Rock Star, Ninja, or Guru: Which One Are You?

Remember back in the halcyon days of new media when just about everyone wanted to be a "rock star", "ninja", or "guru"? Back then (and, really, we’re talking about a couple of years ago at most), folks would shank each other with a sharpened Pinterest post to be known as the Rock Star of their niche, the New Media Ninja, or the wise and sought-out Guru. I know this because I was right there with them. The titles were cool!

Now, I’m not suggesting you put any of these titles on your business card (though it might not be a bad idea to slip something like that into your Twitter bio). Years of overuse have turned them into punchlines to the worst possible jokes in the social media world. That doesn’t mean they’re not useful, though. We can use the attributes we associate with each to help us improve our social media game. (tweetable)

First, let’s see which one fits you best.

1) The Rock Star: Is there a camera around? You’ll be in front of it, dropping hashtags like a DJ drops mad beats. Someone needs a keynote speaker? You’ll part the curtain and bring the house to its feet. The best part of social media for you is building your personal brand to such a height that you can pull others up with you. Your best move is the selfie, preferably with something on or near you from your favorite brand. You check Klout at least once a day to see how far you’ve moved the needle. But your danger here is too much exposure. Be careful not to put yourself out there so much or with so much vigor that you come across as fake and overexposed. We love our celebrities, but self-made social media celebrities can crash hard and disappear quickly. (tweetable) Make sure your career as a Rock Star is more Rolling Stones and less Miley Cyrus.

2) The Ninja: Quiet and from the shadows is your preferred approach. You come to a social media problem with a detailed plan already in your mind, because you’ve been preparing your moves for days, if not weeks. You’re happy if only the folks who hire social media experts know who you are. You dispatch problems with ruthless efficiency; your clients barely have time to see the problem before you cut it down. You are aware of your status as an elite social media warrior but prefer to let your work speak for you. And it does. Loudly. Be careful, though, to not make yourself so invisible that people believe the problems you solve have solved themselves. (tweetable) You can obscure your good work so much that people who need you don’t know how good you really are. Spend a little time in the spotlight — just enough for those who need you to see who you are and what you can do for them.

3) The Guru: You have learned much about social media and you are not at all hesitant to share your knowledge. You are the Jedi Master with a hundred Padawans, the Master Po with a swarm of grasshoppers. When folks have questions, they find you and, more often than not, you’ll have a good answer at hand. You take great pride in sharing what you know because you believe more is better in the social media world. Smarter social media users makes the social media world better and that’s what you’re really after. You’re one of those silly folks who believes anyone can use social media well with a little bit of training. Your danger here is giving too much away for free and being taken for granted. You shouldn’t let yourself become the old man on top of the mountain. Be sure to use some of what you know to earn yourself a paycheck. You worked hard for your knowledge; don’t give all of it away. (tweetable)

Did you see yourself in any of those descriptions? Maybe you fit into more than one, depending on your mood or the job you want to do. Maybe you have aspects of all three. I won’t tell you which one is best because, quite honestly, I don’t know. Each approach has its good and bad points, as you can see, and any of them can work in any situation.

What’s most important is how you use the best aspects of the title that suits you. So which one do you fancy? Would you like to blend a couple? Tell us!

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