Who are your thought leaders?

by Craig McBreen · 36 comments · Social media

Eight months into social something is becoming glaringly obvious.

Do you want to know what that special something is?

There are thought leaders and there are thought leaders.

Do you know what I mean?

When I first arrived on the scene I was enamored with the kings and queens in our bubble.
A boy lost in the forest.

But royals are not exactly accessible and princes don’t talk to paupers.

And as I’ve progressed in my journey I found another noble group. People who practice what they preach.

They listen, they advise, and they inspire.

They are kingfish, but they are also mentors.

Sure they have 20,000 plus Twitter followers, but they’re not afraid to get their hands dirty and they often engage with the rabble.

Let’s call them model citizens.

Blogging for business is my goal (so stated), but so is helping people and here’s where we get to the heart of the matter. The focal point of this post and the fundamental practices that certain A-listers practice.

So, would you like to know what I’m getting at?

Okay, I’ll tell you.

It’s what inspires me and what I aspire to.

It’s simple, it’s effective and it should be like that pair you put on in the morning. A daily necessity.

A practical, no-nonsense one-two punch.

Drumroll, please …
Generosity and Engagement.

Yep, that’s right. A basic formula that works like nothing else.

This I’ve learned. Oh, have I learned.

And you know what else I now realize? Even big names need a pat on the back every once in a while.

They have tens of thousands of Twitter fans, long lists of followers and they are indeed thought leaders, but guess what? They’re way more than that.

So here’s a shout out, a fist-bump and a toast to two fine A-listers I’ve met along the way.

Gini practices what she preaches and actually knows a thing or two about PR, marketing and social. Here is someone who gets her hands dirty, does the day to day work, acknowledges the people who help and supports the riffraff (read: me) And you want to know what she practices day in and day out? Yep. Generosity and engagement.

Oh and if you want to learn about the complexities of social media marketing and learn about making it all work, there’s no better head to turn to.

She really knows what the heck she’s doing, but you already knew that, right? I preach to the choir.

Danny taught me few a things early. Well, two things. And guess what those two practices are? You got it. Generosity and engagement are important. He’s written about connecting with clients based on true wants and needs, not based on what you think they should be attracted to. But you know what? He’ll also connect with you, budding blogger. Yes. He. Will.

Danny isn’t afraid to acknowledge the little guy. To jump over and comment, offer a bit of sage advice or even give you a shout out. Marketing smart, social media savvy and a practitioner of the ever-important, you got it: generosity and engagement.

Some people say A-listers don’t need praise or someone considered a thought leader doesn’t need a link from a humble little blog, but I disagree.

I have many, many others to thank and I began >> right here. Check it out. It’s a great list.

But since I’m talking about two specific practices today, I thought I would mention two people who really are kinda up there, but they’re also down here, if you know what I mean?

So, big high-fives to these two, and to all who have helped and advised me along the way.

I might sound like a cornball but this is 100% honest: Blogging has changed my life and because of certain people, I’ve gained a greater understanding of what THIS is all about.

I’ve gone back to school, so to speak, but I like this school, so I will keep attending.

So, would you disclose your short A-list, please?

How important is engagement? Is generosity a must in social?

Are there other important traits I’ve missed?

Sign-up Today to Get Your FREE eBook.

I take your privacy very seriously

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Danny Brown May 17, 2012 at 1:59 am

Okay, first – why the hell is Gini above me? I’ll never live this down…. ;-)

Second, thank you, sir. That already sounds cheesy, because it comes after a post that praises so kindly – but sincerely, thank you.

The way I look at it, we’re all the same. Someone may have 10,000 subscribers or 100,000 Twitter followers, but does that make them better? No – it more than likely means they started blogging and tweeting before you.

We ALL have something to learn from each other (I learned the value of a clean blog design from you, sir), and we all have something to offer.

Putting that out of reach because of some notion we’re “better”? That doesn’t make us better – that makes us losers.

My inspirations? Right here:


Disclosure – you may recognize a certain name… ;-)

Cheers, sir – sincerely.
Danny Brown recently posted..Your ValueMy Profile


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 4:56 am

Hi Danny,

Why the hell not? ;) Seriously … I don’t know. I didn’t plan it that way, but I guess you’ll never hear the end of it though, huh? ;) :)

You are most welcome, but it’s all true and I’ve seen similar praise for you, well in more than a few places. You do deserve it.

I’m glad you feel the way you do, but it’s not all about the numbers. It’s the combined knowledge, networking, and great content you constantly pump out.

Thanks for resurrecting that post. I now read Judy Dunn’s and Marya’s blogs because of that post (knew most everyone else on the list.) :)

Oh … and about clean design: I see you’ve changed again. Loving the look.

Cheers to you.


Gini Dietrich May 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Gini Dietrich recently posted..Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?My Profile


Joe D. May 17, 2012 at 3:06 am

Your two picks are great, Gini and Danny are bloggers to aspire to. I’ve got a bunch in my reader that I love, but my faves right now are Brett McKay at Art of Manliness and S. Anthony Innarino over at The Sales Blog. They post very frequently, but the quality of the content is never compromised by that frequency. Check ‘em out if you haven’t yet…
Joe D. recently posted..The Most Valuable Land On EarthMy Profile


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 4:58 am

Hi Joe,

Great bloggers and solid citizens.

Ah, I love The Art of Manliness, but haven’t been there in a while. I’ll have to put that back on my reader. Not familiar with The Sales Blog, so I’ll check it out. Thanks!

Thanks for stopping in, Joe.


Danny Brown May 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Brett’s a great reco for anyone, solid choice, Joe!
Danny Brown recently posted..Your ValueMy Profile


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Ah, this might be my favorite blog title ever:


Ralph May 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Nice list Craig. Short, sweet + to the point. It’s great to have those resources at your disposal for sure. I think both your choices are great people too.

Making time for others is fantastic and sort of defines social anyway. The business side of it is certainly a mountain but if you know something about business then you will do great. Plan and intelligent decisions and time. You know that and I personally don’t think you give yourself enough credit.

Work it and work it the right way for you and off you go. You already have the vote of your two mentors which is huge.

Anyway not news to you, I am sure.

Have a splendid weekend bro.
Ralph recently posted..What can we learn about managing stress from a cheesy Hollywood comedy?My Profile


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm


Yep, but there is a long list I linked to at the end of the post.

The business side is a mountain, but remember what I said about baby steps? ;) Slow and steady. Anyway you know that of course and are now making those steps towards something special in this online realm!

Gini and Danny are great at what they do, and good people, that is all.

Thanks, always great to see you. Bean burritos today? ;)


Ralph May 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Craig, been away for a few days……got the blogging DT’s. Man. Yeah, that long list is great too. Didn’t mean to not mention that.

After reading the comments here I happen to agree that the A-listers that consider themselves people too are the ONLY one’s worth knowing. Just remember as you climb the ladder becuase the people you meet on the way up are the same people you meet on the way down.

Thanks Little Feat for that line. No burritos today…they give me gas…hahahaha…..Whatever, that’s not even funny……;-)
Ralph recently posted..Are there more than 4 ways to {avoid} feed {ing} your creative soul?My Profile


Craig McBreen May 22, 2012 at 3:10 am

Ah, the dreaded blogging DT’s ;) More than a few days and you get the shakes.

Totally agree with your points, Sir! We are always drawn back to beans.


Kaarina Dillabough May 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Great picks. Generosity’s a must. Engagement’s essential. And I’d have to be in the cone of silence to share my short A-list:) Cheers! Kaarina
Kaarina Dillabough recently posted..Risk and Revolution – The Alphabet Series Continues with Letter RMy Profile


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Hi Kaarina,

Ah, the old cone of silence ;) Now I have images of Chief and Agent 86. Never got sick of that silly bit.

Oh, I do have by larger list linked at the end of the post … :)


Gini Dietrich May 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm

This blogging world sure is a strange one, isn’t it? It’s a really interesting study on human behavior. We love to put people on pedestals and then tear them down. You see this all the time when people stop talking about the A-listers so it’s nice to see someone who understands we’re all just human beings and we all like to get a pat on the back.

But did you really have to include Danny and me together?

P.S. Thank you!
Gini Dietrich recently posted..Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?My Profile


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Hi Gini,

It is an interesting study. When I wrote the A-Listers post many months ago, I was curious why there is so much vitriol when it comes to big names, because it seemed like a ton of negative energy going around at the time.

Some won’t engage. I’m not going to trash them because of that, BUT I will heap praise on the, ahem, big names who do. ;) Accentuate The Positive, I say.

You and Danny are like a dynamic comic duo … I can’t help it.

You are welcome and of course, deserve it.


Gini Dietrich May 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

We love to build up our heros and then knock them down. It’s what we do. It’s a mad, mad cycle.
Gini Dietrich recently posted..Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?My Profile


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm

“It’s a mad, mad cycle.”
-Yes, indeed!


Danny Brown May 17, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Thank God you’re no-one’s hero…. ;-p
Danny Brown recently posted..Your ValueMy Profile


Jackie May 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm

It’s great to find that kind of support from people further up the mountain, and it is a rarity.

I’ve found some “A” listers can be sooo cliquey and to be honest I can’t be bothered with all that ego stroking bullshit, so I give them a wide berth.

I absolutely agree. Danny and Gini do an amazing job of supporting others…see Danny I put you first ;) You only have to watch the interactions to know that’s true.
Another person I’d like to add to that list is Pam Slim, from what I’ve witnessed she’s another really good egg that cares about her audience.

Thanks for sharing this Craig

Gonna go and check out Danny’s post on bloggers to watch…should be some good reading in there :)
Jackie recently posted..Is Blogging Sucking The Life Out Of You?My Profile


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Hi Jackie,

It is great and a rarity, indeed.

These two welcome all and we love that non-cliquey behavior.

Yes they do and they reached out to me before I even started my blog, and I don’t forget such things.

I’ve heard of Pam, but don’t read her blog. Another I must check out. I like good eggs.

Oh yes, very good reading ;)


Gini Dietrich May 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

About a year ago, I spoke at a conference where 10 people were invited to pay $50 extra have dinner the night before with the speakers. My flight was delayed and I arrived at the restaurant as everyone was being seated. I was SHOCKED to see my fellow speakers were at one end of the table and all the guests were at the other end. You know, the people who paid extra to have dinner with us. That stuff drives me nuts. Yes, those people are my friends and yes, I want to hang out with them and have a drink or two. But I’m not there to see them. I’m there to see the people who paid to see me speak.
Gini Dietrich recently posted..Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?My Profile


Jackie May 17, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Gini, I’m surprised there wasn’t an uprising!

Unfortunately that kind of thing happens all too often, and it leaves a nasty taste in peoples mouths. It is nuts. Really poor on the organisers behalf.

I’m sure it didn’t hold you down though. I bet you we’re one of the first up and mingling with your peeps :)
Jackie recently posted..Is Blogging Sucking The Life Out Of You?My Profile


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I bet Gini acted and they followed ;)


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I really, really hate cliquey behavior (reminds me of school), this is why I salute you and Danny.


Carolyn | Wonder of Tech May 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Hi Craig, Excellent picks, not only because Gini and Danny are inspirations, but also because it shows a lot about you giving them the props they deserve. You are a wonderful example of blog engagement by introducing others to these titans. Well done.
Carolyn | Wonder of Tech recently posted..MEDL Mobile: If There Isn’t an “App for That”My Profile


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Hi Carolyn,

They do indeed deserve props.

Thank you kindly and thanks for stopping by!


Jill Tooley May 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Gini is one of my favorites, too! I’m so glad you featured her on here. She’s excellent!

I subscribed to Danny’s blog today, upon your recommendation, and I’m looking forward to reading what he has to say as well. :)

Who’s on MY A-list? Besides Craig McBreen, you mean? A few of my go-tos include Morgan Barnhart (SociableBoost.com), JM Bell (StartYourNovel.com), and Danny Iny (FirepoleMarketing.com). They’re consistently inspiring, entertaining, and friendly! I’d highly recommend all of them.
Jill Tooley recently posted..3 Costly Mistakes Wedding Vendors Make (and How to Avoid Them Forever)My Profile


Craig McBreen May 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm

She is excellent. No doubt about that!

Danny is too and you’ll be glad you subscribed. One of the good guys.

Me, A-list? Wa!?

I’m familiar with JM Bell and Danny Iny, but will need to check out Morgan Barnhart. Thanks for the suggestion, the kind words and the visit!


Al Smith May 18, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Another great post Craig. I can see Danny, but Gini ? Come on, man. Ha.
Can’t resist messin with her. There are so many good, quality, people on line, that have helped me. Way too many to mention here. I am just grateful I have found some that really do CARE. And yes, you and Gini are included.

Continued success, my friend.

Al Smith recently posted..Let’s Put the CARE back in Health CareMy Profile


Craig McBreen May 18, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Hi Al,

At least you didn’t bring up anything related to bicycles … ;)

I feel the same way about you, Al. So back at ya!

And here’s to continued success.


Robin Hallett May 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Hi Craig, I am new to your tribe–wanted to say hi and tell you I enjoy your perspective! I’m a super new blogger with 1 post to my name :) Man, what must it be like to have all those zeros after the 1′s and 2′s??? Well, engagement and generosity ARE my top two priorities, so I know I’ll get there–I want to do it authentically.
I am looking forward to more of your inspiration.

Robin p.s. Cornballs of the world, unite!
Robin Hallett recently posted..Intuitive Healing for EveryoneMy Profile


Craig McBreen May 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Hi, Robin,

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s feels great to have that one post out there though, eh?

I loved the video case study with you and Ameena. Great stuff and nice site!

Congrats on the first post and welcome. Great to have you here!

Cheers to cornballs everywhere ;)


Jeevanjacobjohn May 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Craig, another awesome post!

I have been inspired by a lot of bloggers and blogs, with whom I interact on a consistent basis. But, I don’t consider any bloggers as my thought leaders (When it comes to thinking, I consider myself – my ID and Super Ego as my models – I know it is kind of eccentric, but it works for me). I also consider people like Gandhi and MLK (peace principles), Mother Theresa (for her passion towards helping others) and Hitler (he was a bad guy, but hey he was a great blogger of his time – he did manage to convince a heck load of people to follow him).

I think it is better to learn from outside, than from inside the niche (the outsiders have a lot to offer – to learn and to apply to our own principles and plan of action).

Anyways, thank you for the thoughtful post,

Jeevanjacobjohn recently posted..Make Mistakes, Learn to Fall Before You Walk!My Profile


Craig McBreen May 23, 2012 at 4:08 am

Hi Jeevan,

Thank you!

Maybe not as eccentric as you think ;) And whatever works for you, right? Amazing that we have Gandhi, MLK, Mother Theresa and … Hitler? He was certainly way beyond a bad guy. The devil incarnate might be more like it.

I do agree that it’s better to learn from outside the niche. A very good point, as we are so immersed in this blog/social media bubble that we forget there is something outside the dome. Good point and thanks for the comments!


Annie Andre May 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Gini was one of the first people i came into contact online almost one year ago when i first started my blog and started engaging with others. She is definitely a rock star and deserves the props. I won’t repeat what everyone else has already said but i will say these two things..

1- She defenitely should be on Top of Danny :).
2- She looks like Emily Erin Deschanel from the t.v. episode called “BONES”. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Deschanel
Annie Andre recently posted..20 Ways To Save Money Now For Your Career Break Or Trip Later?My Profile


Craig McBreen May 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Hi Annie,

Gini is a rock start although she will always deny that title. Maybe it’s her humble nature we like so much (Danny Brown might disagree … ;)) She most definitely deserves the props.

1. I won’t say a word ;)
2. Wow, you’re right. I’ll call GD, EED from now on ;)

Thanks for stopping in!


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: