Confessions of a New Social Media Manager: 3 Steps to Owning Otaku

In his classic book, Purple Cow, Seth Godin introduces his readers to the idea of Otaku – something that is more than a hobby but a little less than an obsession. It’s a passion or idea that keeps you up at night. That thing that holds you by the throat and won’t let you go. 

Everyone has one. They just might not realize it yet. 

Seth didn’t make a concept up just to sell books. He took a Japanese idea that hadn’t been brought to mainstream America and educated marketers, changing the way the industry was done. (And I would argue laying the groundwork for the whole concept of inbound marketing). 

Here’s how you can manage your Otaku as a Social Media Manager: 

1. Clearly Define It

In a perfect world, our otaku has something to do with our jobs.  Everyone wants a job they can love, doing something they are passionate about. What is it about social media that captures your attention? It can be the social part of social media, the technology, or the ability to influence change.   

Spend some time looking inward and discovering what it is about Social Media that you love. Carve out a significant amount of time to ask yourself serious questions. Sit down, turn off all your electronics, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Why do you do what you do? Is it an excuse to Facebook all day? What is at the core of why you love your job? Write it down. This will keep you going when you face digital burnout. 

Come up with a statement that reflects your otaku and why you do what you do. Here’s mine: My otaku is storytelling. As a social media manager, I am telling stories online and empowering others to do so.  

Having this clearly defined helps me identify strengths and weaknesses that need help. It also allows me to have a reference point for when I need to say no to a project or client. 

2. Hustle Like Mad

Now that you’ve defined your otuaku, become an expert in it. If your thing is analyzing data to predict future trends, soak your mind in numbers. Become the best data scientist in your field.

Surround yourself with current experts to hack the learning curve. Read industry blogs. Go to industry events. Volunteer with industry organizations.  This isn’t rocket science.  You know this stuff. It’s doing it that will make the difference.

You can’t sit around waiting for opportunity to fall into your lap like a meteor from the heavens. Don’t act entitled. Recognize that now is the time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. You haven’t arrived. And by the time that you think you have, technology will change and you’ll be back to square one. Stay hungry and be teachable. 

3. Recognize Not Everyone Will Get It 

More than 90% of people won’t get your otaku. That’s completely fine. In fact, that puts the odds in your favor. Becoming an expert will poise you for success. It might not come today and it might not come tomorrow, but it will come.

It’s also important for you to define success for yourself. It’s not going to look the same for everyone, nor can it. Not everyone will become the next Guy Kawasaki or Mari Smith. That’s a good thing because the world doesn’t need more of them. The world already has them. The world needs you.

The world needs more people who are less concerned with becoming rockstars in the field who make lots of noise and more consumed by the idea of becoming experts and helping improve the quality of the industry. And people who are more worried about quality than they are celebrity. 

It’s important to realize that your otaku is only one aspect of your life. You can’t let it consume you. There are times when it will be healthy for you to take a step back. That’s okay. Carve out time for a social media Sabbath, where you are techno-free for a day. Your brain and your relationships need it.

How do you define otaku? What strategies do you have for letting your otaku influence your career?