? What standards would you set for those kinds of people? And how long would it take you before determining that someone is not only trustworthy but deserving of the title of "expert?"

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @JayAdams70.