Not the Ambassador, not the Ambassador
Having read all the blog posts about the Ambassadors and what they are and what they’re not, I think I’m clear. Clarity is no substitute for opinion, so here goes mine.
I think the idea of the ambassador program is great. Mainly, as I see things, it’s working. It incentivizes a few to continue doing what they were doing in the first place. They were doing it well and have been rewarded by the founders of beBee. My best guess, they will continue what they were doing, throwing in a little extra creditability for good measure. Since I don’t spend a lot of time analyzing the site, what I see that has changed since the beginning, is that there are more blog posts about what Ambassadorship means.
Since I no longer have to be incentivized to join beBee, I only read these posts for the comments. The comments are entertaining and sometimes informative, especially with regards of the fear of a repeat of the LinkedIn processes that drove a lot of us to become Bees in the first place. I don’t really see it happening here. Maybe in the beginning, there were a few alarms, but like all new stuff, it levels out. The good news, our ambassadors are not celebrity bloggers or captains of industry. They are blogging, marketing, just like us, worker bees.
When I joined the ranks of beBee there were 40K US bees, now there are 126K. Something is working. I don’t know if it is due to ambassadors but I see their stuff out in the non-beBee world of social media. Marketing is sometimes hard to quantify but, in my view it seems to be working. The concerns of a growing elite are valid concerns but I haven’t seen it come to fruition. I suppose had beBee remained at 40K US users then it might have. The very success that the ambassador program is designed to provide (growth), reduces my concern with cliques becoming a thing.
That said, it is human nature to be drawn to quality. I suspect there will emerge certain authors of interesting stuff who will draw more of an audience than authors of less interesting stuff. Those with the most draw may be inspired to write more interesting stuff and assume the appearance of an elite. There is nothing to be done about it. Some of us may even tailor our affinity to show preference to certain contributors and some of those may be ambassadors. Well, there was a reason they were selected in the first place.
All of us have built in biases. This too is an attribute of how beBee is designed. We are encouraged to create our own experiences and people have a tendency to lean towards those whose ideas are both of interest and whose writing they enjoy reading. I sometimes read stuff of little topic interest, simply because of who the author is, as I like their style of writing. I am also not opposed to groups of people gathering in a hive and making it exclusive. I am free to make an “anti-hive” and make it inclusive of everyone except them. I probably won’t.
Eventually, someday, beBee may become this giant monolithic worldwide phenomenon where those who were picked to be ambassadors don’t even show up on my main page. That probably means they got paid. Good for them. Javier and Juan will have retired to someplace tropical and the new guys might dust off a file holding the original names of the ambassadors and wistfully think of the olden days when beBee was on its way up. All the explanations and comments will have passed into the cosmic graveyard of digital content.
For now, there are growing pains, stuff people would like to see, stuff people would like to forget and stuff everyone reads and stuff nobody reads. My stuff shows up to my followers and they can read it or not. I’m content to watch it unfold. I enjoy seeing the beBee logo show up on my Facebook or Twitter feeds. Every time I see it someplace new, I know someone is doing their job. There are some of us who would love to be an ambassador, an event that isn’t going to happen for one reason or another. I’m glad the program exists though.
Phillip J Hubbell is a writer, project manager and job seeker living in the American Midwest.