There is a movement afoot that is actually somewhat concerning for me. There seems to be a transition toward celebrating celebrity amongst creative imaging types as opposed to actual knowledge. We are subjected to keynotes and endless product endorsements from a select group of practitioners while completely ignoring the true experts in the field with far longer histories of providing high quality information and service.
I refer to this phenomenon as The Cult of Personality.
I first became aware of this phrase in the 1980’s when progressive rock band Living Colour was getting extensive airplay with the song of the same name.
Of course the phrase is much older than that but I was a bratty little wannabe punk rocker in the 80’s where intellectual pursuits were frowned upon in favour of being popular so I tried to “play dumb”. Hmmmm…
The Wikipedia article on Cult of personality is somewhat telling:
“A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and, at times god-like public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise.”
As someone who has dedicated 15 years to becoming as close to a master in my field as I can manage, this is disturbing to me. I live, sleep, eat and breathe video production. When I go to the National Association of Broadcasters convention, I return with 40 lbs in catalogs, product cut sheets and documentation. I read this stuff at breakfast, on breaks, while alone in the smallest room in the house, after dinner, in bed waiting to fall asleep… I contribute regularly to online forums and peruse them even more than I write.
I’m kind of a big deal in certain circles.
Now, the problem for me is I’m good at what I do.
I’m really good at what I do.
If I’m not good at it, I stop doing it.
When clients ask “Can you do <insert video related service here>?” I almost exclusively answer with a caveat – “Okay… what is it EXACTLY you are looking to do? How do you see this working?”.
Because it is crucially important to me that I understand exactly what they are looking for and not to make the sale just because.
The interesting thing to me right now is with the advent of Google as the predominant way of getting your business noticed, I see a lot of practitioners spending more time on their SEO and Google Optimization than on their craft.
Frankly, the search results I get when I look for specific search words in my geographic area baffles me.
There are a lot of folks that aren’t very good at video who are great at SEO.
So I leave you with a conundrum:
When you are hiring a technical and creative professional, are you satisfied that you get results on a search engine that have been optimized by trickery and “first to the gate” biases or would you prefer to have your results filtered by expertise, proven track record and satisfied clients?
Does the rumour that advertising with the search engine in question may improve a business’ ranking in search engine results temper your opinion of the validity of the search?
Is an Internet Search Engine the optimal way to find a service provider or is this methodology fatally flawed?
Contrary to popular opinion, I didn’t start this Blog to increase my Google hits – I started it as a repository for my thoughts that would be easily searchable for folks whom I have made contact with (my network, if you will) through true networking – personal interaction, either “in the flesh” or virtually on a web forum or other online outlet.
I don’t use trickery to get higher search engine ratings.
I Blog about things I care about and tag appropriately for search optimization, not search ENGINE optimization.
I drive most of the traffic to this Blog myself through interaction. This has been borne out in my analytics.
I spend some time learning about how to make my posts and information found online and engage in some best practices such as using Google Webmaster Tools but that is just part of doing the business of being in business, much the same as doing my books and paying the heat and light bills.
I spend most of my time getting better and more knowledgeable about the stuff that gets my clients better results.
Food for thought.
Thanks for reading!