Tell them what you really think – it’s all about the opinions

I’ve been doing a bit more pruning recently of those people who I am following on Twitter. I’ m always in the process of promoting my personal brand and part of that is finding people who sound interesting and following them for a bit to see if you can find some common ground to start a conversation. During this “honeymoon” period, the thing that I’m finding turns me off the most is the distinct lack of OPINIONS.

It’s an estimate and not really based on much but I’d say a good 90% of people that I follow for a bit appear to be completely bereft of an opinion of their own. All they ever do is retweet Mashable links or Chris Brogan‘s latest musings. Never do they stray into the territory of actually saying what they THINK about anything.

I think I know why this is. It’s because they are afraid of alienating themselves. They don’t want to form an opinion of their own because they’re afraid that the popular consensus won’t back them up and then where would they be?

I worry about this attitude.

I worry that there are so many people out there who would rather homogenise themselves than actually try to find some meaning in amongst all the noise that permeates the social media universe. I worry on their behalf, I honestly think their life would be enhanced if they got that little electric buzz that comes from actually disagreeing with someone. It would make them more interesting and, as a result, they wouldn’t get binned the next time I do a spring clean.

For me, it’s all about opinions.

You can’t call yourself a guru or a ninja or whatever the latest badge is when all you’ve done is ingest the wisdom of others. You have to use that knowledge to try to make sense of the world as you see it. That’s all an opinion is.

The birth of the iPad has thrown up a good example. While most people have got on the Apple-is-Good train, the real influencers are actually divided on it’s worth. Jeff Jarvis believes it’s a step backwards to the bad old days of closed systems being controlled by “the man”. While over at Scobleizer, Robert Scoble is quite happy with it as he doesn’t see it as a replacement for what he’s already got. See, that’s two people who are almost certainly on your following list who don’t share the same opinion. Isn’t that interesting? I think so. Take the hint.

I have opinions about pretty much everything and I love to get them out there. My latest opinions, for anyone who cares are:

Promoted Tweets – I am well used to ignoring the sponsored links in Google and am quite happy to do this is Twitter providing they don’t pollute my stream with any more than one at a time. I have no grudge against Twitter for monetising their business and I hope it works out for them I do however have my doubts as to how much money they will make from click throughs given that the intent to actually do something is not nearly as strong in a Twitter search as it is in a Google one. Having said that though, from an advertiser’s point of view there’s nothing wrong with promoting yourself simply for the visibility factor alone.

#stuartmaclennan – I think he was exceptionally foolish for a very long time as he laboured under the impression that being sexist, homophobic, slanderous and generally unpleasant was a reasonable way to present himself to a voting public. I fly in the face of the general consensus on Twitter that he shouldn’t have been sacked and his right to free speech should have been upheld because I know that the Twitter vote won’t amount to much on election day.

Marmite – hate it!

If you’re serious about your own personal brand, I guarantee you that you will attract more attention and, dare I say it, have a bit more fun, if you begin to think about things more and let others know where you’ve decided to stand. You won’t necessarily become the next Brian Solis but you might just stay on my list.

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