I tweeted a while ago, wondering whether SA had any Scoble-style evangelists. I just didn’t see anyone who consistently stood out. There certainly didn’t appear to be many career evangelists although it may be I just wasn’t looking in the right places.
I’ve been thinking about evangelism quite a bit lately, for the most part because that is what I have found myself engaged in online. Anyone who has been following me for a short period of time will know that I talk a lot about a couple brands like Nokia and FriendFeed. I’ve been told that I read like Nokia PR and FriendFeed’s local agent in South Africa even though I am not paid by either company, or any other company I talk about (unless, of course, I specifically mention the company concerned is a client). The fact is I love to talk about the brands, products and services I am passionate about.
Of course I am hardly alone in what I do. Most of the higher profile bloggers in South Africa evangelise in varying degrees. One of the most well known blogger evangelists is Mike Stopforth who has written about companies like Dell (remember the post about Dell’s oops when it advertised laptops at a drastically reduced price?).
So what does it mean to be an evangelist in the Twitter age? Is everyone an evangelist in some degree or does it take more than a couple 140 character bursts to be a credible evangelist? What degree of focus do you require? PR agencies certainly seem to be catching on to the benefits of supporting or somehow harnessing this evangelism.
I feel a little blocked as I write this post because I am not sure I am asking the right questions. It is one thing to talk about evangelism inspired by access to unreleased gadgets or lunches with executives but I think a more authentic form of evangelism is organic. It exists independently of any form of incentive or reward (it is worth mentioning that I do receive advance phones to demo from Nokia and I am occasionally invited to lunches, launches and breakfasts in the hope I write positively about the products or services being launched or discussed). I am beginning to think that meaningful evangelism originates in a deep seated desire or need to share information, ideas and opinions.
Actually, I’d love to know what Scoble’s thoughts on evangelism are. In a way he is the stereotypical evangelist and it is pretty much how he makes his living.
… end woolly thinking.
Image credit: 2006-06-16 Robert Scoble Exits Microsoft by Roy Blumenthal licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 license
What do you think?