Calling all Misfits, Non-Conformists, and Outliers. It's Hip to Bee Square
I’ve had some conversations lately about coolness.
Not as in temperature, but rather in terms of ‘hip’-ness.
The conversation has stimulated my ‘opinionator’ and I felt I would share my thoughts…
Now, I’ve always thought of myself as cool, but genetics and my personality have not been my friend in that department.
As a kid, I was too short, too plump (believe it or not), and too interested in space, cameras, rocks, books, and gadgets to be part of the ‘in’ crowd.
Couple that with my father’s career… Getting a ride to school in a police cruiser wasn’t exactly a ticket to coolness.
And yet I aspired to be part of the cool crowd.
I dusted off an old guitar leaning in the corner and joined a few other misfits to form a garage band.
We weren’t that good, but we certainly had passion. And volume.
But even with that, the measure of ‘cool’ at that time didn’t include us.
Rather than hip, we were labelled ‘square’. (meaning ‘definitely NOT cool’)
Fast forward a few years.
Enter the world of Social Media.
I’m an adult now. Heck, I’m even a grandpa.
But the old battle is back.
Instead of the ‘cool’ crowd, we now have “Influencers”, “Unfluencers”, “VIPs” and yes, even “Ambassadors”.
I’m not here to denigrate any of the above recognitions, but for me, they are stirring up the same old issues I faced when I was a pimply-faced, pudgy kid.
You are either in, or you are not.
I know that’s not true.
But it feels like it.
And if I let my feelings inform my decisions, I would likely drop out of contributing to Social Media.
It’s a good thing they don’t.
Along the way, I’ve learned a few things about myself.
One of them is that I am a raging introvert.
I don’t have a lot of friends and social relationships, but those I do are deep.
By nature, I don’t walk in a room and become best friends with everyone before I leave. (I have friends who are marvelously skilled at this).
Why would I think that I would need to do the same on Social Media?
beBee is branding itself as an ‘Affinity’ network.
That’s one of the things that wooed me over here.
I’ve developed some deep friendships already, even though we likely disagree on more than a few points (a good example is the recent series of posts on personal faith)
I can find people from all over the world with whom I can engage.
But it won’t be everybody.
Something has to change.
(Here comes the opinion part.)
We (as a species) love community (or at least we love our concept of community).
When beBee started, it attracted large numbers of writers, bloggers, artists, business people to an exciting new platform that offered (and delivered) engagement.
But most of us showed up with baggage.
We humans are like that.
We fall back to the familiar.
We love the concept of ‘new’, but it doesn’t take too long before the ‘new’ thing looks and acts like the ‘old’ thing we just left.
That’s much easier than building something completely different.
If you are a history geek, you will see that much innovation comes from the minds of the misfits, the non-conformists, and the outsider – not the ‘in’ crowd.
So… I’m issuing a challenge to those misfits, non-conformists, and outliers that I hereby dub the Bee-Squares.
We have an opportunity (and a fast closing window) for the Bee-Squares to be creative and find a way to make beBee become the ‘Affinity’ network and not end up looking like a LinkedIn or Facebook wanna-bee.
It’s about differentiating this platform (which Javier and Juan should appreciate because differentiation increases value).
It’s about showing that Affinity can work and not fall back to the familiar Social Media method of gathering as many friends and contacts as possible.
I can’t be friends with all of you. Actually, I won’t be friends with all of you.
I will fervently engage with those in the hives that reflect my interests, and hide those hives and users with I have little or no affinity.
In doing so, beBee has become a very personal platform for me…
… and a great use of the time I devote to Social Media.
I will never belong to any group of ‘Influencers’ based on my coolness, but I will not let my value be determined by the number of people who like me.
My value is based on my contributions to the personal and professional relationship I develop on whatever platform I am using.
Let’s not screw it up on beBee.
It is ‘hip’ to Bee-Square.
Image: Kevin the Minion - used via Creative Commons License
About the Author:
I’m the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology.
I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.
In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee (www.bebee.com/@kevin-pashuk) , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at TurningTechInvisible.com.
I also shoot things... with my camera. Check out my photostream atwww.flickr.com/photos/kwpashuk