Social Media Elitists and the Recession: Taking Authority as Truth.

I
can’t help but laugh at some of the articles I’ve seen recently
published on some social media related websites. With the recent
economic trouble there have been a lot of people (self included) whom
have lost their jobs, and the “real social media experts
want to warn you about the “snake oil salesmen” It seems some of the
self-aggrandizing authorities on social media have deemed all those
without prior experience in the corporate world as unfit for employment
in social media. They cite overtly obvious examples of things to look
for in an employee that all involve prior work experience managing a companies social media profile.
With a typically generic delivery, they then go on to drop pearls of
wisdom like “personal use of social media is different than corporate
use” and “measuring metrics across many different platforms is
important” With dozens of comments praising the author’s insight, the
commenter almost invariably re-hashes some common sense point the
author made, further plunging the reader into the abyss of mediocrity.

Speaking
as someone who has worked in social media for a start up in the
corporate world, what really stands out about these blog posts are how
utterly trite and boring they are. There’s never any mention of
creativity, drive, or vision, but instead just the same logical
rationale anyone would use to determine if someone was qualified to
work in social media. The ability to measure ROI and use metrics really
isn’t that difficult. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist ( or even a
four-year degree for that matter) to see conversions coming from a
popular blog posting on Google Analytics or using Google Alerts
to see what’s being said about a company in the blogosphere. What is
difficult is to find people that have a clear understanding of the
site(s) that companies want to establish a presence on, have a creative
strategy on how to do so, and have the energy and ability to grow that
presence over the course of time.

Oh. And they should have experience. What?

These are the same people that were getting excited to see that “Tom” from MySpace
had sent them a message back in 2005. The landscape of social media has
been constantly evolving since then and anyone who leans on their
“years of experience” could quite possibly be a snake-oil salesman
himself. Search engine
and website algorithms change. What they were doing in 2006 to network
and drive traffic, in some cases, is no longer relevant today. In the
world of social media, past success is not neccessarily indicative of
future results, you must evolve or die off. The fact of the matter is
social media success is a constant battle with new players and rules
coming into the game everyday, and they are much more sophisticated and
crafty than the comments spammers of MySpace a couple years ago.

I
don’t know everthing, but I know an insincere attempt at sheilding a
job market with bad advice when I see one. Just because someone may
have never had prior work experience in a corporate enviroment in
social media doesn’t mean they are “snake-oil salesmen” These people
publishing these articles ought to be ashamed of themselves for not only
scaring business owners and hiring managers off potential hires, but
their overly simplistic, often lacking any original thought blog posts
that serve no purpose but to reaffirm their own standing as an “expert”
I would link to the articles I speak of but I don’t want to be accused
of trying to start some controversy to some how get more traffic to my
post and , quite frankly, I dont think these “established experts”
deserve a back link anyway. They produce garbage that contributes
nothing new to the subject at hand and I wouldn’t encourage any one to
go there and read it.

I say all this precisely because I have experience and I know
what it was like when I ( and every single social media “expert”)
didn’t. If someone didn’t take a chance on me, I would have never had
the opportunity to know what I know now, and what I’m telling you is
this: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Don’t listen to the
teachers, listen to the do-ers.

26 comments » Write a comment

  1. Haha, this is actually a great article. One of the things I’ve been noticing is apparently some out of work PR people have taken it upon themselves to brand themselves as social media experts. And apparently to be a social media expert you need to have at least 10 years of PR experience. These are the same people who get so upset at people like us that just have a passion for social media/social networking and have been their since the beginning (when they were most likely saying "Ew, MySpace, Facebook? Bah, its just fad, a bunch of high-school kids"), and that we’re not _really_ professionals like them, I mean they were EVP of PR at HugeMegaCorp for crying out loud!!! You can’t possibly know more than them!!

  2. I am not much of a guy who thinks in so deeply about web design but I think your post had some valid points in it. Like designers are forced to design stuff within the limited code available and not go beyond it, their innovation is somewhat limited but still I think Web Design won’t die! I agree that Amazon and other some big sites won’t have a blog but now a days it’s very important to have some sort of option available so people can quickly communicate their thoughts. I think Amazon if wants to shift it to that, they can get a customized CMS for themselves.

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