In this episode, Lexie, Tim, and guest co-host, from our Cables2Clouds team, Tim McConnaughy, talk about the pros and cons of being engaging on Social Media.
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This is the Art of Network Engineering podcast.
In this podcast, we'll explore tools, technologies, and talented people. We aim to bring you information that will expand your skill sets and toolbox, and share the stories of fellow network engineers.
Welcome to the art of network engineering. I am Tim Bertino and I am joined by Lexi Cooper at Track It Pacer on Twitter. And I think there's seven or eight new social medias out there since last week. And I think you're on all but maybe one. What's happening, Lexi? Lexi Cooper Yeah, just if you want to find me, just look up Track It Pacer and I'm pretty sure I'm still the only person in the world with that handle. Thank God. I also own the domain trackitpacer.com. So you can't take it from me. I'm there.
What's the new one? There's a new one this week. Blue sky. Okay. I'm so tired. We'll talk, we could talk about this. Let's save it for the show. Welcome to the show.
And that voice you are hearing is, I'm supposed to say best-selling author, Oh Jesus. Tim McConaughey. That one was for Chris Miles. Tim, thanks for joining us. We got a special crossover episode. Yeah. We do that. This is like the, uh, you know, the, the MCU. This is like the ACU or something. What's new in your world? You're, um, you're planning that, uh, Japan trip. Yes. Yes, I am. I've already laid the money down and it's quite a lot of it.
but the family and I get to go to Japan in August. I'm looking forward to it. I'm gonna pay for it with all of my bestselling author money. I forgot to also introduce you as our chief Saki connoisseur now. Yeah. You've gone down that rabbit hole. I really, so, and I don't know, not to get us too far off the beaten path, but I'm one of those neurodivergent people that like, or ADHD or however you wanna put it, where...
When I get interested in something, it becomes my world for the next X number of times. This is my personality now. Yeah. This is who I am now. All right. So we're going to try to maybe kind of sort of not, but probably end up being controversial anyway tonight. And we're going to talk about all things social media. We're going to draw a line in the sand and say it's either good or either bad.
At the end of this. Entirely. And entirely. There's no gray here. It's 100% good or bad. And I think what we're specifically trying to cover tonight is what social media can or should or maybe not mean to an IT professional. So Lexi, this was kind of your idea. You have enough social media experience for 17 lifetimes, good and bad experiences. Why don't you kick it off with...
why you wanted to bring this topic up. Yeah. Okay. So it was really just a secret way for me to complain constantly about everything. No, I just, I saw, I've seen a little bit of this conversation on Twitter lately, like people talking about, you know, how much you need to be on social media as a tech professional, like how much you should versus how much you want to, what your purpose should be, like
There's a good discussion thread not too long ago that I saw where somebody was basically making the argument, you can have a perfectly successful, totally fine career in tech without being a content creator and all over social media, which is an absolutely true valid point. I feel like there's a lot of emphasis these days on people becoming these part...
time or unpaid content creators just to sort of, I don't know, demonstrate their skills and their knowledge in an attempt to set themselves apart from other candidates for jobs, for example, or just to network. And it seems like a lot of people are feeling the pressure and there's some resistance around these ideas. So I thought it would be interesting to talk about from all of our different diverse perspectives, what it means for us to be on social media.
You know why we all are individually on social media, the pros, the cons, things like that for, for your career. Right. So I'll say I was that person that you mentioned at the beginning of that Lexi for probably the, about the first 10 years of my career where I, I didn't leverage social media at all for anything career related. The biggest things I was doing was, was what people who have social media presences in IT are doing today.
talking about their certification journeys. I was really just doing like certification stuff and everything else was kind of keeping to myself. So yeah, I felt like I had a halfway decent career for those 10 years without being on social media. And then start going down the rabbit hole of just seeing, and I don't know if it's the social media algorithms or whatever, but you start seeing people pop up, you get into listening to podcasts, and then all of a sudden you're kind of engrossed in these...
social media communities for better or worse. And then, yeah, I really like how you called it pressure because that is, I put a lot of that on myself of, okay, I use social media, even this podcast and certifications, I always say that I use it as kind of like insurance policies because you've got a career, you've got a family, you need to be able to feed your family, keep them in a home.
I just have this pressure that you mentioned that if I lose my job tomorrow, I need to be able to jump into something as soon as possible and hopefully not feel like I have to settle, but be able to do something that I want to do. I feel like I leverage the social media, the content creation as just added insurance on top of work experience and certifications and that kind of stuff. So yeah, I do think pressure is the right word in that we almost, at least me, feel like...
while we enjoy it, we almost feel like we have to. And if we're not doing it, something is wrong and we need to fix that. I don't know, what do you, Tim, what do you think? I think you hit it pretty well. I spent a good portion of my career not doing social media just like most people. I mean, these days, of course, what we say right out the bat is, hey, you're new to tech, you don't have any experience. The first thing you should be doing is creating a tech blog.
and like blogging your journey, putting your labs together, getting the content out there, right? You guys know. And it's not bad advice, right? It's actually not terrible advice because in the absence of work experience, it's like the chicken and egg thing, right? And shooting off a little bit from the insurance policy thing, because I do want to get back to that and I agree with you. If you're just coming into tech and you don't have a body of work to lean on, what do you have? And how are you going to get that first...
job or first opportunity. And people need to see what that you're passionate. People need to see that you are interested, that this is more than a paycheck. And also they want to see the body of work that you have, even if it's not like a professional body of work. So yeah, I mean, that's a very good way to do that, to showcase what you can do and kind of show that passion in a way that you can do without getting that work experience and hope to get that new job.
But you're absolutely right, Tim. It becomes a... There's some pressure there, especially for those of us who have gone more professional in the content creation piece. And that's... I'm not necessarily including myself. I'm like half including myself in there because I think I've done like one PluralSight course and written a book or something. So I'm not like... I'm only done.
one Pluralsight course. I've only written one book. I'm not a professional. I'm sorry. I swear to God, I'm not trying to humble Braheglex. What I mean though is that, what I mean though is that like, dude, there's, you know, there's, sorry, one sec. You know that there's people out there who are like way more prolific, like just so far, like Nick Rousseau, for example, he's got like 40 Pluralsight courses, whatnot. I guess the point of what did it make though?
is that the more you do it, the heavier the pressure becomes to continue to deliver. If that makes sense. And I'm sure you even yourself, you know, having gotten into TikTok, you've got the TikTok alarm that goes off that says, ah, should I need to like stay current with, you know, you got to keep the engagement and you got to keep it going. Right. So anyway.
Not to ramble too much, but I would just wanted to say, like, I agree that the pressure is there, especially as you get further into content creation, the pressure to keep that train, the freight train moving is definitely piling on. Yeah, I, it sounds like all three of us have felt that pressure to some degree. So absolutely. I think it's interesting though, you know, something I was, I was sort of pondering the other day when thinking about this topic was
there's different purposes that we all sort of have in coming to social media. We've already covered one pretty succinctly, right? For a lot of people, at least these days, we're all joining social media or opening up a blog and then sharing it via social media. A lot of us are doing that so that we can showcase, like, hey, I know my stuff and I also care about it to a degree, a little bit of an extent farther than just my day job.
you know, dust my hands off, go home, which is what we're assuming like employers, I'm assuming a lot of employers still like to see that. I would make an argument that like, I wish we could all just like chill out and not have to like totally breathe our like jobs, but it's fine. That's another conversation. That's a treadmill. Yeah. But that's, that's one like very really good reason to put yourself out there, right? Is to like set yourself apart or at least show two perspective employers.
now or in the future, right? Like I'm passionate about this. I could be a good employee. I could be good at what I do. You can tell because you can see my work right here. And then there's like, you know, a few other reasons I think that people join social media. For example, I didn't join actually to like start a blog or showcase myself. I joined because originally I just wanted to connect with other network engineers who were not at the company I was working at at the time, because I felt actually pretty constrained at that company.
were a few network engineers who were great about teaching me some things, but I felt like I had a lot of questions about the wider world of networking that couldn't be answered by the network engineers at my company. And so I wanted to connect with others. And I found that first on Reddit and then discovered Twitter was really big for it. So that's how I sort of got involved. So I wasn't really there for a super professional reason other than like, I just wanted to talk about stuff and like...
meet other network engineers. I guess that sounds professional, but it was more casual for me, I think, in the beginning. I also think that some people join social media in a tech professional capacity for another reason, which is professional content creation. Especially these days, I think that's getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And by that, I mean, people want to make money off of their content, not just work a day job and do it as a hobby, but
actually make money. And so when you're on social media for that reason, your goal is a little bit different than maybe someone who's looking to just connect with people and human network, or somebody who just wants to be able to say like, hey, here's my work, check it out, maybe prospective employers. I feel like the person who's there to make content mainly is going to take a few more risks. They're going to behave a little bit differently than maybe your people who are out there to be super professional.
Right. Yeah. And that's been interesting to experience all the differences. You know, we've got we've got legit content creators out there. We've also got like, you know, career coaches, quote unquote tech coaches. Like, I can teach you how to make six figures in two months. You know, like those kinds of interesting boot camps and things. A hundred bucks an hour. I'll teach you anything. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So it's it's it's been interesting for me to watch.
the different behavior of different people based on what their purpose is on social media. And you can't always tell exactly what their purpose is. They don't state it necessarily. But looking at the behavior, you can tell. So I mean, there's a brand, right? Like everybody's got I say everybody that's not that's not accurate, right? You see it obviously very clearly with the professional, the people who are creating content professionally, they tend to have the logo and like they've done the production value. You know, it's an investment for them because they're trying to get the money back on it. But I think
you know, anyone who creates content creates whether they want to or not some kind of a brand around what they're creating, right? Like, I mean, you're, again, some people are very, very specific about it and very, sort of like, deliberate, deliberate about it. Like they know what the brand they want to project looks like. And then there's people like, you know, me and you who just like create shit and if you like it, you like it, whatever, right? We are generally
there's a brand whether you want there to be or whether you deliberately go build it or not, right? Yeah, I'd say Nick Russo, you brought him up earlier, is that prototype of being deliberate. In fact, we had him on a previous episode of Ways Back and that was one thing he had as a piece of advice was that know who you are, know what you're good at and what type of content you're going to put out and what presence you want to have. Be deliberate about...
who you are and how you want people to see you. Because I think it kind of goes back to the credibility thing. Credibility, and I think Andy's brought this up before too, credibility is so difficult to get yet so easy to lose. Once, once somebody sees you as not a reliable or credible person, it's really hard to get that, that trust back. So yeah, I do think that just like with anything, it takes all kinds, right? There are people that have like Nick, that have that deliberate presence in, in content and there's...
people like me that just either blog about whatever I'm thinking about that day or, or what, I mean, it takes all kinds during the world. Yeah. I created, this was years and years ago now, but I still have a pin to the top of my blog. It's like the 10, you know, best advice or rules or something for network engineers. And the very first rule is guard your credibility. Because like you said, like it's so you lose it immediately, right? And you never get it back.
once you've wasted it. So if there certainly if there was any, and that's true of branding as well, right? Like what, do you guys remember or maybe you didn't or see it on Twitter at some point? A few months ago now, there was a tech training, one of those tech training bootcamp scam things or whatever. And, you know, it came out, this person was basically just like stealing content and faking the whole thing. And it was just like a complete shit show. And that entire brand was dead overnight, right? I think that
know, it is what it is. It's so easy to lose it. And it's like, yeah, anyway. Yeah. There's so many of those out there too. I guess every, everything's going to have, there's always going to be grifters out there. Right? It does seem like it's on the rise. A lot of these like boot camps, something that bothers me about sort of along that vein, obviously the boot camps that are scammy, right? But like we have a lot of people.
I see sort of on the periphery who advertise their services, right? They're like charging for mentorship basically. But based on the fact, which I don't inherently disagree with, by the way, but it's based on the fact that like their qualification is that they make six figures in salary and that is their entire personality, qualification, that's their brand. I make six figures, pay me more money.
So I can tell you how I make six figures. And that really bothers me for a number of reasons, but the main one being just because you make six figures doesn't make you qualified to be somebody's life coach. And I feel like that's kind of a weird, like a weird toxic, I don't know, vibe. It's a toxic thing, sort of predatory almost. A lot of people with these boot camps and the like pay me money so I can tell you how to make six figures.
they're preying on people who really want to make like a better wage. And there's nothing wrong with wanting to make a better wage, right? But like, it's a really weird vibe and I don't like it. It's prosperity gospel. I was trying to remember like the term for it. It's prosperity gospel, right? Like the Kenneth Copeland thing, you know, that type of thing, you know, CBN, except of course with the, not the religious piece of it. They're instead that's the...
I'm, you know, you see me, I'm always taking pictures in my, in my amazing cars and all of this, so this could be yours, right? But it's, it's absolutely prosperity gospel. And you're right, it's prevalent. And it's more, and it gets more prevalent, but I think, do you guys remember like, right around the beginning of the pandemic when everybody was doing work from home and tech just exploded, right? Like for the tech as an industry, like everybody was getting into tech, you know, and with...
you know, with chum come sharks, if you will, like, you know, like, there's a lot. So it really, really took off. And I haven't seen it as much, but it is it's getting I think, I think it's just going underground a little bit, like it's still there. And, and, you know, there's still all these people.
out there with the life coach or the career coach or mentorship or paid, you know, pay me. And it reminds me of the old real estate thing where, uh, you, you know, like the two in the morning when you can't sleep and you see the little infomercial about, you know, read my book and I'll teach you how to make exactly Twitter threads like that. Oh yeah. I do. So I do agree with you, Lexi, in that I, I don't inherently think that that's wrong. I mean, there is this whole concept of.
how you as a person value yourself and your time. Because there are people that write for a living and that's, we do that all the time. We do the podcast. We, AJ has a lot of zeros in our salary, but they're all to the right of the decimal point. But there are people that do that for a living. So I see no issue with people valuing their time and putting a dollar figure.
to it outside of the nine to five. But I agree with you, the predatory thing and the follow these steps as long as you pay me this and we'll get you to everything you ever wanted. Yeah. I'm less okay with that. I have to give some voice to Mr. Andy Lapteff, who unfortunately could not be here this evening with us, but I know he wanted to be and he had some great thoughts on this. And you know,
I don't want to put words in Andy's mouth, but I think the gist of some of his thoughts that he expressed to us earlier was basically like, Andy's such a great person. He just wants to help new people to the field. And so he basically expressed that he feels almost like an obligation to help people who are asking for mentorship and things like that, to help them learn because he had people help him come up in the industry. And so he wants to give back.
I think that's the one. So that that sounds like, you know, it's part of his motivation for being like out there on social media, right? I think that's just such a wonderful thing. So shout out to Andy for being an awesome person. I think that is a wonderful reason to to be out there, right? Actually, that's that brings me to something else was thinking about social media, which is this. One of the reasons I think we feel we all believe that social media is toxic is because you know, you get the
what's the psychological word for it or whatever. Basically, you only get to see the grass is greener and everybody else's, you know, and everybody's life, right? Nobody's posting the, you know, here I look like shit at 530 in the morning, right? You know, it's always the hair did and the nails or whatever, like the freshly shaved beard that I don't have and stuff like that, you know?
makes other people think like, oh, my, my life isn't this cool, right? And we all know it. And yet we're all still affected by it. Isn't that weird? Exactly. Yeah, that I think that's the most difficult thing is we know how true that is. But it doesn't matter. We still let it get to us. We do. I feel the like Instagram effect sometimes from like people posting about their certs. Like, I actually I love that people are proud of their certs. And I, I don't feel like it's a toxic thing to share that but it's still
It's a similar effect, right? Like when you're on Instagram and you see people like vacationing and doing things that wealthy people do or whatever, you feel jealous, right? And it's the same sort of thing with like certs and tech and like, you know, that, that whole like tech money, like sort of toxic things into that, right? Like here's my super fancy car I got with tech money, pay me money so I can tell you how to get that, you know, like that kind of thing. It's an, it's a complicated dynamic out there now.
Yeah, I would agree with that. And it's true also of any of any platform you're on, right? Pick a social media platform like Instagram or Facebook, Twitter, whatever, right? It'd be really boring if everybody just posted like every second of their life. It would just be too much, right? But that's the point. We tend to post the things that are good in our lives. And, you know, people get that feeling like, hey, this isn't, nothing's good happening for me, right? Like you said, it's a jealousy thing, even though we know it's not that.
It's not really that way. So, yeah, I think that's a reason why, you know, a lot, there's some resistance, obviously to like, you know, that Twitter thread I mentioned earlier, where people were talking about, you know, you don't have to be on social media to have a successful, fulfilling career, right? Absolutely true. Um, I think it's just a choice that you can make based on what you want for your life, right? You could, you can also choose between social media platforms. For example, if you don't want to get into like.
the weeds on everything and all the shit basically. You don't have to join Twitter. You could just be on Discord, for example, in a community just for the one thing and you don't have to deal... There's things you can do. So I guess it's good for us to say you don't have to be on social media in order to be successful, but if you want to, there's pros and cons about it that maybe we should all consider. And I think we've touched on a lot of those already, but...
for, I mean, for me, I didn't get started in true social media. I mean, I guess everybody was on Facebook back in the, you know, 2000s or whatever. But for me, for tech social media, my first one was actually River, which is now defunct, like sort of weird chat thing. It's where Router Gods had started, right? So I got recruited to Router Gods. And that was, I don't think it's funny, because I don't think of it as I think of like Twitter and Instagram and Facebook as social media, but, but chat type.
stuff like discord. I mean, it's totally social media too, right. But that's, that's where I got my start and it was a community thing, right. It was a tech community. I was studying for my CCIE. It was a bunch of the people studying for their CCIE. But it, I don't know, it feels different when it's a community than it, even though it's like Twitter as a community. I don't know. Yeah, it does feel, you are. Yeah, it does. It is a different vibe. It's, I mean, the, our, our, our community, it's all about the journey, right?
that is an open community where we have an invite on our website, anyone can click on it and join. But it's still, at least to me, it still feels like a little bubble of it. It doesn't feel totally just open to the world. I don't know exactly what that is, but I guess it's just anybody who's in there joined for a purpose versus anybody who's on Twitter isn't necessarily there for the exact same purpose you're there for. That's true.
types or different ways of treating social media. And I'm glad you brought up the, it's all about the journey community because that, that seems almost more closely related to human interaction to me than like the, the feed type social media is like Twitter, like Facebook. And I kind of want to get both of your takes on this because when we had Russ White on, he, I think he did like his doctoral dissertation or something along the line toward his education.
about how social media has really turned human interaction into a bunch of these just transactional interactions versus maybe having really heart-to-heart communications where once you go to social media, it often seems like we're just, everybody's in it to just get something out of the other person. There's a really good, I think it's an Amazon Prime show that came out a few years ago, it was called Upload and they...
It was kind of about the future and in the future when people die, you can actually preserve your loved ones as AI and they would live in this artificial intelligence world. One of the things that came out of that was that anytime people would interact with each other, they would find each other via social media app. Every time they would part ways, they would say, okay, good talking to you. Leave me five stars. And it's just...
How do we humanize social media? Otherwise, I think we're just going to kind of, I know I'm going off the deep end, but we're going to kind of keep drifting apart. So what do you guys think about that? And we're trying to solve the whole world with that question. I love it. How much time do we have? No, this is where I have a lot of thoughts. Okay. And this is where I start maybe cursing a lot. So I'll just say this, I'll try not to go on too long. I have noticed...
After joining TikTok in particular, Twitter also is not very conversational, right? But you can make it that way if you really try. But I'll say fucking TikTok, dude. I complain about TikTok so much and I continue to post on there. So I'll just say I'm a complete utter fucking hypocrite. But TikTok, fucking TikTok, something is wrong with it because or wrong with how people use, I don't know, there's a lot of mean people on there. What I'll say is like...
I feel like in the recent past, with Instagram and stuff, you'd see these really popping off posts, right? They'd have tons of engagement, tons of comments, millions of views and likes and all that. And you'd see at the bottom of these posts, in the garbage area, just trolls saying awful shit, right? But no one's engaging with them. No one's interacting for the most part. And you're almost definitely sure that the...
creator of that post, you know, that got went viral or whatever is not even paying attention to those shitty comments because they've been inundated with all the other engagement that this post has gotten. Right. I feel like that's how I'm used to seeing like really shit comments for the most part, or like, you know, commentary from awful people. And now I feel like on TikTok, I'm just seeing all these really tiny small creators, or just just people just posting about their lives getting just absolutely shit on.
by the general populace on TikTok. You don't have to be a huge creator in order to have those kinds of comments anymore. And what struck me, I wasn't ready for it on TikTok. I'll say this, if you're going to start posting yourself doing technical content or anything, if you're going to start making it for whatever reason, get fucking ready, especially if you're going to be on TikTok. And especially if you're a woman. It fucking sucks.
I wasn't ready for it. I was used to Twitter and like my nice little bubble. And I've been able to block the few people who've been really bad. And for the most part, the community rocks, right. And then I went on TikTok and it was just absolute garbage for the most part. Why? Just run off the bat. Why do you think there's a difference there or do you know? Cause I personally, I'm naive. I don't know why Twitter would be different. It's the engagement model. Yeah. I mean, it's the swipes.
Yeah, it's the swipe. It's just people. I also think that for, I don't know, I sound like, you know, old lady yells at cloud right now, but like, it feels a lot like people are forgetting about the human behind the content, right? And like, I've actually, I'm really mean to people who leave rude comments to my stuff, which is not a great way to keep your mental health in check, but I'm super mean. When someone just leaves a slightly rude comment, I'm like, fuck you, go die, right?
I get really annoyed. But like, I seriously so I have actually said that to a number of people who just like leave rude comments and a number of them have act not all of them, but a shocking number of them to me have responded and been like, Oh, I'm sorry. Like I just I just commented without thinking or like some people will make some kind of half excuse like, Oh, you know, like I just I forgot like I didn't I'm, I just don't have a filter. Sorry, you know, like I'll actually get some responses like that. Not all of them.
Right. And that actually surprised me a lot. It's like people don't even realize what they're doing when they're leaving shit comments. Like I get so many gross comments sometimes I can always tell them my video hits the non-tech audience because then it's really awful. Right. But if I respond to some of them, some of them actually do come back and say, whoops, I wasn't thinking. And I'm fascinated by that and horrified. There's a psychology to it truthfully. Like, I mean, there's been so many studies done on social media and Tik Tok. If you think about it, it's really distilled.
the engagement formula, you know, the swipe model, the shorts, like it's, it's like dopamine hit after dopamine hit. Like you just, you keep swiping and I mean, I've done it. I've caught myself like, fuck, why am I even looking at this app? And then I'll look up and I'm like, Jesus, it's been like 15 minutes. What the fuck did I even look at for the last 15 minutes? You know, because it's just, it's hit after hit. Like it's new content every five seconds that you could just swipe up to.
And it's, it's with our brains, like not even joking. There's something there that's going on. And I, I, I'm torn because I do think it is the future of social media for better or for worse. Right. I'm not really passing a judgment exactly, but like it is the future of social media is where we're going. Unless we like legislate that model out of existence, you know, we can't just let's legislate an app out of existence. We have to change it. Right. And I don't see that happening. Um, I have two girls and.
You know, one of them is 14 now and I see her use TikTok and I'm just like, the fuck is this thing doing to your brain? Cause like, I mean, there's so many studies that have shown the, the, the extreme, extremely bad results of, of like using social media, especially for kids and for young girls who got to forbid they ever post anything. Holy shit. Right. Like I'm very strict with her. Um, actually she likes the, to be honest, she actually likes the YouTube shorts more than.
TikTok, but it's the same fucking thing, right? YouTube shorts, it just came out with it because TikTok. Instagram has the same thing, yeah. Right. The real, reals are everywhere. Really, even if you're not posting anything, if you're just there looking at content, it's crazy how, and I'm a grown ass man, I know better, but it's crazy how you can, I will pick up my phone to look at what time it is, okay? That's my sole purpose for picking up my phone. Okay. Unlock it. And I don't even have to unlock it.
to see the time. But I see the time and it's like I look right through it because I don't even actually register in my head what time it is, the reason I picked up my phone. And I'll hit the social media app and I'll recognize like probably two to five minutes have passed and I'm just scrolling. And it's like, I don't even realize I'm doing it. It's insidious. Oh crap, I just lost two minutes or whatever. And I'll put my phone down and I'll put my phone down and go, I didn't even look at what fucking time it is.
Yeah, I fight a nickel man. That's it. It's the brain. Like I'm telling you, it's with your brains. It really is. So so a moral story, if you're going to. This is actually the moral story for me, at least from my point of view. Like if you're going to be a content creator, whether or not you're looking for money from it, which means you're looking for as many possible views and likes, et cetera, regardless of whether or not that's your goal or if you're just doing it as a hobby, like just get ready. If you're
I know most of our audience is male, so this probably doesn't apply to you exactly. But if you are a woman, get ready. I'm just saying like get ready. I could tell stories and I won't go on and on, but like it's rough. It's rough. I had a video get kind of popular in TikTok terms. I was just talking about different flavors of ethernet, like really short.
just like, here's some cute little, my favorite flavors of ethernet. And I got so much, like I got shit on so bad for that video for how I pronounce ethernet, for like the fact that I didn't explain enough about each of these flavors of ethernet. Some people just corrected me and they were wrong. Like they said that I called this... They were wrong. Like I gave the name of the standard or whatever. I think it was energy efficient ethernet. A bunch of people were like...
pissed off that I called it that. And it's like, go look at the fucking standard, man. Like I don't know what to tell you. You know, like you just get shit on a lot. But then at the bottom of all those comments where like those comments, I could see like maybe sexist but maybe not, who knows? At the bottom of all that and intermittently, like just a lot of specifically because I'm a woman, absolute shit. And it just destroyed my mental health for like a week and a half.
I'm just going to say it like if you if you're going to read all your comments, which you absolutely are, I guarantee you 100%. Be very careful and take care of your mental health if you're going to be a content creator, especially if you're a woman. That's my that's my rant. That's legit. Completely, completely legit. I mean, if you don't, and I'm sure there's some somebody out there who's like, Oh, that's bullshit. I woman X that I follow always gets great comments or whatever. Like, dude, go off the yellow brick road.
just a little bit and start to read the fucking shit. I guarantee you. Go look on any female content creator. I call them that loosely, honestly, not as an insult, but just because there's just women on TikTok, for example, who just like make videos and they get like 70 views and like that's their, you know, and there's nothing wrong with that, but they still get shit on, right? Like it's lots of women, right? Like I, sorry, go ahead. I could rant forever. No, no, no. Please stop me.
I was going to say now if you're like, if you're like one of the I was going to say woman but it doesn't really matter but like because of this is the video I always see in my head. If you're like the woman on TikTok that pours spaghetti sauce all over her granite countertop and makes like the you know like those you talk about what I'm talking about right the videos where they make the rage inducing videos where they like cook horrible shit.
I have wanted to do that for networking for so long, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do it in a way that would be visually hilarious like that, right? Like the cooking videos are so good. Right? It's just crap on the counter. Yeah. I mean, that's how you get engagement. That's engagement, right? You can get it through rage. Yeah. And it's a whole thing. There's a whole industry behind it now. Like, no matter where you go, there's some version of somebody doing something that you just want to yell at the screen, like, stop doing it that way or something like, you know,
And it's engagement. And I guess, you know, no press is bad press in that respect. It does, at least on platforms like TikTok and YouTube, like it does directly translated to money. So if you're fine with like laughing at it and you have a good sense of humor and you can like just not read the comments and do stupid shit like that, then, you know, go for it. You're going to get paid. Yeah. But I'm guessing most of.
Most of us out there are not there just to like troll and like make as much money as possible just by like doing stupid shit, right? Most of us are out there probably to like some combination of like, you know, put our blog out there, like professionally be visible, network with people, and also maybe like share some knowledge, things like that, right? Find a community. And now a word from our sponsors. A place where misconfiguration destroys lives. I trusted you.
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Give forward networks digital twin technology that models your entire network. Search every path and find vulnerabilities in seconds. forwardnetworks.com forward slash cables of our lives. And now back to the show. I like the phrase professionally be visible because I think that especially people first getting into technology, like it can be scary, right? The unknown and there's so many different rabbit holes you can go down.
And you keep hearing people say, well, you should start a blog. You should do all these labs and get all this gear and all that kind of stuff. And, and there, there can be a high barrier to entry, or at least it seems that way for a lot of this stuff. But I think another way social media can be used is to what you just said, Lexi is to at least be visible, find your people. Um, the, those, these discord communities like ours are great for that. Uh, Twitter can
can be great for that. And it's networking of people. We talk about it all the time. There's technical networking and there's people networking in that we've had multiple instances of in the, it's all about the journey discord of people getting employment. I mean, we're talking about tangible benefits by nothing more than knowing and connecting with people and not necessarily maintaining a blog, one blog a week.
podcast all the time, not even that, just explaining your interest to another person, connecting with that person. And then you end up, um, seeing good things come out of that. You got a new friend, you potentially got a new job. So, I mean, I think there's a lot of ways that even low barrier to entryways at social media can help and, and be beneficial that could be a good way to, to get in. And then as you go, you can start a blog if you want or not, like we've said, it's you don't have to do this stuff. Um,
to be successful. You know what I liked about, so way back before I was on the show, before you or I, Tim, actually we're on A1, there was episode four, I think it is, aired about building your brand, right? And I just think it's really funny. We haven't mentioned LinkedIn at all in this episode, but that episode was like almost entirely about LinkedIn, interestingly enough.
But some of the points in that episode, I think, stand well too. I remember Andy talking about just be a good person, right? And AJ too, they both emphasize, ultimately, if you care about your image on social media, be a kind person, help people out as much as you can, that kind of thing. I think that's pretty good general advice, especially if you're out there just trying to find your people, like you said, right? So you don't have to be like this.
all powerful, all knowing content creator who like can make people laugh and you know, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You can just be like a dude and it's cool. Like just say hi to people and be nice. And like that actually does go a long way. So don't feel like you have to be, you know, the outstanding one all the time or like the one that, I don't know, has a bazillion followers in order to like network properly and meet some great people.
whether we want to admit it or not, the industry that we're in is actually extremely tight knit and small and like we're all six, you know, less than six degrees from, I don't know, Russ White, Kevin Bacon, whatever you want to call it, right? We all know everybody. We just don't know it yet. Yeah, it's white. Six degrees from Russ White. And I mean, that being said, I can't even believe we're having to talk about this, but it's like the golden rule, right? Just don't be a shitty person because- Don't be a dick. I mean, even, even if it-
it has to come to this, right? Like you said, Tim, especially in today's day and age where people are networking with everybody and you're going to find somebody with minimal degrees of separation. You may be interviewing for a job someday and sitting across the table from or on a video call from somebody that you may have given shit about in a TikTok video. And I mean, that stuff's just out there.
Oh yeah, guaranteed. No, but actually that reminds me of something else I kind of wanted to touch on without like trying to humble brag about this, but like I didn't set out to like get as much content engagement as possible when I first joined Twitter, right? And like my motivations have changed since then a little bit because when you get, for me at least, I've noticed like after I got past a certain number of followers, I've
somewhere around the 10,000 mark on Twitter, it was like something changed. And I no longer quite was... It didn't feel quite as much like a community for me. I still felt a lot of support from people, but it felt different. I can't quite articulate why. But anyway, one of the hardest lessons that I've had to learn is that after a certain number of followers, the fact of the matter is, a lot of them might be bots probably, but like...
The fact of the matter is after you get to a certain number of followers on whatever platform, especially on Twitter though, the simple act of you interacting with somebody else's posts can be catastrophic for them or really it can make their day also. The simple act of you interacting with a post will put that post in front of so many other people. Yeah.
try at least, I fail a lot at this still, but I've had to learn to be more purposeful in how I interact with things. I've caused a couple of shit storms that I should not have in the past by like, QT-ing somebody or just like, you know, trying to avoid the QT and then like screenshotting something and make it... I won't go into all of that, but like I've had to learn not to be a shit person in ways that I didn't.
expect. It's not always as simple as like, just be nice to people. Like if you're, if you're going to say something about something somebody posted, try to remember, I guess it's sort of like a power dynamic almost when you have the power to put their stuff. Oh yeah, yeah. I hadn't thought about that way. I hadn't considered that. Yeah. It just occurred to me. I made a really shitty, not very well articulated like TikTok video on this a little while ago, but I didn't post it to Twitter because I felt really self conscious about it. But like I...
I have had to learn that lesson that I can really fuck up someone's day if they weren't expecting the sheer amount of engagement. Even if I don't agree with them and I think they're not the greatest person, if they don't have a lot of followers and they weren't expecting all of that engagement, I can still totally fuck up their day when they didn't really deserve that. If I'm trying to gently correct someone on something or something like that and then people see it and they don't want to be gentle, that's my fault. If you do-
It it's it's it's a weird fucking thing. It's not intuitive. Like you wouldn't think of it. I Yeah, so if you're if you do end up joining social media, right and and you do end up getting like a significant following It's different for each platform. What is considered like a significant following? I'd say on Twitter like over 10,000 for sure is like when you have quite a bit of influence on where people's posts end up Just call me out. That's fine Yeah
This whole thing, this whole last couple minutes, I'm just picturing the scene in Gladiator, but it's Lexi sitting up on high with her thumb and whether it's down or sideways. Oh my God. No, I'm not trying to overinflate my sense of self-importance. I'm really not, but I did notice the reach of posts after I interact with them is different. Anyway, you need to be, if you're trying to, if you're truly trying to be a good person, you do.
have to think about stuff like that. That's not always intuitive and it won't, you won't be used to it because your following is going to grow slowly and incrementally usually. And so you have to get used to it over time. You have to keep this in mind. So that's my advice, like just be careful and purposeful about how you interact with stuff. And yeah, you're going to have to get used to the fact that like you can't really share as much or the same things as you might want. You might've in the past when you had fewer followers, like you have to curate your stuff a lot more. And that's probably a public figure.
Right? I mean, you become more or less a public figure for better or for worse at that point. Yeah, you open yourself up to a lot more people outside of the community or peripheral to the community. And when I say peripheral, I don't mean to be like an asshole. I just mean like people who don't really participate, but they might maybe work in tech or something, but they like don't aren't really like within, they don't engage in like the net edge community, but they will like cuss you out for like
pronouncing something wrong, you know, like that kind of trolly person, right? So- All hail the algorithm. That's a really interesting perspective. I would have never have thought of that. Now I'm not nearly the social media influencer that you are, Lexi, but I wouldn't have even thought that you can be at the level of following that you or other people have and somebody pops off a comment that maybe has 10 followers. And then all of a sudden-
you go back at them and all of a sudden they just have this huge negative following. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And it's hard to, sometimes I think it might happen and I'm thinking, shit, I probably shouldn't have said that. And then nothing happens. But then other times in the past I have done it and I've, you know, and then later it's like, Holy shit. Like you'll just see people just don't have accounts anymore. Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's, it's wild out there.
It's not just Twitter though. I think that's pretty much any social media platform. I love what you said about the power dynamic because it's something that is true, but I have never heard it articulated that way. And then when it's one of those things where it like snaps into place as soon as you hear it, you're like, oh shit, that's entirely accurate. Like if a celebrity, you know, quote, tweet some poor, poor guy, you know, misspoke, said something perhaps poorly in text, or maybe they were just being an asshole or whatever. Like they just called down the thunder, right? Yeah.
I've seen it happen on TikTok too. Like you can, you can, it's the equivalent of a quote tweet, right? Right? You can like stitch their videos, what it's called. Oh, react to their video, like on the left or whatever, is that the one? Well, that's the duet where you're on one side and there on the other, but you can also stitch it where you just like include a part of their video in yours and then you start talking about it or whatever. It's basically a quote tweet, right? Got it. Like more or less, right? And that can also cause some problems. So anyway, I just, you know, we, we have to be very careful on social media.
Um, I luckily haven't gotten in trouble for like job related stuff. I'm, I'm, I'm glad no one from my work pays attention to me cussing about, you know, 802.3 standard. I look like a idiot, but, um, yeah, he just, if you're trying to be a good person, just, just think about, you have to think about some other stuff as well. So I do want to cover before we end this is, is one really cool side effect of social media and IT and I don't know.
if there's a lot of this in other industries, but when social media can cross into the real world and when you can meet in person some of the people that you've been building relationships with online for quite a while. I mean, we had the A1 meetup last year where Tim, we all got to meet you. I got to meet Lexi for the first time. Before that, I got to go to Vermont and hopefully not get
I wasn't 100% sure if he really did exist at that point, but it's all fine. There's other communities and groups out there like the Tech Field Day group with Tom Hollingsworth, Steven Fosket and company. I've gotten to participate in that and you get to meet these people that you've been conversing with. I go back to the A1 meetup and also networking field day when I got to meet people like Gerard and Tim and Lexi.
It's crazy. I'm pretty sure with every person that I met that I knew via social media communities, that kind of thing online, it didn't feel like I was meeting them for the first time in person, even though I was, and it was kind of wild. So I don't know what causes that, but it was pretty cool. Not to, I don't want to leave it on such a bad, uh, you know, social media sucks and never use that type of thing. Cause what
I was just thinking of something like I was thinking of like situations or examples of where social media fucking like paid off, you know, like just really fucking came through. And one that I always go back to and this one's years old now is and I think it was on Reddit. I don't know. I used to at one point go on Reddit. I don't anymore. But anyway, it was something like there was a kid and maybe you've seen this or maybe you haven't, but there was a kid who built
built a full arcade in his dad's garage or his grandparents' store or something. And it was all out of cardboard stuff. I had a pinball machine made out of cardboard and stuff and somebody had taken a video of his cool little arcade thing where you'd pay him a quarter and you could play all the arcade games in this little arcade game that he put together. Anyway, so the point is, he was lonely because nobody knew about it. And then somebody posted
the hounds descended upon his arcade. And the joy in this kid's face, right? When all these people were lining up to play all his little arcade games that he put together, dude, like, there are definitely times when social media can pay off. And we're the whole the community, the community is a real community. It's not full of shitheads and assholes, right? And those are the I think those are the moments that pay off that really kind of make make it all worth it, I guess, to be sound cliche about it.
got my current job by being around on social media. I think it was a Twitch stream and or Twitter that really got me this job. And that's another story, but it allowed me to be found and I wasn't doing anything very engaging when this person found me. I was streaming myself. I think I was still studying for the CCMP at that point. Yeah. And this person just saw me basically just sitting there reading out of a book being like, I don't fucking get this. Cisco Press has so many...
God damn typos. This is stupid. Right. And they still, they, you know, and they still reach out to me and, and, you know, long story short, I'm, I'm where I am now. So, uh, besides all the wonderful things like the community, obviously, right. Like we all agree that that is an amazing part of the social media experience for us. But, um, yeah, you can, you can definitely get opportunities through social media that you would not maybe have otherwise gotten. So that's awesome.
Any of you guys probably otherwise, right? I mean, there's a lot of, there's a million stories like that, right? Where, you know, people wouldn't have met, uh, you know, there's people that obviously have gone through all relationships and all that other stuff as well. I mean, again, social media by itself, I think is not bad. I do think it can be bad, obviously. And I think the, um, a lot of the algorithm and the ad driven and the, the monetization and the, not just the monetization, cause there's nothing wrong with making money on a platform.
but the, what happens to create the monetization or how it's pushed towards to create that monetization, that is where things tend to get toxic and disgusting. I think. Yeah. It's so easy to be either a really cool or a really shitty person on social media because you don't have to face somebody. You don't have to leave your couch. It's just, it's all at your fingertips for the good and the bad. So I think it's, social media is definitely
a give and take relationship. You just you got to hope good prevails at the end of the the arc of the universe bends towards justice. Hope that's true. I'd say I'd say overall, my verdict is that it is worth it. As long as you're just like a little bit careful, a little bit intentional. What is your verdict? I agree. I I'm starting to learn a little bit more as my career and life progresses that.
thinking about things before you jump into them is, is not a terrible thing to do. Um, having not overthinking things to death because I tend to do that as well, but at least having a high level idea of why you're about to do something or why you're going to type something or why you're going to write a post or not. I mean, either way, just having some sort of, of intention. And so you can kind of avoid some of the comments and things that you mentioned earlier, Lexi, where people just.
you know, diarrhea of the mouth, for lack of a better term. And then later on say, oh shit, maybe I shouldn't have said that. So yeah, I'm all for being intentional. Yeah. I mean, I tend to think that it's a, it's a good thing. I do believe you get out and this is more on the like the discord side or the, you know, whatever the community side. I think you definitely get out of a community, what you put into it, you know, how many people just show up, lurk, never say a word and then just kind of.
disappear or whatever. When you put something into a community or social media or whatever, you tend to get more out of it. Now, it's not always good, especially if you're a woman. But generally, again, I think the arc of the universe bends towards justice on this as well where the more you are out there and engaged and involved and doing things with the community, the more that community will embrace you.
all of my stuff with like, it sucks to be a woman on social media. Everything is awful. I do want to say the NetUnch community, I mean, just absolutely phenomenal this entire time. I've never felt so supported. I complain about TikTok being terrible, but I think part of that is y'all are just not all on there. If y'all were on there, it'd be amazing. Yeah. I would say like, luckily, there's toxicity in every group. But I mean, I think it's just
I have absolutely loved being a part of the NetEngine community out there, you know, on Discord and Twitter and everything. So y'all rock. Thanks for being amazing and supportive. Well dear listeners, we hope that you got something out of this other than just anger and angst. We, I feel like we, we talked both sides of it pretty well. I do think we did bring up some things that aren't normally talked about the whole thing that you were talking about Lexi with the, the power dynamic and into.
really be intentional about what you're going to post and who you're going to potentially fire back at could have implications. And that's definitely something that I had not thought about. So hopefully we gave you all something to think about. I know I've got a few more things to think about. If you do not agree with anything that we said today, please tweet at Andy Laptev on Twitter. He would be more than happy to field all of your
feedback and constructive criticism. He loves that. So please get right. He explicitly told us that before we recorded today. Thanks, Andy. Appreciate that, bro. This was a fun one. Thank you to my co-host, Lexi and Tim for joining me. If you want to check out more about A1, find us at artofnetworkengineering.com, at artofneteng on Twitter and all the other places. Definitely check out.
cables to clouds, cables, clouds.com at cables to clouds on all the socials as well. We had a fun one with this one. I like having these kinds of episodes. Definitely we've been trying to get into more technical concepts, but this is definitely something that I think hits home with everybody in the IT fields and communities on a daily minutely basis because
It's all at our fingertips.
at Art of NetEng. That's Art of N-E-T-E-N-G. You can also find a bunch more info about us and the podcast at artofnetworkengineering.com. Thanks for listening!