Thursday, July 9, 2009

I am so not the smartest person in the room. (And neither are you).

I realized today that one of the biggest benefits of "Web 2.0" is the breadth of incredible talent to which we are now exposed on a daily basis. It's truly humbling. Humbling to watch people like @ambercadabra and @tommartin and @mackcollier and @edwardboches and countless others crank out incredibly smart, sincere thinking day in and day out. Humbling to talk to people like @augieray and @thelarch and countless others who know more about the web than I will ever know if I spend the rest of my life focused on  it. Humbling to meet new friends like @tamadear and @katjaib who bring such energy, life, and passion to each post, each day. And on and on. #followfriday - all of the above amazing people. 

This might surprise some people who have previously worked with me at agencies, but, I am hereby publicly proclaiming that I am far from the smartest person in the room. I'm still very confident in my abilities, but I see how far I have to go now, and I always will. Like me, you may at times think you're pretty smart. And I'm sure you are. But always, ALWAYS remember that there is always more you can learn - no matter who you are, how your blog is ranked, how many followers you have, where you are speaking, etc. 

I also want to take a moment to sincerely thank all of you - not just the folks listed here but ALL of you who follow me, or take the time to read my so-far-incredibly-average blog that I am learning so much from, or have met with me - because you add so much value to my life. 

When I first started on Twitter, I saw a few - just a few - of the Social Media "Experts" copping such an attitude about themselves that it was a huge turnoff, and almost sent me running. If that is where you are, stick with it, it is well worth it. That said, I still get tired of the 'tude sometimes, and I'm quite sure there are moments (hopefully not too many?) when I am guilty of the "holier than thou" syndrome myself. I've seen some Tweets that are so insanely self-centered and boastful that I wish to God I could post them without blowing up bridges. Hilarious stuff! "Did you see what so-and-so said about me?" Come on, seriously?!

What do you think about this? Do you see the arrogance that I see sometimes? Or has your experience been different? Who ARE the smartest people in the room that I should be following? 


  1. Great post Sue! Sharing and connecting with smart people is one of the greatest beneifts of twitter and I'm surprised how many people don't get it. I already follow most of the people you listed and have just addded the others. As for that arrogance, it's definately out there and to be honest, I unfollow those people. Let's keep it open, sharing, learning and growing together.

    Diane Charno (@charno)

  2. Sue, I'm flattered to be mentioned here and included in such good company. Most of all, what I love is your sense of being "right-sized" and your appreciation for how everyone contributes in their own way. That's the real gift of Twitter and social media. If we dare to be real -- and share whatever it is that lights us up -- we will find community that inspires, enlightens and encourages us to grow.The arrogant ones? Well, they're the ones strutting through the restaurant all puffed up and full of self, unaware that toilet paper is trailing from their shoe. You, my dear, are very smart indeed!

    Kat (@katjaib)

  3. Sue I learned long ago that the room is ALWAYS smarter than I am. So the more I interact with everyone IN the room, the smarter I become. Win-win, right?

    Thanks for the mention, and have a great weekend ;)

  4. I agree, Diane. And well said, Kat. It has been a "right-sizing" experience for me. I really dig that. My world is bigger now, so my ego is smaller in relative terms :D

  5. Sue

    Agree with Mack. You never want to be the smartest person in the room because, well that's a bit boring. A day without learning is a day lost. Well except if you're at the beach having a cocktail... then learning can take a backseat.

    Thanks for including me... you were and always are the best.

  6. My goodness, I'm totally floored by your post. Talk about humbling--we should all aspire to your generosity.

    I share your delight with what this world of social media has brought. For me, I can't even remember the last time I was so excited--every day--to be doing what I do (though I'm still not exactly clear on what that is...!), to have a place, no matter the platform, to ask questions, to interact, to be inspired. To be exhilarated by the level of thought and all the people feeding into these networks. To be challenged, moment-by-moment.

    Part of the fun, I think, is finding the kindred spirits among that torrential flow of ideas and the vastness of the networks. It doesn't take too long to figure out which folks move you forward and which don't. I'd venture to guess that's a little different for each one of us.

    The best part of all, I think, is the fact that *none* of us is the smartest in the room--because each of us is made smarter by everyone else.

    What a gift! Thank you so much for reminding us.

  7. Sue:
    I'm flattered to have made your list. For me, the SM space, Twitter, etc. is stimulating enough to make me want to participate and share. Simply engaging and responding sharpens your thinking, helps develop and focus your ideas and most importantly lets you discover perspectives and arguments worth reacting to.

  8. Marjie Snyder (@triveragirl)July 11, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    Sue - Wow...just WOW! So good for so many reasons!