Smanker: noun, 1. a social media wanker.  2. someone who claims to possess influence but in reality just complains a lot and does nothing.

Since my hope that the smanker contagion would die on its own seems to be in vain, I felt it was time I did my part by debunking the fallacy of social media wankers. In order to curb any future epidemics of smankery and the related disease of social media entitlement syndrome, I’ve also included a handy test to see if you’ve been infected.

On a serious note, the entire concept of a “social media influencer” is a sham. There are influencers who use social media of course, but their credibility is driven by subject matter expertise, not generically built on Twitter followers. For example, Robert Scoble is considered a subject matter expert on new technology, who happens to use social media as a tool. He didn’t wake up one day and claim to be a generic influencer. Outside of the world of technology, his subject area, very few people even know who he is.

Real influence is driven by envy, desire, and/or respect. We follow the actions and advice of those that we want to emulate, sleep with, or feel we can learn from. But there is absolutely no reason to envy, desire, or have respect for smankers, almost all of whom appear to be questionably employed as self-proclaimed “gurus.”

Think of the social media community as a high school. In this analogy, the smanker is the kid with the orange hair who is constantly pulling antics to get noticed. Everybody knows who he is, because he draws attention to himself. But nobody actually likes him, and he won’t get elected class president. He certainly isn’t going to drive any new trends.

Actually, that’s too generous. The smanker is like that kid after he’s been kicked out of regular high school and into adult education. At the remedial school, he actually seems popular, because they’re all rejects. But if you’re a brand using him to create influence, you’re basically going to influence a bunch of losers whose future of minimum wage jobs make them incapable of paying for your product.

Unfortunately smankerism continues to spread like the bubonic plague did across 14th century Europe and has even infected many of my own friends. In order to stop the smanker pandemic, I’ve created some test questions below (Jeff Foxworthy-style, if you’re unfamiliar) to help you determine if you might be a smanker.

  1. If you put your Klout score on your resume, you might be a smanker.
  2. If you think having a Tumblr page automatically qualifies you for a press pass, you might be a smanker.
  3. If you really believe the economy runs on “thank you’s” and not money, you might be a smanker.
  4. If you’re socially inept in real life, but popular on Twitter, you might be a smanker.
  5. If you think Mubarak was overthrown by Facebook and not by the blood of Egyptian revolutionaries, you might be a smanker.
  6. If your idea of an awesome vacation is going to 140 Conference, you might be a smanker.
  7. If you think “Liking” the Facebook page of a charity makes you an activist, you might be a smanker.
  8. If you’ve ever thought you could survive on Klout perks and social media schwag, you might be a smanker.
  9. If you claim to be an entrepreneur but six months in your “company” is still just a landing page, you might be a smanker.
  10.  If you’ve ever given the advice “be authentic and engage in the conversation,” you   might be a smanker.

And the bonus question, if you regularly post pictures like this on Facebook, you are definitely a smanker.

If you have failed the smanker test, please get yourself into treatment immediately. If you can’t shake the disease on your own, I strongly encourage you to ask your friends to stage an intervention. Thank you for doing your part to curb this epidemic.

[Illustration by Hallie Bateman]