Last year I was at an innovation seminar with my friend Joe. I had the unfortunate experience of being stuck on the tube for over 30 minutes in rush hour. It was one of those hot days when, no matter what you did, there would be condensation on the windows inside the tube carriages.
Luckily, I was on time to the seminar and got a good seat.
During one of the coffee breaks I spoke to a man who I would guess was the same age as me. He told me he works in PR and then he asked me:
’What do you do?’
‘Over the last few years I’ve been speaking professionally about social media and leadership and I write about the topic as well.’
‘So you are one of these social media gurus?’ he said with a sarcastic tone.
‘Yes,’ I said without hesitation.
Gosh, his reaction was hilarious and he gave me a disgusted look.
I then tried to defend myself and said that it, of course, depends on how you define ‘guru’.
Our conversation didn’t really go any further. He thought I was a fool for not denying my expertise in how the online world works.
Maybe he despises all women who say they know something? Or maybe he asks everyone who works in social media if they are a guru? What do I know?
One of the things that made me say ‘yes, I am a social media guru’ is that I had recently attended a lecture about the religion Sikhism and the lecturer talked about what guru means in Sikhism.
It means: one who brings light into the darkness.
When I look at myself as a teacher I often have that kind of metaphor in my mind, a dark, foggy picture that gets clearer when you bring light and creativity to it.
After the Sikhism lecture I thought to myself ‘if I was reborn, Sikhism would be a good religion to follow’.
Isn’t it funny how we value knowledge but guru in combination with social media has a negative undertone? That it somehow feels as if there is something wrong about being into a specific topic? In my day-to-day life I would never walk around and call myself a guru. The world I live in has kindly told me off not to do that, it can be called social control as well.
All cultures seem to have developed ways to hold people down and not let them blossom. In Scandinavia you talk about the ‘Law of Jante‘ and I know that most countries have similar ‘laws’. In short the Law of Jante is defined: You are not to think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than us.
Humanity, knowledge and expressing that you know more than average about a topic, without being a professor with a double Ph.D., can be a sensitive issue. How did I dare say that I was a guru, ha, ha, ha!
What are your thoughts?