Snake Oil, Management Gurus and Authenticity

I’ve been quiet on the blog has been quiet this week. You know, life happens.

This piece from David Kelly got me really thinking about my presence on Twitter. How do I show up? What do others perceive of me? Am I selling snake oil? What’s my intent? What impression do I wish to leave? What impression do I actually leave? What does my Personal Learning Network (PLN) mean to me? How do I cultivate that? Who makes the mark? Why do they? What criteria do I use?

The comments in that piece are really interesting too. People have clear opinions about how a PLN is formed at all, and how do you know if you yourself aren’t the snake oil salesman? What does it matter? Who does it impact?

I often want to tell people why I’m unfollowing them on Twitter. But who does that serve? How does that help that anyone? Since when did being on Twitter simply mean I had the right to express my offensive opinion because I can?

I’m totally the guy who will jump into chats or people’s conversations, say something and then leave. I recognise I do other things to engage, but am I just peddling the same opinions?

This piece from Laurie Ruetimann got me thinking about how I make use of Twitter. When I post things out there, what am I saying? Does it help people? Am I just talking to myself? Am I inviting opinion? Am I being an arse? Do I want to be a guru?

I was having a conversation with someone some weeks back and the question was posed to me, what am I hoping to achieve with my blogging and my tweeting? Influence, was my answer. But what am I trying to influence? And what am I hoping that influence will do for me?

As time has gone on, and this coming to my 5th year of blogging, I’m in a place now where I think I have authority. I think I have knowledge enough about stuff to talk well about certain topics. I remain persistently curious about other writings on the topics I’m interested in. And I remain curious about how other professionals articulate themselves on the topics I’m interested in.

And then this morning’s #ldinsight chat where we talked about working out loud. My use of blogging and Twitter and other forms of social media is me working out loud. I try things, and I share how they have happened. I learn about things and I share my learnings on those topics. I get irked about things and I write about what that means for me. I love things and I write about and advocate what they are. I open myself to challenge, and to excluding people. I’m becoming more comfrotable with that as a thing. At work I draft things and try things. When I do that I am open with people about what that is. I very rarely these days have a finished product that I roll out. It’s more often than not 70% ready to go, which is enough to provide people with n experience. The rest comes later. That’s not abiding by the normal rules of convention in the workplace. You are only meant to deliver a finished, polished product. Says who? Says the man, man. Fuck the man. Be yourself. Be your best self. Be progressive. Fight that shit.

This is where I’m at.

This is what I’m thinking.

Where are you?

What are you thinking?


Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

10 thoughts on “Snake Oil, Management Gurus and Authenticity”

  1. “…there are plenty of people that leverage the excitement of enthusiasm to mask their snake oil. They use enthusiasm to exaggerate their practices and efforts, building connections based on the energy and excitement they bring to a conversation rather than the substance.”

    Love this from David’s blog. I’ve learned the hard way I’m attracted to enthusiasm and that this doesn’t always equate to a ‘useful’ relationship….

  2. I’ve stepped back from Twitter of late. And by of late I mean in the last 12 or so months. I got sick of all the snake oil salesmen/women and vacuous, self-serving tweets (the latter of which I probably contributed to as well. The former, hopefully, not so much). Actually, I’ve stepped back quite a bit from social media generally, apart from blogging. I’ve increased my blogging, rather than decreased it. I think this is because I’m looking for depth of thought and I want to be known for (if anything) contributing to depth of thought, in my own little way. Interesting post, Sukh!

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