Outside of the Herd

If you want to be heard outside of the herd, you must become comfortable with unique views and distinctive approaches. If you can’t provide them, you’re just one of the crowd. And the crowd isn’t impressive.

On Facebook, you find a combination of dopey (often contradictory) platitudes posted by people who want to look profound by quoting something that’s not very profound. Then there are the people with “agendas” that work their way into every conversation (“Dancing with the Stars” would be better if it weren’t for the Republicans”). There are those who obsessively need to be “liked” even by complete strangers, and consistently revolving glam shots that cry out for therapy.

On Linkedin we have the perfervid job seekers and those who think endorsements from strangers will carry weight with other strangers. We have a peculiar tribe of people whose common denominator seems to be that they need to be accepted—by anyone, in any manner. Endorse me!

Twitter, which at least offers the challenge of the mental discipline of trying to post something of value in a very limited space (if you’re not one of those posting that you’re about to take a shower), has “tweet critics.” These are the people who start a tweet with “but” or “unless” or “except” to try to prove someone else imperfect in an observation. These are the equivalent of the anal-retentives who spend hours searching for typos to play “gotcha,” and believe they’ve had a productive day.

This isn’t generational, it’s common sense. If you want to stand out, move out. Out of the crowd, out of the herd mentality, out of the tribal comfort zone.

Publish the provocative. Speak of the unprecedented. Act as a leader, not a follower.

It’s easy to step away from the herd once you realize you don’t need its protection, and understand that it’s quite likely to run over a cliff or into a predator.

© Alan Weiss 2013


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