Twitter churns out prophets faster than a cash register. So everyday I see a parade of people who have “never done” offering advice to those who “should be doing”.

I don’t pay much attention to these guys and gals as their material rarely means anything to me but last night I saw a tweet from Danny Schawbel and I just had to get involved. Here is it:

@DanSchawbel: You have to be as committed to your social media profile as you are to your husband or wife.

For those of you who don’t don’t know Danny, he’s “the leading personal branding expert for Gen-Y”.

That should tell you two things. He’s into advertising and he’s young.

Now branding is the art of authenticity, right? It’s all about presenting the most memorable, most hireable you. No fluff allowed. So anything Dan says is sincere.

But, face it, friends, he’s still a young guy. I asked him. “Dan, are you married?” and he said “Single”, of course. And how could it be otherwise? No sane man who was married more than a few days would say that personal branding required the same commitment as a marriage. In fact, no sane man would say that who has a regular girlfriend.

So I challenged him:

@Jerry_Albright: Sorry Dan – that is absurd. U must be running out of stuff 2 say. SM commitment requires the same as marriage?

He didn’t back off.

@DanSchawbel: the magic word is commitment πŸ™‚

But he should have.

@Jerry_Albright: Social Media needs (and deserves) nowhere close to the commitment required for marriage Bro – #srsly

Friends, I’m sure Dan’s a great guy. I’m sure many should listen to a lot of what he says. But not everything. I follow the doers not the talkers. The people who walk the walk. Remember the old saying? The pundits preach but the caravan moves on. And so should you.


37 thoughts on “Social Media, Marriage and @DanSchawbel

  1. This is the type of thing that gives Gen Y antagonists a field day (and we aren’t anti-Gen Y either). A 20 something, self-proclaimed “expert,” making bold, universal statements on things in which they are utterly lacking in sophistication and actual first-hand experience. It ends up looking naive instead of visionary.

    It would have been much more credible, and respected, if he posed the question and perhaps started a dialogue on the topic – “Is your social brand equivalent to marriage?” Then gathered information and research before drawing conclusions and advising others. Not everything is suitable for 140 character sound bites.

    That shows maturity (attainable at any age), dedication (commitment?) to your brand promise of providing expertise to those who follow you, and count on your experience, authority, or good old-fashioned research when offering advice (profound or not).

    Fortunately, most Gen-Ys I know will not go forward into marriage thinking their social media activities have adequately prepared them for one of their most important life events.

  2. August is recommending the dull, non-committal route and I’m sure it has its place – in a science lab.

    But isn’t science and I like the way that young Dan has come forward and called a spade a spade.

    It takes time to build and nurture a personal brand and if you’re married you don’t have that time.

    While you’re attending to your wife and kids, he’s leaving his scent all over the internet.

    Even if you’re his equal you can’t beat him because you’re married and he’s not.

  3. I hear you Animal, but don’t agree. You can have commitment, and should, to both your marriage, and your personal brand, and I don’t think they are mutually exclusive.

    But the level of “commitment” to your social media brand is not as important or vital as the one to your marriage. And there are integral differences to each type of relationship.

    I don’t get what you are referencing about a science lab, I don’t propose that. Experiencing life, engaging in interesting conversations for “research,” arguing with intriguing friends (hint, hint), exploring new things/perspectives. Are fun, active, and engage all the senses.

    You can have a strong social media presence, a solid brand, and great marriage/relationship, and in many ways they are complimentary and support the other. Hyper-focusing on one just makes you obsessive and one dimensional – not an expert.

  4. Dear August,

    The one dimensional guys win. The people with an extreme focus win. Because they put more time in.

    Danny doesn’t say that you have to give up your relationships to have a strong brand but he says that the brand requires the same kind of commitment.

    And who’s in a better position to provide that commitment?

    The person with a ton of relationships to maintain or the single guy who spends his life writing blog posts and twitter messages and comments?

  5. Arright Jerry!
    Isn’t it interesting how everyone gets dumber as they get older. When you’re young you know everything. When you get older you realize just how much you don’t know.

    Your comments excluded August. You were right to suggest @DanSchawbel should have posed a question and started a dialogue rather than advising others on something he knows nothing about.

    I also suspect that @animal has a tongue firmly planted in his cheek.

  6. Re Science Lab.

    If you make a statement in the scientific community you can’t rush to announce it. You need to provide endless proof. You proceed cautiously.

    August, you were advising young Dan not to make a bold, direct, clear statement but to take a cautious investigative approach. Yawn. That’s soporific. Not what we want.

  7. An unmarried guy suggesting that he understands how much commitment is involved in a marriage is a lot like a non-parent giving advice on parenting.

    Does brand building take commitment? Of course. But its a commitment on a completely different scope and scale than a marriage.

    I agree with Jerry, the analogy is off. A better one would have been a garden, where it will take months of care before anything you planted starts to bear fruit.

  8. No, no Animal. Not at all. I say “make a bold, direct, clear statement,” but do a minimal amount of exploration, analysis, or at least have some experience regarding it. Then the statement is respected, has meat, impact, validity, and stickiness. If not, it is just a novel, incitable comment that becomes a footnote at the end of the year.

  9. Hey Jerry,
    Dan shares a lot of good information and he his always willing to help. I have not been married so I can’t talk much to this at all, but I wouldn’t say that either. I tend to challenge Dan’s tweets though as well ever since he said this quote that I morally disagreed with…

    “If one person is connected to 10,000 people and another only 50, who are you going to hire? Although that person may not be friends with the 10,000 people, nobody knows that. Perception is more important than reality online.”

    That is the moral fact that I disagree with. I believe anyone could know that you weren’t friends with 10,000 people and it is almost like a status symbol like going for the job title. Just think that the comment goes against “true” branding.

  10. Hey Shane,
    I have to disagree with you. That wasn’t a morally wrong tweet by @DanSchawbel. He was spot on…..Everyone knows that you are a better person and employee if you have 10,000 than just 50. Crissakes!

    1. Fran,

      I agree you can find value in a number of followers but my point was that I don’t believe perception is greater than reality. When we meet more and more folks online we need to be as real as you would be in person. That was my point. Thanks for the response.

  11. Good one Fran!

    I’m glad you guys/gals jumped into the topic here with me. The longer I am “out here” the more I see absolutely ridiculous statements going unchallenged. People just saying whatever comes to mind – as if we’re all to sit here all day saying “Yep. Right on!” to every stupid statement, “professional” rule of thumb and motivational quote flowing by.

    I for one am sick of it.

  12. I’m just not a fan of this kind of narcissism – and that’s what it is.

    And btw – if anyone IS giving equal commitment to their marriage and their social media profile, that might be why their spouse moved out a few weeks ago πŸ˜‰

  13. BTW I wrote in a blog recently that I thought we’d start seeing people in social media begin to tell it like it is this year (I know you always have done, Jerry!)- love this blogpost!

  14. Thanks for the contribution Mervyn. I’d like to see people “in” SM tell it like it is too.

    – – For the record – –

    I am not “in” Social Media. I’m in recruiting. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Jerry for caring? Come on, Dan, he’s misleading people.

      After reading you some ambitious young people might have been smart enough to forgo marriage in order to be able to promote their brands.

      But now, after reading Jerry, many will think that promoting a personal brand is a snap. And they’ll go and get married and be disappointed.

      So let me ask you this: how can you thank a guy who is responsible for a lot of lousy marriages?

  15. I’m Gen Y and recently married… I believe in the value of both online relationships and real life, in- person relationships. I have found that the real life, in-person relationships reap many more benefits than strictly online relationships. Thus the reason I spend more time face to face and not online with not only with my husband but the people I want to influence the most. Personal branding is not just your social media profile, but also your real life character, value and end results you can bring to others.

  16. Hi Dan. Thanks for dropping by. I would love to hear a few more of your thoughts outside the confines of Twitter.

    Can you tell us just a bit more – perhaps add a little clarity to your thoughts on this? You can even retract the original statement if you’d like? I do understand how trying to condense a big thought into 140 characters can some times (frequently?) effect a different meaning than originally intended.


  17. Jerry, the quote wasn’t really about the wife/husband piece. The idea was to tell people that they have to be committed to their personal brand. If you only blog once every 2 months that will hurt your brand. If you tweet once a christmas, it will hurt. The second you decide to play in the online world, you have to commit to it. I exaggerated it by using the relationship analogy, but it seems like it was taken too seriously here.

  18. I think that it’s interesting that you all are jumping on Dan’s comment because he isn’t married – and thus cannot understand the commitment it takes.

    But what Dan really does understand is that if you care about something enough, that it’s worth working really hard for it.

    I’m not married either, so feel free to slam me for not understanding. But I did recently end a 4 year relationship where, had my ex worked 1/4 as hard at making our relationship work as Dan does with his brand, I’d probably have married him.

    But he didn’t, and many other people don’t work hard on making their marriage or even relationships a success either. Otherwise the divorce rate wouldn’t so high.

    You can slam Dan all you want for not knowing how much work marriage really is, but you should also consider that you don’t know how hard he work at achieving his dreams.

    And you know nothing about his personal life – so I think it’s silly to criticize him for being single at the time of that Tweet. It isn’t that unusual for a motivated young person to be single in their twenties. I’m single too at the moment – but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how much work it takes to maintain a good relationship.

  19. Katie,

    1. Sorry to hear about your unfortunate romance but you can’t fault Jerry The Recruiter for his take on Danny’s personal life.

    He clearly asked Dan for its status and got a direct reply.

    2. You are wrong again when you attack Jerry The Recruiter for not knowing how hard Danny has worked at achieving his dreams.

    In fact, Danny told everyone that the creation of a strong profile requires the same amount of commitment as a marriage.

    3. Your contribution here has been to show clearly that a relationship requires a lot of work. Jerry The Recruiter is agreeance with you on this point.

    He doesn’t think that you should make an equal commitment to your brand. I’m sure, having heard the story of your negligent Romeo, that you agree that Family First, Brand Second is the best policy.

    And, in fact, Danny might agree with this as well. He has warned that branding is not a child’s game you can play every now and then. It requires a serious and consistent level of devotion. And this might be best suited to the single woman or man.

  20. Dear Katie,

    Thank you for joining us. I’m guessing that being part of the Gen -Y multi-tasking crowd – there are times when it’s easy to assume you get the theme of a blog – but miss. This is the case here. Please allow me to clarify.

    I am in no way “jumping” on Dan’s comment because he is not married. I took issue with it because it is flat-out wrong.

    My criticism is not that he is single. (I certainly enjoyed my bachelorhood.) It’s that someone who is apparantly leading the crowd can make such an absurd statement and not be challenged……so I took issue with it.

    He sure seems like a nice kid – but way (WAY) off the mark – and people like me are simply pointing it out. No personal “slamming” at all here.

    1. Hi Greg. Thanks for the interest in this particular story. I stopped by your blog and was interested to see your perspective. for those that might want to take a look.

      I can’t quite put my finger on which direction you’ve gone with this – so I’ll make an assumption.

      Dan’s “advice” was not misunderstood by me. Recognizing something to be absolutely false does not mean I did not understand. In fact – not only did I “understand” what The Boy Brander said – I was quite enlightened. Some kid with a megaphone was shouting what he thinks to be “advice” to a crowd – that crowd in this instance just happened to have me in it.

      While there is/was no bridge in particular here – and nothing has been burned – it is a pretty good example of how things are starting to (hopefully) change a bit. The more people you have within earshot – the greater the chances are for someone who has some actual EXPERIENCE with the topic at hand has of hearing it.

      So while Dan certainly deserves a fist bump or two (that is what you kids do now – isn’t it?) hopefully a few sheep in the flock will start to think ‘Hey – wait a minute – that is just plain wrong” as they try to digest the stuff he keeps pumping out.

      1. Hey Jerry!
        Sorry I didn’t catch your reply before. But firstly thanks for stopping by my blog.
        Secondly, I didn’t quite understand the situation before I wrote that post, so I was wrong in that regard.
        I think it’s interesting how sometimes we take advice in such different ways many times. What one person says can be entirely different than what is understood. Even as Dan points out in his replies here also.
        In all my blog followings sometimes, I’ve just taken into account to read with a grain of salt. Not taking advice and suggestions for their literal terms but rather adapting them to the way you believe fit for yourself.
        Though, in this case, I feel like I agree with you and Dan.
        Especially when you say “hopefully a few sheep in the flock will start to think β€˜Hey – wait a minute – that is just plain wrong'”.
        If you’d like to talk more, just DM me on twitter, and I will send you my email. (@gregdelima)

  21. Yes, you have to be committed in order to maintain an online profile/personal brand. Yes, it requires dedication and is an extremely time-consuming endeavor. And yes, it can have positive results, as well as negative if you are not careful or flippantly make uninformed or unwise remarks in 140 characters or less.

    Being able to merge your personal and professional life is not easy nor is it recommended for everyone. I have seen more individuals lose potentially valuable relationships before they even got started because they have failed to remember that everything they write or post is usually accessible by everyone/anyone.

    A personal friend just lost the opportunity to write an exclusive article for a breakthrough product because of a careless status update on facebook and she doesn’t even know it.

    It is sad that more thought isn’t put into what is sent out web. This isn’t a book that only a few readers peruse. Words have impact. Maybe this wisdom comes after years of dealing in a professional manner, maybe for some folks, it never comes. All I know is that it never gets easy nor should it be taken for granted that your words will be loved and accepted by all.

    This is how we learn, how we grow. You can’t always be right or even close to right. It’s not the quadratic equation, nor should you expect to be sharing “the” definitive answer.

    If you are putting as much into your social media profile as you would put into a marriage/relationship, you better expect the same issues that arise in a relationship, you’re not always right, you have to give in every once in a while, and sometimes you need a time out to get your head straight and address what you really want out of this particular commitment.

    Thanks Jerry, as always… Drawing attention to inconsistencies is not only a quest but a talent.

  22. Another young’n out to get you, Jerry.

    “The marketing and personal branding muses of a college student.” Did he mean “musings”? Or is he keeping some branding muses in a closet somewhere…

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