Are skateboarders more saavy than social media experts?

What's the link between social media and skateboarding? Sometimes, social media experts will strike really poor bargains for their services - just like the early boarders who performed for stickers, decks and gas money.

I mean, in what other industry would thought leaders trade their hard-built reputation for a free camera, cellphone, iPhone or a free laptop?

A lot of social media experts are grinding out an identity as hard-working professionals - like the Social Media Group, or SHIFT, or H&K, or Crayon, or Converseon.

In skateboarding, there's a lot of people who have jumped on a deck and found a new image or sense of group identity. There are a few boarders that have developed the skills - on the deck and in the office - to build strong identities in the sport and personalities that are eagerly sought out by marketers.

Sure, skateboarding has always had a distinctly commercial element. Even with its roots in home-made equipment and the growing legends of local or regional skaters, the continuing perception of skateboarding as an underground industry is largely manufactured. Today, it is part of a mainstream image industry.

Social media, as a profession for consultants, marketers and public relations hacks, is growing into a mainstream industry. For every mis-step amplified by bloggers and journalists, there are countless small improvements being accomplished in large and small businesses, not-for-profits, community organizations and local governments.

Still, I'm really growing tired of leading bloggers, authors and consultants crowing about how they scored some more schwag. Let's keep this in perspective, people. Even community-access television can score $500 for a month's sponsorship.

At some point, we've got to stop behaving like the stoners at the back of the school. Even skateboarders figured out that pocket change was poor compensation for their brilliant footwork.

Image above from a 70s era Skate Safety video.

[tags] blogger outreach, schwag, social media, payola [/tags]