Social Media

Social Media Experts

Social Media Experts

I read an article today by Esteban Contreras entitled Never Plan on Hiring a Social Media Expert? Good Luck With That.” I’d like to play devil’s advocate to that article if you will. I encourage you to read his article because Contreras does present a strong view. Grant it, however, I completely disagree with most of what he says.

I do not believe that most people who claim to be social media “experts” truly are experts. I say that having been active in social media since the early days of LiveJournal and Friendster. While just saying those two names shows my age as well as how many years I’ve been involved in forms of social media, I do not claim the title expert. I have not been formerly educated in social media and most likely, neither has anyone who calls his/herself an expert. I do, however, believe that people will eventually be able to specialize in this field. Fifteen years ago, people probably viewed web design in the same light.

The line in the previously mentioned article that hits a nerve for me simply states: “I wish we could, but we can’t just become all-knowing over night.” That is exactly what people mean when they question the idea of experts. It is obvious that we can’t just be all-knowing instantly. No one can become all-knowing overnight.

So what exactly is JAM in relation to new media?

We are strategists. We concept, we plan, we execute. Brain surgeons do not have “expert” as their title on their diplomas, business cards, etc. Why should we? We are not experts by any means of the word. The terms “New media” and “expert” are perfect examples of oxymoron. We have, however, taken marketing and advertising classes, been put through several years of creative concepting classes, and planned marketing strategies. We have gained experienced in new media through both our own personal accounts as well as for other small and large businesses/companies. We do realize, though, that we still have a lot to learn.

And as far as the title Social Media Ninja goes, it doesn’t cause us to cringe…if the job is done with pure stealth!


Comments (4)

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    Matt Jun 7 2011 - 3:18 pm Reply

    I think that a lot of it has to do with terminology. You referenced how web design was treated 15 years ago – as something unknown. After all, who refers to themselves as a webmaster anymore (and did they really master the web anyway)? It’s just new territory that some people know more than others. The word ‘expert’ is ill-fitting, but yet appropriate within certain context. For example, in any organization, the bookkeeper may posses the most knowledge in money matters, but does that make them an expert? Yet, within their organization they are the expert in those matters. Unfortunately, until the new-ness rubs off (or until someone thinks up something more clever), I think we’ll be seeing more ninjas, experts, mavens, whizzes and magicians than otherwise.

    Good post!

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    aimee Jun 7 2011 - 4:14 pm Reply

    You’re definitely spot on with it being about terminology. I do know several webmasters- which makes sense because they were the master of their domain…literally. Get it?! Nerd humor. I guess the important thing here is that, regardless of titles, the strategies that are planned are effective and done in an efficient manner.

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    Kevin Jun 15 2011 - 11:25 am Reply

    Regardless of what these “experts” are called, Contreras’ main point is solid. Social media is a complex maze of public interaction, with pitfalls at every turn. It’s super easy for people with basic marketing backgrounds to delude themselves into thinking they can figure it out on their own. Newsflash Walter Cronkite….you can’t!

    Okay, maybe eventually you could….but there are currently a ton of professionals who have focused the last few years of their career on this niche market. True, some are bogus and out of touch, but many others are actually quite savvy, and have a HUGE head start on the rest of us when it comes to navigating the social media landscape. With your business at stake, it would be prudent to listen to these people.

    There’s a huge difference between casually using facebook and twitter for personal use, and positioning those sites as tools for promoting a business venture. Yes, it takes more than 3 years to become an “expert” at something….but wouldn’t you rather listen to someone who has 3 years of focused experience using social media as a marketing tool, instead of someone who has casual experience using social media to flirt with ex-girlfriends and post goofy pictures of themselves?

    For those hoping to use the internetz to help their business, I would highly recommend Scott Stratten’s book , UnMarketing (

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    aimee Jun 15 2011 - 10:10 pm Reply

    Thanks for the book suggestion, Kevin! It’s on our list of must-reads.

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