About a month ago, I had a conversation with Tim Sackett that went something like this.

Laurie: You know Vala Afshar?
Timmy: No, I mean, I guess.
Laurie: I don’t think he is real. And I want to figure his posting strategy out.
Timmy: I don’t see where you are going with this, Laur. Explain.

So here is my explanation.

Vala Afshar is a guy on Twitter, but more importantly, he could be any guy on Twitter who wants to be recognized as a leadership and management guru. He shares articles that he doesn’t write, and he tweets about leadership and technology.

It feels like he uses an algorithm to write his wteets. They are almost perfect.

Is he real? Yes. What does he do for money? It doesn’t matter.

This guy could be a computer. He could be a woman. People love his stuff.

So I did what Vala does, to some extent. I went on vacation, but I’ve been posting daily tweets that lack substance.

No creativity. No engagement. No authenticity. My clicks, retweets and @mentions are all up. Way up. Off the charts.

All it takes is a keen eye for the obvious and a twitter account.

Can you imagine if I did this, like Vala, multiple times a day? I would be #1 on all of those management guru lists. But I would also be an asshole. Nobody wants that.

So after playing with my “management guru” tweeting strategy, I am killing it today. And I’ve been thinking of some of my smart friends who have thoughtful social media strategies.

* My friend Sarah White no longer takes photos at conferences and guards her privacy. Her personal brand now reflects important things in her life: work and family. She says that Twitter is a platform where lonely people talk to themselves. I resemble that remark.

* Jennifer McClure talks about personal branding, authenticity and social media in our little community quite a bit. She has great things to say about developing a personal brand and leveraging key sites — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook pages, Slideshare — to build your online reputation. I am with her, too. You should use these tools to your advantage when they serve your purposes.

I think most of us occupy the grounded middle. There is probably a place where we can be on Twitter and offer smart things to say about our areas of experise. I haven’t found that place. I’m still sorta looking.

But if you want to make a deal with the devil and hang with other management gurus, the simple technique is to schedule meaningless tweets throughout the day. That’s it. Write things that are opaque and emotional. Be a vainglorious bastard. Gain a bunch of followers for no apparent reason. Buy your own hype.

It works.

But I think we can all do better than that.

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  1. This is the state of blogging, twitter, twitter chat, etc. The short “pithy” gets elevated. The long, intelligent, thoughtful get’s shunted aside.

    In my queue for a future post is this:

    “The internet has killed complex opinions.”

    We are living through a trough of intelligence fueled by social “capital” vs intellectual capital.

    I hope we make it to see the top of the next wave.

  2. Exactly this. I’ve been calling people out on this type of BS for about six months now, and it is always interesting to see how fired up people get when I do. It’s all style, no substance, and their is never any evidence to back up what these bullshiters say (including this Vala character).

    Sadly, as long as people latch on to the latest buzzwords, rainbows and unicorns, frausters such as these will only continue to flourish.

  3. Social media has a huge effect on our culture and to see what is and isn’t affected and trending is.. Mind blowing. It doesn’t have to be great content or even good content. Sometimes bad content can make more noise than great content.
    In 2012 one of our team members wrote a blog on social media policies in the workplace vingapp.com/7-considerations-when-creating-a-social-media-policy/.
    Your tweets, FB posts, instagram pictures say a lot about your personality and I personally feel that it is better to be barely known for substantial tweets than extremely well known for mediocre ones.

  4. A little late to the game, but I see that guy on every Twitter stream with some proclamation and every other tweet states, “Resumes are dead, I only look at Twitter profiles to hire.” Oh the Top 100 HR pros he did a few years ago was just a list of people he met, but had to do the second 100 to gain an audience.

    I just think buzzwords and brevity gains an audience, but do they learn something? I actually think if you give them a sheet of notes, they’ll get it instantly. It doesn’t matter how great or loud your audience is, all it matters is does it make sense.

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