I’m amazed by and appreciative of the overwhelming interest in the Periodic Table of Social Media Elements. While the majority of comments were positive, there were also some comments that were critical of the concept. I use the word critical in a positive way – they forced me to think deeper about the concept and hopefully this will lead to improvements and a more elegant version 2.
The main criticisms seem to fall into three catergories:
1. This has no direct correlation to the scientific Periodic Table of the Elements.
Guilty as charged. I took algebra 2 in summer school… pass/fail. I broke out in hives if I got near the science buildings in college. I can’t tell you the difference between inert and noble gases (I don’t even know if that is a fair comparison). I used the periodic table because it’s something we all have at least passing familiarity with and I thought it would make for a compelling and eye-catching visual.
I think I succeeded on that count, but realize now that the more scientific-minded of you out there would have liked to have seen a stronger correlation to real science if I was going to use that visual. Fair enough, and I’ll see if that is possible for a version 2. But ultimately this was meant to be a little more light-hearted than that.
2. Isn’t this just link bait?
I won’t deny that there is an “element” (see what I did there?) of that here. But here’s where I draw a distinction: A lot of the people who follow me on Twitter, and who read this blog, are not Social Media experts. I felt the table would expose them to people and applications they may not be familiar with, so I wanted to include links, allowing them to jump right to that person or tool.
To me, linkbaiting is when you make an outrageous or overtly provocative statement and link to someone in order to get a reaction out of them. Like saying, “Chris Brogan is clueless about subject x.”
I don’t expect the people I linked to to come here and comment or post a link to the Table – it would be great if they did, but that wasn’t my intention – I posted the links so people who did come here could easily discover new things.
3. Why did you include so-and so?; Why didn’t you include so-and-so?
The AdAge Power150, Viral Garden and Junta 42 all provide fairly scientific, analytical methodologies for determining the important and relevant people in Social Media. I was merely providing my perspective and while I completely agree that you could have added another 116 people and things, I don’t think anything/anyone that did make my Table was wildly off the mark.
The one thing I think that is unique and interesting about the Table is that it isn’t just a list of people or a popularity contest. It includes behaviours and practices and tools along with people. Some of the comments note that it is a snapshot of Social Media in early 2009. I think that is a nice way of looking at it.
This wasn’t meant to be some sort of Bible of Social Media, to be used as a substitute for getting involved or learning on your own. I hope people will use it as a tool for discovery and ideally make their own Tables.
As always, your comments are welcome and encouraged.