Does Amanda Chapel matter?

 chapel montage

 The mysterious, mean-spirited, self-proclaimed “strumpette” Amanda Chapel is the most divisive personality in the social media movement.  She relentlessly shoots poison darts at nearly every voice of authority on the social web.  It’s typical for her to characterize many of her A-List blogger targets as:

  • “Baby babble”
  • “Full-on non-stop shameless surreptitious sleaze”
  • “The cacophony of dopes”
  • “Sacs de douche”
  • “Self-important fatuous boobs”

… and worse. But her commentary can also be positively brilliant, insightful, and hilarious.  There is no humor so sublime as pomposity pricked.

All this venom sometimes leaves me wondering if she’s a just a pesky mosquito annoying everyone at the social media picnic or if she is having a meaningful impact on the evolution of the social web.  Does Amanda Chapel even really exist?  Does she matter?

I decided to ask her these questions myself.  Here is my interview with Amanda Chapel, which was conducted last week via email (I added the hyperlinks):

 

MWS: You are one of the most reviled personalities on the blogosphere. Why are you so mean?

AC: Actually, that’s two separate questions.  With regard to “reviled,” I am/we are anti the general Web2 Cluetrain commie crap.  We poke at the movement’s weakest links.  We show their Golden Calves for what they actually are, i.e. self-serving buffoons.  That said, we also take no prisoners.  As such, we lay claim to, and inspire, the inverse of the movement’s immature passions … as does anyone who thinks critically … as does any skeptic who refutes a bogus pseudo religion.

As to “mean,” I am cutting.  Satire and mockery are biting at their best.  Poignant is poignant.  It’s smart and often cuts through the clutter.  I also believe that the “David Letterman Beat It To Death School of Comedy” is VERY effective and resonates.

 

MWS: So you refer to yourself as “we.”  This begs the question, are you real?  Are you even a woman?

AC: The identity issue is so old and tedious frankly.  It’s been asked and answered SOOOO many times.  Sadly, it keeps coming up because the nature of the SMedia crowd tends to be literal minded. Brian’s interviews with Bill were pretty explicit.*

“We” means a group represented by a single brand.  Asked and answered.

All to say, you can call me Amanda Chapel.  That’s what we are.

MWS: One of your biggest criticisms is that many of the A-List bloggers don’t have the business experience or credentials to have a voice of authority in this space.  Why are you different?  Why should we listen to you?

AC: I’m not selling anything.  I’m questioning.  Those two things are NOT on equal footing.  “Doubt” is not about credentials, per se; it is about the strength of the argument.  That said, we stand on what already exists.  The core of our system/Union is NOT enthusiasm; it’s rationalism.

MWS: What is pissing you off the most these days?

AC:  Most?  That’d be Liz Strauss, Brian Solis, and Deepak Chopra.   Ironically, as more light has been shed on the ethereal emptiness of the movement, its “evangelists” have gotten bolder and strident.  They’ve become irrepressible caricature.  It’s like watching amateur Benny Hinns whistle on the way to the bank, having only increased their flocks after being busted on 60 Minutes.  Arrrgh.

MWS: You have been one of the most visible voices of dissent for several years.  Have you made a difference?

AC:  Many say I have made a significant difference.  Frankly, I’m not so sure.  I think I’m more of a catalyst than a direct agent for change.  Our outrageousness with Strumpette,** etc. made it safe for critical thinkers like you, Bill Sledzik,  Sean Williams,  Joel Postman,  Ike Pigott, et al. to occupy the middle.

MWS: Do you have plans to ever shed the Amanda Chapel character or are you in it for the long-haul?

AC:  I think the character is only good as long as our argument is relevant.  Let’s put it this way: most of the failure of Cluetrain, etc. is pretty basic.  But it is a bubble that sadly continues to grow.  However, the FTC, Congress and business are waking up.  I’m certain when the bubble breaks a new canvas will present itself.  I’m pretty excited about that actually.  It’s long overdue.

MWS: So far I have not been the target of your fury.  What would I have to do to have you take a crack at me?

AC:  We’ve seen you slip on occasion.  But that’s rare.  To REALLY get our attention, I’d think you’d have to have had a serious head injury.

______________________________________________________

The title of this post is “Does Amanda Chapel Matter?” so I’ll offer an opinion.

One of the most disturbing aspects of power and the social web is the herd mentality.  You’ve seen it.  If Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki or Jeremiah Oywang burps, it is tweeted 900 times.  That burp gets repeated and codified by other bloggers and soon, it becomes a marketing tenet, a “rule” for social media marketing.  That’s called “group think” and it is DANGEROUS.  Maybe we should call it “burp think.”

It is difficult to have an impactful, dissenting voice in this arena.  It’s like yelling for the opposing team at a home Steeler game — You won’t be heard and you’ll probably be squashed.

But Amanda gets through.  She often pisses me off.  She’s shrill, offensive and sometimes even flat-out wrong … but her message GETS THROUGH.  We need that dissent. Even her detractors should admit we need it.  Some of the most important and effective dissenters in history have been anonymous “characters” and maybe that’s what we need to rise above social media’s sycophantic mind muck — a voice who doesn’t play nicey-nice all the time.

I think Amanda matters.   What about you?

* This refers to a 2008 series of interviews of Brian Connolly by Bill Sledzik.  In this interview, Connolly disclosed that the idea for the Amanda Chapel character started while his friends were watching a basketball game. The idea for the “blog of naked PR” was born, complete with an Amanda Chapel backstory. Between 4-7 people have sustained the Chapel character and signed a non-disclosure agreement. “Amanda” would not disclose the identity of the person or persons who answered these questions.

**Strumpette was the Amanda Chapel blog which was discontinued in 2008. 

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  • You were right, this was worth waiting for. Great job on the interview. Between Amanda Chapel, The Ad Contrarian, yourself and a few others, I think there’s a fairly significant voice rising to provide the checks and balances needed to keep everyone from choking to death on the SM kool-aid.

  • P.S. While I think commie crap is kind of funny when leveled against Cluetrain, and is so because there’s a grain of truth there, you, and others in the industry, should still read the book.

  • Great work Mark (as usual).

    In the age of celebrities, minor celebrities, micro-celebrities, nano-celebrities, and probably even the celebrities-of-one, there will always be a need for the anti-celebrity. Whether the anti-celebrity is a purveyor of “truth” or not is not really the point. Hopefully they provide the “pause” self-appointed celebs take before they make that next post, tweet, or webinar.

    The good news is, the media is readily available for every single person to have his or her (or, in Amanda’s cause, “our”) own voice.

    So, is Guy Kawasaki or Chris Brogan or Jeremiah Owyang bad? Is shitmydadsasy bad? For that matter, is Amanda Chapel bad? Who has sufficient authority to make such a claim?

    No matter how many tweets or followers or websites or startups Guy Kawasaki does, he does me no harm. By the same token, no matter how many times Amanda Chapel snipes at me, they do me no harm either. There are enough people interested in what Guy is doing that he’ll probably keep doing what he’s doing.

    And, no matter by what criteria others my judge me, there are enough people who feel I contribute value they’re seeking that I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. (I speak as a fool; does it really even matter?)

    It seems it’s a good thing that so many people have access to social media (though it is disturbing to see how many don’t have it); it also seems good that so many people are speaking out, putting their thoughts and ideas into words, and publishing them to see what the world will do with them. That’s much better than huddled masses being confined to and instructed by the big three networks.

    It also seems to be a very good thing to have the Amanda Chapels of the Internet. I TRUST Amanda far more than I trust the FTC or Congress! Please, give us a thousand Amanda’s but don’t silence people by fiat.

  • Does Amanda matter? Yes, she does. I’m following her to get a second opinion on established truths. You just have to allow yourself not to be irritated by her trademark rhetoric.

  • Jim LeBlanc

    Wow. It’s the first week of the year and you have already written one of the most interesting posts of 2010.

  • Mark

    @Trey Powerfully said. Thanks for the contribution.

  • You’re very right about the perils of groupthink, but I just don’t accept the premise that “Amanda Chapel” is a good way to fight it.

    For one thing I think the very over-the-top nature of Chapel that you admire is also a detraction. Case in point — using “Commie” pejoratively — seriously? It’s extreme and draws attention, but aside from the shock value how is that a useful or valuable criticism? Oh right, it “cuts through”. It does cut through — but so does my 6 year old niece when she says “bad” words.

    In addition, I take issue with the idea that anonymity is admirable. I think it is the coward’s way out. It’s easy to be outrageous when your own identity is safely concealed behind a mask. And if you suggest that anonymity is necessary, I’d suggest you take a look at Loren Feldman. Love him or hate him, at least he has the guts be extreme, to call people out under his own name, and he takes both the good and that bad that comes with that choice. The Chapel collective wants the payoff without the penalties.

    Finally, and most important — tearing other people down and hurling nastygrams is easy. Building something new or better is hard. I suppose the collective would respond saying that’s not Amanda’s goal, and they’re of course entitled to do that. Still, I have more respect for people who are willing to put themselves out there, take a risk, and try to do something new over those who sit on the sidelines & throw mud.

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  • Nice to hear the Strumpette offer up her views, Mark. I’m like you – sometimes she pisses me off no end, but other times you know she’s saying what many think but lack the cohones to say.

    I’ve come under her fire a few times in the past, though she seems to have left me alone for a bit. Reading her answers to you, I’ll take that as a good sign that I may be doing at least some things right 😉

    Nice interview mate – plans for similar with other “non-conformists”?

  • Oops – and I just realized I never answered your question, my bad!

    I think any voice that offers a different one to the popular chorus has to matter. It’s then up to us how much we listen to both sides.

  • Sure the Amanda voice matters. Anyone with a coherent opinion to express matters. I even agree with “her” from time to time, but I don’t like the malice she directs at her targets. That said, I wonder if the character would break through as it does without the barbs and the hot chick identity. Sadly, probably not.

  • Jenn Whinnem

    How was I not aware of this character before? I love it!

    I’d like to address Rachel’s comments. For me, the debate on anonymous commentary first came up around internal leadership blogs I’ve worked on and/or moderated in the past. The question: should we allow anonymous commentary or not? Personally, I’ve always supported anonymous commentary, because the alternative means lots of nodding heads, posturing, grand-standing…you get the idea. No real dialogue there. Those against anonymous commentary make the same arguments as Rachel – it’s cowardly, anonymity is a mask, it’s easier to throw stones than pile them in patterns and make your own mountain to be king of. To not factor the nature of powerlessness (aka not being on the A-list) into this equation is, however, irresponsible. Mark himself has written of the “hit” he’s taken for speaking against A-list bloggers. I think the real cowardice lies in the whining of the powerful about their anonymous detractors. If you want to change their minds, act like the supposed expert/leader that you are, take it in stride, and try to engage the detractor – that’s how you come out on top.

    Of course, when the conversation isn’t in your control to begin with, it makes much more sense just to ignore it and let Orly Taitz do her worst (kidding, kidding).

  • Mark

    @Rachel Certainly very valid and passionate points. Thanks for the diverse opinion.

    @Danny Honored as always to have you stop by, mate. Thank you!

    @Stephanie I think that is really the key question. The role of the barbs …

  • Mark

    @Jenn A well-articulated argument! Thank you for taking the time to add this to the dialogue.

  • @Mark – cheers fella. Always love reading your blog, breath of fresh air in the social media love-in that often happens online.

    @Jenn – Fantastic argument. The A-listers that complain about anonymity often do so because they know they have a huge audience behind them that don’t call out, even when there’s something so blatantly obvious to be called out. Like you say, accept the criticism and see if there is any common ground. Far better than saying “Real brave to comment anonymously”.

    Or, simply delete the comment – it’s basically the same attitude.

    Cheers for starting off a great conversation, Mark.

  • Well said once again. Never disappointed when I stop in to read here. To answer the question…don’t we always need the people who say that the Emperor truly does not have any clothes?

  • I stumbled across Strumpette a few years ago when trying to figure out what this social media stuff was all about. Amanda provided the Yang against the Yin of the blogosphere’s rabid ones.

    Using a fictitious character to counter the prime directive of transparency was a priceless move. And her message – that the what is more important than the who – is one that needs to be heard today more than ever. Problem was, her creators ironically got carried away with defining the who. And that strong persona in turn gave the writers too much cover, often encouraging them to cross the line from parody to venomous sniping.

    That said, Amanda brought a sense of history, economics, politics, human relations and even religion to the table that very, very few PR and marketing bloggers consider.

    Does she still matter? Brian, if you’re out there, Amanda’s work is not done. Bring Strumpette back. Just tell her to lay off a bit.

  • @Jenn – if you want to argue that anonymity is good because shines a spotlight on ideas versus who is saying them — well, if you’re talking the Federalist Papers, I’d agree. But Amanda Chapel is not Publius. Not even close.

  • Mark

    @michael — You could certainly make an argument that the Strumpette blog would be more relevant (and popular) in 2010 than in 2007. OK, there are two votes “for” : )

  • Sandra DeAngelis

    Holy Shit. I had no idea. Am I the only who has been in the dark about Amanda here???? Thanks for this post Mark. Kind of spun my morning around with this one!!!

  • Poking holes in the web’s bloated egos is like shooting fish in a barrel.

    I guess I’m glad someone’s doing it but hiding behind a character is cowardly.

    It denies the victims and their readers a chance to fight back. The people behind Amanda are no doubt bloggers too. Anonymity prevents us from applying Amanda’s principles to them (I bet they’d expose themselves as mediocrities too).

  • Mark

    @Sandra No, you were not alone out there! The character has been cloaked in mystery!

    @Doug “Fighting back” on the web usually means an unfollow or a written retort. Does anonymity preclude that response? I am a fan of accountability myself but not sure anonymity keeps us from having our say too.

  • Hey Mark and Amanda (Bitch!)

    Just kidding. I have been a long time (In Twit-years) fan of Aamanda and told her so. I agree with what she stands for. However lumping the woes of Web 2.duh and Social Media (whatever the hell that is)on the Cluetrain is a tad off the mark. The authors of the book are hardly the types she refers to. A someone who uses the Cluetrain in my courses (The lads granted me that right – ta much!) it is not about communism think. It is about human think. It is about being human not being an ‘end-to-end biz dev, solutions driven change agent!’ The folks she mentioned and a list I could fill a columnar pad with are so NOT Cluetrain.

    Hell the Cluetrain Twitter account has like 200 followers – My cat has more. Dock and David are astute tweeters and never self promote.

    Lumping the woes of the self-anointed Twits and Twats on da Cluetrain is not quite true. (Shit I should write Rap lyrics!) Their misguided search of Tweet fame comes from a modality way off the web. It is like every out of work schmo is tryng to be a Tony Robbins to make a buck at the expense of the unwashed teeming millions. And quite frankly the sheep get the false gods they deserve.

    I have lost so much respect for a lot of these folks (Men mostly …hmmm wonder why?) and believe the Cluetrain is in fact working here. Twitter creates a level playing field it separates the well, literally the men from the boys – or bots.

    It has taken me a bit of work but have a solid group I follow and am – every day – impressed with teh shit I read. If someone decides to self promote – welcome to un-followville!

    Great wok and nice interview – Amanada et al – take no prisoners, and shoot the wounded!

    Cluetrain says speak in a human voice – there is not an iota of human in hey look at my site, hey read my book. Well it is human I stand corrected – greed is a very human trait.

  • Mark

    @Mose You have me thinking about some things here Pete, most notably the comment ” And quite frankly the sheep get the false gods they deserve.”

    It’s made me examine my own reactivity when I see these self-promoters and Web 2.0 gurus. Rather than ignore them, I do get an urge to neutralize them in some way, which of course is ridiculous. They will always be there because there will always be sheep to prey on. And by my nature, I want to help protect those sheep if they are innocent : )

    When I was young I benefitted greatly from a business mentor who was constantly challenging me to think critically. In some ways, this is why Amanda’s boldness appeals to me. I see her helping to mentor a lot of young sheep to help them become rams.

    Despite all her bully, she has also taken a very patient approach to nurturing and challenging young people in the field and she has not received much notice or credit for that.

  • Thanks Mark – well said. I Re tweeted this earlier – From Don (accept no substitutes) Tapscott. So true!

    http://dontapscott.com/2010/01/03/its-important-to-remember-the-internets-roots/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  • Mark,

    Speaking from personal experience, it is never difficult to do anything if you’re advocating for something that is important to you.

    I can’t identify in the same way here, nor can I take a pundit seriously when they base their role as heckler on the unknown comic.

    It’s one thing to critique the way SM has allowed the town crier to shelf the hat and cane for the better paying man billboard gig.

    It’s another thing to take the fight on as the rebel without a clue or cause, to say nothing of the choice to wear a paper bag over their head.

    Joseph
    @RepuTrack

  • We still need Amanda, anonymous, caustic, outraged and funny.

  • Does Amanda Chapel matter? Mark, what a terrific post! Congratulations on your ability to get a clear commentary from one of the most infamous personalities in the Social Media domain.
    IMHO, yes “they” matter! Why? Because every hype cycle (Gartner’s term) needs a “Devil’s Advocate” to ensure we all think about the consequences of our actions. No matter what anyone says, posts from “Amanda Chapel” have made everyone think twice (sometimes more) about issues and ideas. Unfortunately in our society, a brutally tough, crude and sometimes downright nasty approach is the only way to get attention and shake the status quo.

  • Mark, here’s where you’re 100% correct: the idea of burp-think. I’ve seen another A-Lister (not one you mention above) go on a tirade against a non-A-Lister in a way that was mean-spirited and without a shred of proof. It disgusted me to see so many of his “fans” jump all over this individual. When he was proven to be incorrect, not one apology was made…and yet he’s still revered by the masses. This is the problem with these “overnight” sensations that social media has created. Far too often, individuals without any real ideas of their own are granted mass visibility while truly smart thinkers are left to the periphery. And its why Amanda Chapel is so needed. Hell, let’s have more of it. We should be encouraging more vigorous debate of ideas rather than swallowing everything an A-Lister says as if it was gospel truth.

  • of course she matters..her and @mktgdouchebag

    luv this line of thinking from her (he, it, they): “Doubt” is not about credentials, per se; it is about the strength of the argument.

    one of your best posts, Mark.

  • Mark

    @Mose Thanks for that link. Good post.

    @joseph @sean @steve Thanks for weighing in mates

    @chris I have experienced this too. I can’t explain the idolatry. People seem to check their brains at the door. Or, is it fear of reprisal?

    @autom Nice quote!

  • Mark

    A couple of observations about the commentary today. I have had three prominent bloggers write me privately regarding this post but will not comment publically or support anything to do with AC. Just a data point.

    Also, I’m kind of struck by the relative lack of female participation on the comments. Usually women out-number the men in the comment section in this forum. Another data point. Don’t know what it means.

  • Well two things – The Cluetrain – this is a perfect example of a goodly part of the book. Imagine Joe Six Pack watching TV and there is a laugh track. Now with da net he can join in and sometimes he laughs at the companies, sometimes others and hopefully himself (paraphrasing).

    Secondly got a lovely call from the Chapel Head office – Long distance no less. Had a terrific chat.

    I tried to get them to buy my book, come out to my lectures visit my Blog and be part of my downstream… oh and friend me on FB, but they seemed immune? Hrumph. I guess Chris brogan got em signed up first.

    Seriously it was a lovely gesture. TX! Caller’s name held by request – but if you do not send that money to the arranged drop off point I stipulated in the demands I will publish your damn names.

    BTW as a Canadian we don’t go in for all that fancy lawyer stuff so forget the call to F Lee – we show up at your door and beat on ya! (LOL)

    Again was a classy and lovely gesture and an enriching chat! (Notwithstanding the no downstream thing!)

  • Mark – You’re starting 2010 off with some fun, aren’t you?

    Thanks for the heads up on this post. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, and – as always – the insightful commentary of the company you keep.

    Running out of time, but I posted my “comments” as a blog post over at Savvy: http://bit.ly/7Aq0mt Thanks for the inspiration & happy New Year!

  • Mark

    Love the post, Jamie. Well done!

    Also, Sean Williams wrote a related post inspired by this one that can be found at: http://bit.ly/83pACP

  • Ike

    Mark, thanks for the heads up.

    I know what you got in the private emails, and they are likely highly accurate recollections of the offline exploits of the collective Amanda. Suffice it to say I don’t condone those tactics, and it was way too much on the hardball side for me.

    But your post isn’t about the need for someone to directly accost and challenge individuals, but rather to confront ideas that are proffered with no regard to internal logic or consistency. And THAT is something of which I wholly approve.

    I would say that “Critical thinking is at an all-time low,” but I have no metric to back that up. However, we live in a society and a culture that has such a high margin for error, you can live comfortably while being completely wrong about just about everything you hold as a belief. We live in the Whiffle-ball Society, where you have to try really hard to hurt yourself.

    We do need people to ask uncomfortable questions, and follow up to hold us to consistency. Doubly so in the realm of Social Media Consulting, where the terrain is so new there are few fixed points of reference. Much of the mindset is derived not from Cluetrain, but from people who want what they THINK Cluetrain represents to become their Utopia.

    In that regard, I offer this as defense for the initial anonymity. When Strumpette started throwing darts and daggers, the original A-list had been cast in cement. What started as a viscous liquid with the first blogs quickly hardened into a concrete pecking order. Those who had audience and traffic held sway, and the surefire path for building an audience was hoping and praying that one of the big names would link to you. And when hoping and praying didn’t work, you played the Blogroll and Trackback game. The rich got richer, and the idea pool got poorer and poorer.

    Connolly’s effort was considered heretical not for the sake of the ideas, but because it represented a direct challenge to the Holy Canon of social media. For that, I am grateful, because there once again became a true dialogue about the underlying presumptions and philosophy about online communications and communities. Connolly made it okay to have a conversation about the assumptions, and a conversation that was more meritocracy than Technorati.

    That said, many of the favorite Strumpette targets are real friends of mine, and I completely understand the issues they have. Strumpette became too character-driven, and in the process reduced many people to caricatures in pursuit of the drama. Many of my friends found themselves portrayed as one-dimensional, as straw men. In many cases, PR-Blogger-X and Amanda Chapel had far more in common than Chapel made it appear.

    In the end, however, your premise is correct. Had there been no Amanda Chapel asking hilatiously bombastic philosophical questions in bad taste, people like me (writing under my own name) would have been dismissed to the dungeons, and branded with the Scarlet H of Heresy.

    But now I may wear my “H” with pride.

  • Polly

    As someone who still feels like a latecomer to the SM world, I answer — emphatically — YES, we need Amanda Chapel. The anonymity doesn’t bother me in the least. As for the style, well, sometimes I need to be hit upside the head for material to really resonate … and the malicious style gets my attention. Maybe because I can read it … if it came across as a commentary on an annoying cable news program, I might wince.

  • @Mark: as an anthropologist, I’ve been thinking about social media relationships and visibility through a “status power relations” theoretical approach. It needs the rigorous strength of methodological research to back it up, but here’s my hypothesis:

    Individuals at the top of the pyramid (A-Listers) aim to not subvert the structure that propelled them there. There is a power in having that notable distinction that we all seek, but not everyone can have (else, it’s not really power). Regardless how much we all talk about the democratic nature of social media, the same rules of wielding power remain. And those individuals who want to be close to that power will demonstrate the same type of sycophantic behavior that is typical in any power structure (think monarchical courts of yesteryear and how lobbying firms operate today).

    Amanda Chapel operates as a Fool in the most classical sense (think how central the fool character is in King Lear). People criticize her for being acerbic, but she’s merely playing to the time in which we live. If she were less callous, would she be notable at all? Nope, she’s a part of the same system that produced nearly anyone of notoriety on the internet…like it or not.

  • Mark

    @Ike This is an extremely valuable historical perspective that I lacked. Great contribution to the community, Ike. Thanks for the effort!
    @Polly Thanks!

  • Mark

    @Chris Fascinating perspective. You’ve got my wheels turning. Lots of new blog fodder here. Thank you!

  • Mark – good post, better discussion. Yes, ‘Amanda’ absolutely matters – by keeping the social media ‘industry’ on its toes and asking the questions it should be (but isn’t) asking itself.

  • Ike

    @Chris Selland – more to the point, they are questions that many in the industry are completely incapable of considering.

  • She doesn’t really matter. Yes, she’s the “pesky mosquito” at the lovely SM picnic. So she only matters to the one that gets malaria.

  • Many of Amanda’s complaints are very deep. The nature of third party endorsement represented by the news media disappears in social media – the scale is off. The nature of private ownership of content. The ability of an elite to dictate terms of discussion (whilst cloaked in the mystical garments of the hoi polloi). Ethical conduct in a space with no mechanism for accountability. We want to believe that though everything has changed that nothing has changed. We say we want transparency, but really we want others to be transparent. Amanda asks these questions and calls out BS.

  • Before reading your interview with Amanda Chapel “she” didn’t matter to me at all. I’d never heard the name but from the background you provided, the interview and the commentary, I know it now.

    I am familiar with AdContrarian and think his raw and sometimes rude comments are a counter to what can occassionally be a “mutual admiration society” exchange. I’m probably way too low profile to draw the wrath of either Amanda or the AdContrarian.

    If it ever happens, I don’t know whether it will be a badge of honor or mark of shame. Maybe a bit of both.

  • Mark

    @ Billy Badge of honor … I think?

  • Mark

    When I began this post, i had no idea how it would turn out or what the reaction would be, other than I expected Amanda’s most frequent targets to stay away, which has turned out to be true.

    I have been a little surprised at the generally positive feedback. Is this because I set the tone with my opinion (imposing a little “group think” myself?), or is there a Fear Factor at work here?

    And what is the future of Amanda Chapel? Is giving an interview like this or calling up Mose a sign that the veil is lifting? Is the landscape of the social web changing in a way where her voice is less needed? Or will the validating feedback of this comment section embolden her to renew the Stumpette blog? Now that would be interesting!

    Only time will answer these questions, but I do appreciate the incredibly intelligent dialogue of your comments! Thank you!

  • Just thinkin – using the way-back machine to the glory days of online – the BBS – this was a rather exciting discourse! Mark thx for the initiative of getting this here – shows the true power of the net the common denominator and the voices and conversation – witnessed by your approach by the bloggers and my phone call in meat space. Boy is THIS The Cluetrain

    The issue I have always felt with the net vs say the BBS was that we can be anonymous on the Net – you could not be on a BBS – you had to validate your acount – or at least we did at MAGIC (Macintosh Awareness group in Canada) and we met face-toface we called em Mongles (online mingles) also the shear breadth and vastness of the Net. You see it in the posts here – some folks unaware of the AC personality. Much like most are unaware of moi or other folks here. And that is the point. We should be. We should form our communities based on connections, interests and maybe where we are this is the Social web. The A listers sadly have it all wrong. p

    Please do not try just to be famous for the sake of just being famous. Be famous for what ya know or be known for KNOWING something. I am constantly impressed by folks I find online who enrich my experience and in turn enrich me. They are very very high up in my esteem not for who they are, but that they are knowledgeable. I put the AC group in that category – and you as well Mark. Again many thanks. The posters here are now on my radar and will be looking forward to some great stuff.

    Oh for a small chuckle for any Canucks here – I just added a complete explanation of a Canadian Stimulus Package the Government is extending –

    http://mose.posterous.com/canadian-stimulus-package-explained

  • Jim LeBlanc

    Agree with Moses. I get a lot out of this blog because of the topics you pose and the amazing commenters your topics attract. I have been following along for some time but had never heard of a lot of these great folks until this week. Glad to see the GROW group of intellects expanding!!

  • Carla Bobka

    When the emperor has no clothes does it matter? To everyone? Some folks like hanging out with naked people, lots of people actually pay for the thrill. Welcome to real community.

    Thanks for pointing them out, I’d no idea Amanda existed. Snarky or not, it’s good to have an idea of who else is crawling the halls.

    Mark-let’s make up a game to develop the personas we think might make up the 4-5 people behind Amanda Chapel.

    Clearly basketball fans.

    My guess, law school grads. “The power of the argument” sounds like professionally trained fighters.

  • Before reading this post, I had not heard of Amanda Chapel, Liz Strauss, Brian Solis, or Deepak Chopra. I don’t follow Guy Kawasaki nor Chris Brogan. Very seldom do I see them retweeted in my Twitter stream. So, no, I don’t think any of them matter.

    The business, or industry, of social media is a brand new, emerging market. I see the struggle for power and relevance only peripherally. That is, I occasionally see some content debating blog monetization or social media ‘experts’. For the most part, it just a bunch of irrelevant opinions. The SM industry is too young to have meaningful data or proven results. It’s all one big experiment with very few rules.

  • @Mike – your opinion, coming from a non-social media industry perspective, is quite grounding and refreshing. Are the “Social Media Elite” spending too much time talking about and to themselves thereby missing what is really happening? It’s interesting to me that you are a fairly active blogger (about real things not SM chatter) and Twitter user but have never heard of or pay attention to the predominant SM industry thought leaders………..

    @mark – you may have another really interesting candidate here that can discuss the grass roots SM value proposition

  • Ike

    @Steve Dodd —

    Amanda has many recurring themes, but you hint at one of the core: The Echo Chamber.

    Her rants were most appropriate when targeted at those who had no grounding in real business culture, real fiduciary responsibility, or tangible experience.

    She held them in the same regard as empty revolutionaries who want to transform society to match their naive notions of business and commerce – or the armchair quarterback who has grand ideas for the 12th, 13th, and 14th players on the field. What football needs is more strikeouts.

  • @ike -totally agree and as @mike clearly proves, our “friends” Amanda are still very, very relevant!

  • So sorry I missed this discussion, Mark, but I was in the frigid north country of Minnesota, disconnected from the world and lovin’ life.

    As a fan of Amanda’s for a long time, I’ve taken a good bit of heat for defending her. It’s nice to see the blogosphere has mellowed a bit on the topic. Time and maturity provide that kind of perspective.

    Most of what had to be said has already been said here, so I’ll leave you with a tangential point. Part of what made Strumpette work so well was excellent writing that came from bloggers (that’s the “we” part) who were extremely well read and who understood critical thinking and how to couch it in satire!

    Amanda broke my heart when she ended Strumpette, and I still miss the little vixen. If any readers come back to this comment, they might enjoy my post from 2+ years ago. I called it “One PR man’s sordid affair with Amanda Chapel.”
    http://bit.ly/6dedd

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