I see social media folks who have, or don’t have the chops, called everything from guru, ninja, and thought leader, to strategist, heavy hitter, expert and beyond. With that being said, I’d like to keep this light on words and more on the visual of what some of those labels or designations mean to me.
I guess first and foremost, when I hear the word Ninja, this is what comes to mind..
So I’m not really feelin’ the whole “Social Media Ninja” thing..Do you know people who work like that? or go to client meetings dressed like that? I just don’t know if I ever would want to be called a Social Media Ninja, what about you? I can see it now, “This is Marc, he’s a social media ninja, he carves people up and destroys them with lethal precision…” uhh sweet, you’re hired.
Next up is the Social Media Guru
Is this the image that comes to mind when someone is referred to you as a Social Media Guru? Do you want to be a Guru? Do you know what the definition of a guru is?
A guru (Sanskrit: गुरु) is one who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area, and who uses it to guide others (teacher). (wikipedia) Ironically, look at this “other” definition:
In Western usage, the meaning of guru has been extended to cover anyone who acquires followers, though not necessarily in an established school of philosophy or religion.
Is it me or does that sound like a traditional definition of Twitter… which would mean that perhaps a social media guru might look something like this:
What’s the word, smarmy? The above Guru, may even have some sort of social media certification..Who knows? I know of one person who I could slap the tag of social media guru on, and it would fit, but for a myriad of reasons.
What about thought leader, what does that really mean to you? To mean when I think of a true thought leader this is what comes to mind.
But ironically if you do an image search on the term “thought leader”, all you get is a bunch nameless, obscure, people you’ve never seen before, trying to self promote themselves as a..you guessed it…thought leaders.
There are just a few, true, social media thought leaders, but I think my problem with the term lies in the fact that there are too many. We slap the label on people too quick. and the label is affixed based on false numbers. The problem lies in the fact that we have diluted it.
What about heavy hitter? Here is what immediately comes to mind for a heavy hitter.
Yep, The Bambino was a heavy hitter, because he was heavy and he could hit. I will let you at this point, come up with your own list of social media heavy hitters.
Then there’s the social media expert. I’ll leave it at this which I got off of Brian Cuban’s website:
Here’s a quick “Universal search” exercise for you, go do image searches for all of these terms mentioned above to see what comes up when you add the word social media to the front of them. You get some interesting results. Essentially, you get nothing, which means, Universal search aside, the labels mean nothing..Call yourself a social media unicorn if you want, just bring the results.
In conclusion, I would like for us all to go lighter on the labels and heavy on the results. Sort of like this last image. He might be the exception. He had the label and the results.