“Everybody’s talking and no one says a word.” – John Lennon, from Nobody Told Me

It was a sad day when LinkedIn opened its Pulse publishing platform to everyone. Not that I ever read what influencers like Bill Gates and Richard Branson had to say, but at least they have experience worth writing about.

Have you seen some of the fluff people post? What a diluted jumble of user-generated nonsense. Everyone trying desperately to show off how smart they are, build their personal brand, and make a name for themselves. What a waste.

The thing is, the path to success has always been the same: Get out in the world, work hard, meet lots of smart people, build relationships, get exposed to wonderful opportunities, gain tons of experience, accomplish great things. Boom. Success.

Then you write about it … if you’re into that sort of thing. I mean, the order is pretty important, if you ask me.

Everyone’s on a quest to engage everyone else online, but does anyone stop to ask why? What’s the goal? What’s the ROI?

I’m constantly getting random Tweets and comments from people who just happen to read one of my articles and want to provoke a response or engage me in dialog on some controversial topic or another. They don’t seem to have much subject matter expertise or read with comprehension. I’m not trying to be critical; it just doesn’t reflect well on them. So why do it?

Don’t even get me started on the gazillions of random requests that are all about what’s in it for them, not what’s in it for me. I mean, who taught these people how to sell?

The problem is that social media, blogs, and comments have given folks the means to engage pretty much anyone, so that’s what they do. Unfortunately, they’re doing it on a highly superficial level that doesn’t lead to meaningful results. Either that, or they’re making the age-old blunder of talking without knowing what they’re talking about. Engaging others before engaging their brain, as it were.

Reminds me of the ludicrous “let’s have a conversation” meme. Why? Nothing ever gets done.

Look, I know it’s tough when it seems like everyone is doing it. But here’s the thing. Everyone isn’t doing it. Everyone isn’t out there trying to engage others on social media. The best and brightest aren’t. The up-and-coming stars aren’t. Tomorrow’s innovators, executives, and business leaders definitely aren’t. They’re all far too busy working, experiencing, achieving, and thinking. Those are high ROI activities. Engaging online is not. It’s so overrated it isn’t funny.

Image credit Esther Vargas via Flickr