Every time I turn around, another list is out documenting a set of, “Minnesota’s Social Media Innovators/Leaders/Those That Have Moved The Needle.”

In all truth, the fact that Social Media has come so far that we are cognizant enough to celebrate each other is an achievement in itself.  How many years did we spend trying to get some sort of recognition and attendance at the first events?  We however do need to question one thing:   Has the focus moved to popularity versus helping the entire community thrive?  When did it get so….. competitive?

Perhaps it’s the title or the one-label-fits-all, mentality which has me shaking my head.  Some of the people on these lists are more than just innovators or needle movers, they started the trend here in the Twin Cities and I have them to thank.  Other people, UTILIZE social media well for their business.  And Meghan Wilker and Nancy Lyons? They just knock my stilettos off with whatever they do.  I call them just plain, awesome.  Erica Mayer keeps me smiling with her fantastic attitude and gorgeous photos.  See? Maybe, that’s it. Passionate users of Social Media have paved the way for everyone to follow and in truth, we are eternally grateful. But they aren’t just innovators.  By throwing the title of ‘Innovators’ only to those 11? We leave out other fantastic people and send the wrong message.

It’s turning into a popularity contest even though we don’t mean for it to be so. We are less focused on remaining a tight-knit community with each list that comes out.  I’ve heard ripples and divides between those who made a list and those who did not.  Last year the list was a nighmare and people were hurt/angry/divided.  I remember asking someone, “It’s just a list, right?” We need to stop putting our leaders on a pedestal to emulate when what makes Social Media divine in the first place is the power of individuality and personal branding on all content platforms.  Although, I’ll take Meghan Wilker’s wardrobe any day. (Please?)

We put our friends on our ‘Best of Lists,’ and then they put us on theirs and SEO is happy because our name comes up with a gold star.  This is high school.  This is sad. For us to be the best community we need to be?  We need to celebrate others, too and stop the labels.  The sad thing is, the most recent list by @ArikHanson, only features 11.  It’s becoming a little exclusive and silly.  Some of the same people were on the list, others weren’t and there is a severe lack of change.

Recognition is a powerful tool that’s not only needed to learn best practices, but can prove to be fatal to our community if overdone.  The last thing I want to see is a, “Good ‘Ole Boys Club,” here in the Twin Cities Social Media scene.  Reading through the comments under the article reaffirmed my belief that the pretentiousness of back-slapping thanks and personal shared victory has come to a head.

We all need to get over ourselves a bit, and celebrate people for what they have done, not grouping them under ‘innovators’ and leaving good people out.  We’re hurting ourselves by labels when these community leaders are so much more and others, haven’t received credit they deserve, (@JoelECarlson,  @MNHeadhunter@FooteNotes, @StevenLadin, @LuLuGrimm, merely to name a few.)

Weigh in, tell me what YOU think.

Are we hurting ourselves and short-sighting the Social Media thought leaders and community by labeling the same people yearly as Innovators and forgetting about others?