Thought Leaders and Thought Followers

By Paul Yeager, author of Literally, the Best Language Book Ever

I was a recent Web conference associated with my day job, and I was extremely fortunate to attend during a year when there were so many thought leaders floating around, including one of the keynote speakers. I was merely one of the much less important thought followers.

Leaders, innovators, experts, and book authors are nothing new, but the concept of a thought leader is. It’s a re-hash of the old terminology, but I find it to be condescending. I might not have the expertise of one of the so-called thought leaders, but my thoughts are as valuable as his or hers.

I know. That’s not how the term is intended, and it’s just the people in a new generation defining themselves in their own way. But I’m telling you this: I have my own thoughts, and I’m not going to follow anyone else’s!

Speaking of thoughts, mine often wandered to the attendees who paid a couple of hundred bucks each for the right to not pay attention to the presenters. How could they–with tweets to send and follow, Facebook pages to update, e-mail to send, and Web sites to visit?

Seriously, have you noticed how little attention people now pay to other people, including those who they adorn with such titles as “thought leaders?” It’s getting progressively more difficult to get work done with so few people paying attention.

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