As much as I hate to admit it, I didn’t just come into the world as a fully-formed next-lev Strategenius. I had to learn my media wizardry from the best minds on the web. Here are 12 top-shelf social media masters who have been instrumental in teaching me everything I know.
12. Joel Mackey (OpenPressWire) — This guy calls himself the “WebAddict”, which is really nice personal branding. It suggests that he’s always online, in the Matrix, figuring out the next algorithms, SEO insights and link solutions that are going to drive user experiences to a new dimension. And just take a look at his site: so many links, so many modules, so much to click on. It almost looks like some kind of futuristic hologram that Tom Cruise should be flipping through in Minority Report. He’s young, but definitely an exciting talent to watch.
11. Dan Zarrella (The Social Media Scientist) — A cursory glance at this guy’s headshot immediately tells me that he’s somebody who knows what’s up, but checking his site confirms it. Because Dan Zarrella isn’t just another social media expert: he’s a scientist. He does complex physics equations and trigonometry to figure out scientific Internet insights, such as which celebrity Twitter accounts drive the most influence. Legend has it that he was originally a janitor at Google who used to do complex social media calculus on the whiteboards at night after everyone went home until Larry and Sergey discovered his genius then hired him to overhaul all of the social media, which is how Google Buzz was created. True story.
10. iJustine (iJustine) — “Hot blonde girls pretending to be tech geeks” is pretty much the most powerful personal brand known to man. The vast majority of the Internet is made up of socially-challenged nerdy dudes, so when they see a girl who looks like every cheerleader who ever ignored/humiliated them IRL, but that ex-cheerleader is now babbling about her iPhone and saying stuff like “Epic Win”, they just go crazy and can’t stop clicking on everything she does. iJustine has made a lot of money off her deep understanding of this insight. Really great strat.
9. Brian Solis (BrianSolis.com) — This bro’s website says it’s “defining the convergence of media and influence”, which sounds amazing. It also says he’s “globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in new media”, and it’s clear why: he’s got his own app, does some really nice chart work, has an important-sounding podcast called (R)evolution, and has written a book entitled Engage!, for which he’s created a teaser trailer that would make Michael Bay shit his pants. This guy really knows how to take social media buzz and JACK IT™.
8. Gurbaksh Chahal (Chahal) — According to his many bios and the front page of his website, this young entrepreneur sold several huge companies for eleventy-hundred million dollars. Dude’s so rich that he could afford a website made entirely out of shiny gold, which he uses to promote his services as the next generation of social media strat expertness. He’s also a CEO, is very physically fit, and wears extremely nice/expensive suits (when he’s not doing topless shots), which are also shiny. Seems like someone you should think about doing some deals with.
7. Scott Berkun (ScottBerkun) — I feel like this guy just takes a straightforward, no-frills approach to social media mastery. His site feels very professional and organized. I bet he gives great Powerpoint. It seems like his brand would be very appealing to smaller companies, maybe in the Midwest, who are looking for conference/seminar speakers but don’t entirely trust the flashy big-city ways of your Social Media Scientists and your “WebAddicts”. This guy will do the leadership blocking and tackling necessary to optimize performance and productivity.
6. Leo Laporte (Google Profiles) — Leo’s personal brand is kind of “a fun dad you’d want to joke around about strat with”. He was apparently an early adopter of the whole Google Buzz thing, as he has a “verified account” and a significant amount of followers. I feel like he may be an attractive Social Media Guru option for Moms looking to expand their mom brand onto Facebook, aging liberals who are tired of just commenting on HuffPo and are thinking of starting their own angry left-wing blogs, and people who think Jeff Jarvis seems “too serious”.
5. Chris Brogan (ChrisBrogan) — This Brogan bro just seems like the total Social Media package. His site is simple and clean. His headshots are playful, but dignified and expert-seeming. His resume is long and important. His strat feels really solid. This guy is the Social Media Guru for Social Media Gurus.
4. Amy Jo Martin (DigitalRoyalty) — This lady is the Queen of Digital Royalty for a reason: she’s managed social media for Shaquille O’Neal, Doubletree Hotels, UFC, America’s Discount Tires and PGA golfer Bubba Watson — all brands that are synonymous with game-changing digital innovation. Hey Kobe: tell us how her strat tastes.
3. Robert Scoble (Scobelizer) — This is a guy who turned his name into a word that sounds like a character Charles Bronson might have played in the ’80s, and then turned THAT name into one of the most trusted brands in tech media. Your startup or brand is pretty much meaningless until it’s been Scobelized, but once it has, you’ve been given a glorious endorsement that pretty much guarantees other tech pundits and bloggers will debate the merit of your worth, which only makes you worth more. But what does that mean? SCOBELIZED!
2. Pete Cashmore (Mashable) — Not only did he create the most important/essential website in the history of human technology and social strat, he’s just so pretty to look at. Dear god, that five o’clock shadow. That pout. The tasteful vest-blazer-open shirt combos. Those handy, easy-to-read linkbait lists. Jesus Christ, it’s no wonder the guy has two million followers and is the hottest young social media guru game in town. Who wouldn’t just keep mindlessly clicking pretty much anything an angel like that put in front of them?
1. Gary Vaynerchuck (Gary) — Who would have thought that an excitable wine nerd in bad stripey shirts would become the King of All Social Media? But that just goes to show you what kind of power these tools contain. A young man with a little hustle, a lot of energy, a huge voice that is incapable of volume modulation, and a tireless commitment for finding new and myriad ways to loudly put himself and his vague messages of success and perseverance out into the Internet, has become a household name and gotten a lot of alcoholic media nerds drunk on wine - and strat - in the process. CRUSH IT, indeed.