Frank Zappa and the Rise of the Social Media “Guru”

Did you know that Frank Zappa predicted the rise of the social media “guru” nearly three decades ago? It’s true and I have the footage.

I uncovered the video below as I was digging around YouTube yesterday, looking for some feel good music from my younger days (see Joe’s Garage).

One video led to another and before long I was listening to Zappa discuss the decline of music production otherwise known as the rise of the “modern” music industry. As he spoke I began to notice more than a few similarities between the decline of music as it became more corporate and the rise of the “gurus” of social media; a self-appointed title that rarely describes actual experience or expertise.

Zappa’s main point really hit home: when the self appointed “experts” take over, people talk more about replication and safe bets. This aligns with my own view that to succeed in social media, many organizations need to throw some ideas out for the public to consume and see what sticks. If the decision to create a product or draft a policy is based on the tastes of the few, the fear of being unpopular, or the need to never fail, then you never really will break new ground and succeed.


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