A few weeks ago I read an article by Denise Urena. It begged the question of whether we should be a fan to those we admire or see them as a peer. What should our community engagement be like?
This fascinated me. I loved the idea of seeing everyone as a peer, but realised I was often a fan. I then started to think about marketing, and how asking the question is important.
Just because you ask someone for a testimonial or review doesn’t make you a fan per se. After all, these are things you will ask friends. However, asking such things has fan like qualities. So I began asking:
How do you balance between Peer & Idol?
Where does your line lay?
When do you ask the question, if ever?
I quickly realised I had no idea, so went in search. I asked several people what they thought and thankfully heard back from: Denise Urena, Chris Brogan, Jim Hopkinson, Toni Tesori, Tania Dakka, Joel Friedlander, Chris Guillebeau, Joanna Penn, Laura Dennis, Danny Iny, Dan Blank & David Gaurgran.
The feedback was very interesting. I discovered this is a deep question with many layers. It also showed me three sides to the argument:
- The Fan
- The Peer
- The Neither
To save your eyes from exhaustion, I’ll split this mini series into Three Blog Posts. This is part one and will focus on The Neither…
We Are Neither Fan Nor Peer
Before we get into the nitty gritty, I found myself agreeing with every single reply – to some degree.
The first stop on this min tour is the idea that we are neither fan nor peer. We are merely people.
“I don’t really make a distinction in whether they are fans, peers, or anything else” – Chris Guillebeau
I think this says everything about this way of thought. Chris continues to say,
“I think the main difference is attitude and perspective. If you treat everyone as the valuable people that they are, the labels themselves are somewhat irrelevant.”
The question here changes to: Does it even matter? After all, we’re all people. Whether you have a thousand followers or seven, we all have ideas, questions, and things to learn. Our community engagement should represent this.
It’s The Way You Approach Community Engagement
One thing all the answers seemed to share was the mindset people take. It’s not just how you approach things, but how the other person does, too. We all see both parts of the track at some point in time.
“I don’t think you can manipulate this stuff over time and, in the end, it’s the reader, not the blogger, that determines whether they will relate to you as a “fan” or a “peer,” taking cues from you.” – Joel Friedlander
Whether we’re looking at this from the Blogger’s point of view or the reader’s, we must understand that it takes two to tango. I might approach Sir Richard Branson as a peer, but if he sees me as a fan, our relationship will always be skewed.
To an extent, the world will forever be unaligned, which strengthens the idea of this whole argument being mute. However, we must take a personal stance, and for me, Joel brings up a very important point:
“Do you respect other people, even if they don’t have the same achievements you do? Do you know how to learn from just about anyone? Do you see the different perspectives that can be brought to any question, even the ones that aren’t in agreement with your own perspective?”
Do you respect other people? Even if they are on a different level?
This is a superb question. When you write your Blog or Book, how do you see your reader? When you read a Blog or Book, how do you see the writer? What does your Community Engagement actually say about you?
Did you know I have a Facebook Page dedicated to my writing? I’m inviting fellow writers & readers to LIKE my page and join the fun. If you do so in July you’ll be entered into a Free Prize Draw where one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon Voucher & a 1-Hour Consultancy Chat with ME!
It’s not about the prize, though, it’s about engagement. I’ll be using my Facebook Page to document my writing, showcase samples and designs, and create competitions and polls to get your feedback. Doesn’t that sound fun?
All you have to do is Press Like.
As Always, There’s Another View
Just as you make some groundwork, someone comes along and throws it in the air. This is what Chris Brogan did:
“Maybe it’s that there are peers and then there are allies. Allies are people I consider those who I would actually be working with in some way.”
I feel this way of thinking allows you to treat everyone equal, but reserve some special time for only a few. Lets face it, we all do this in the general world. We stop in the street and speak to acquaintances, we meet friends for a drink, but we only lend money to a certain few.
Do we look at these people differently? Not really, it’s just we reserve time and resources for those close to us.
The final outlook comes from Danny Iny. To sum up his thoughts:
Danny takes the stance of treating people as peers, and acting as one himself. It all comes down to the way he treats people, and how they treat him in return. Therefore he sees his readers as peers, if they wish to step up to that mark, but if they take advantage, start acting with entitlement, or treat him with disrespect, he can quickly take this away.
He gives people the benefit of the doubt and allows them to be whatever they like. He is open to whatever comes his way, which if you ask me, is a healthy outlook to have.
Over To You
This is end of Part One. Parts Two & Three are coming soon, but before we that, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Where do you lay on the Peer v Fan Argument?
Is this Neither outlook the best way forward?
How do you approach your community engagement?
Leave a comment below…
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million