It Is Time To Say Goodbye To The Twitter Guy
My first job in journalism was as a social media editor at CNET.com. I was tasked with running the Twitter account. In the beginning, that is literally all I was allowed to do. I had to send 65 tweets a day to CNET stories. I was the Twitter Guy. My boss ran the Facebook account, but he wasn’t the Facebook Guy because he also did a lot of other things. He was a guy who had many responsibilities, one of which was Facebook, and none of which on their own defined his entire professional existence.
But I was the Twitter Guy.
CNET was part of CBS Interactive at the time and there was a guy at CBSNews who was a star. He made it rain. He was a social media genius who brought in all of this traffic to CBSNews. They sent him around all the other properties to basically give his spiel. His secret? StumbleUpon.
Do you remember StumbleUpon? It was a social network where you would read something you liked and then think, “Other people would enjoy this,” so you would Stumble it, and people who followed you would see it in their feed, and if enough people did that, then StumbleUpon might decide to recommend it to even larger audiences.
There was no writing copy. No conversations. It was a button on your browser.
Gaming StumbleUpon was this guy’s one skill. He had no thoughts about anything else. He had also never bothered to try to take his StumbleUpon insights and apply them beyond StumbleUpon.1
He knew how to game this one lottery, and that was it.
Then StumbleUpon collapsed, this guy was promptly fired, and is probably now stealing catalytic converters somewhere.
You never want to be the StumbleUpon Guy.
Master a platform, yes, but then use what you have learned to enhance your understanding of the world beyond that platform.
Eventually, I stopped being the Twitter Guy and got to branch out and join my boss in the happy league of people who do many things. I got to apply all the stuff I had learned on Twitter, not just about social media, but about how humans read and interact, to other roles. I was able to apply those lessons to Facebook and to homepages and coverage decisions and all these other parts of the digital media process.
Never be the StumbleUpon Guy.
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