This is the age of Celebrity 2.0. If you have more that 200 Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, Yelp friends, you’re a celeb, too! After watching too many big shots ‘step in it’ again and again this week (first at Y Combinator’s Startup School, and I’m sure Web2.0 Expo is do different), I decided to prepare for the rest of you my list of what not to do, when ‘working the room.’ . Here goes:
Top 15 Web Celeb Mistakes & Missteps:
1. Not having party humor ready. A Web 2.0 celeb-on-the-ebb is someone who has zero self-deprecating jokes in the chamber. A tier-1 star-on-the-rise says stuff like, “Hey I’m just trying to enjoy my 15 minutes here. Let me enjoy this moment.” Or, my favorite: “You know me?! Goodness, I just might be something yet!”
2. Photo pose without eye contact. If someone wants their picture with you, take two seconds and focus without eye scanning the room. Rising star will pull out their camera and say, “Ooo! Take one with mine too”. Clooney works the room like an extra on Roseanne vs. The Oscar winner he is.
3. Premature interaction withdrawal . Yeah the person just talking to you just turned and walked away. A Web 2.0 celeb who is dropping like a rock is a blatant and rude social climber in that they’ll leave a conversation mid-stream for something better. Yikes! You may be a killer coder, and you can leave an IM conversation abruptly — but in a real room, you can’t.
4. Don’t eye-scan the room. The Weakest new Web celebs are always eyeballing for the hitters they think they need to talk to, so they “shoulder surf” while talking to new people. Stop eye-scanning and be in the moment with your new admirers.
5. Love the ones who love you. Weak celebs snub fans all the time because they’re embarassed as to who loves them. Ugly fans can buzz, click, talk, email, IM and sms, too. And if you offend, they’re more likely to do so than your more “adorable” fans.
6. Not showing up in spirit for the event. If you’re not feeling it, maybe you should get some rest and rally yourself. And even if you just “stop by” an event, thank your host before you jet out the foodservice entrance.
7. Always be rising. It’s dangerous to not know if you are still peaking, or if you’ve peaked. But here is one good way to tell: As a Web 2.0 celeb, if you’re not actively promoting, you can be sure your star is falling. Every event is a chance to pump up your stock and standing.
8. Big pitfall is speaking to your trolls (i.e critics). Your fans ignore the trolls so you should too when you’re addressing the audience.
9. Don’t Assume the Room Knows You. It doesn’t matter if you’ve marquee billing, just got done with a keynote or even if your face is on the movie poster. Don’t assume
everyone at the party in your honor knows you. Assuming makes and a you-know-what outta you, and you.
10. If you’re not magnetizing, you’re repelling. You are competing for people’s attention. Charm them, someone else will. If you’re not charming them, you might as well be outright rejecting their core being. Bring them closer to you, or push them closer to others. One raises your celebrity, the other drops your star-rating.
10. Don’t be a Jerk. What we have here is a failure to reciprocate. Here is My Reciprocity Algorithm: ask at least 2 questions of people that come up to you to say hello.
11. Don’t fail to build a constituency in the room. Rooms have tipping points. Once a group of people thinks you’re an ass, you’re done. Conversely, you could be the stale breeze that blew in from Champaign, Illinois, but if people love you, they’ll promote you.
13. Inability to turn a couple of Frenemies a year into a friend.
Work a room with the idea that maybe someone who currently dislikes you will like you with a lil man-charm.
14. Don’t forget to engage your entourage Celebs who forget to introduce their entourage can’t switch outta guest mode or effen host. If you brought ’em, introduce ’em.
15. Let the Alpha be alpha. (Psst!: The host is always alpha.) If there’s an alpha celeb, “confront and kiss the ring” vs “dodge and bad mouth.” You are only allowed to badmouth when you’re 80+ yards away from the party venue. (Hey celeb 2.0 you’re the beta at funerals and weddings, too, because, you can’t be the corpse or the bride.)
CONTEST: Add your #1 Web 2.0 Celeb Misstep. Best submission gets first crack at my Web 2.0 Expo schwag bag. Find me in the Blogtropolis room following up my Ad-tech conference leads http://blogtropolus.eventbrite.com at Moscone until the Coca Cola and granola treats run out.
Larry Chiang is the founder of duck9 and a frequent contributor to Found|READ. His most popular posts include: How to Work The Room; and 9 VCs You’re Gonna Want To Avoid, and 9 Things Stanford B-School Won’t Teach You which he is turning into a book. Most recently, Larry wrote: 9 People You Meet at Y Combinator (and what you can learn from them).