7 Ridiculous Social Media and Media Relations “Expert” Labels That Need To Go Away

The following is a list of words that industry professionals are using to describe themselves on social media sites.

I am a social media/digital media/media relations..

1. Rock star

2. Fanatic

3. Addict

4. Guru

5. Ninja

6. King/Queen/Czar

7. Maven

In my opinion, these words are becoming more infamous than these overused press release terms that we all despise. Whatever happened to using terms like “student” or “professional”?

What else would you add to this list? Have you ever seen these descriptions in someone’s profile? If so, please alert your communities to stand up and take action!

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62 comments on “7 Ridiculous Social Media and Media Relations “Expert” Labels That Need To Go Away

  1. Nice job exposing all those terms; you’re right, they are all overused and meaningless.

    some other bad ones: “social media master” or even worse “trailblazer.”

  2. When I was job hunting in Social Media, here were two that made me want to hide.

    “Buckaroo”
    “Maverick”

    I didn’t receive a callback for either job, but between the two I hope for “buckaroo” mainly so I could form my own team and call them “Team Banzai.” I was planning to call everyone by nicknames like Perfect Tommy, Rawhide, New Jersey, etc.

    I had to stop and wonder, though, if the people in this marketing firm would have been geek chic enough to catch the references.

    Tee Morris
    Social Media Manager, Intersections Inc
    (Yes, that is my title)

  3. Loving the phrase “geek chic” Tee! Haven’t heard that before.

    How about these:

    Dominatrix (or Dominator, although that doesn’t conjure up any images)

    Enthusiast (actually a good one, doesn’t imply overrated opinion, just well, enthusiasm for the medium)

  4. Thank you so much for blogging exactly what I have been thinking -as I’m sure many others have been aside from the 3 above- for far too long.

    I suppose ‘titles’ like this follow in the footsteps of the nature of social media in the sense that it is all so egotistic and narcissistic. I am also guilty of all of the above 🙂

  5. My personal favorites (to mock): Maven, Gadabout and the extra-cringeworthy, Jedi. The force is NOT with you just because you watched Star Wars and gave yourself a title.

  6. I agree with you as a matter of principle because of the particular words you’ve showcased, but I think the traditional “teacher” and “student” terms are boring and dated. If you’re really trying to develop a cyber identity as some sort of new media specialist, then by all means be creative, but not corny, when coming up with some sort of moniker. The only acceptable time to use any of the choices in your list would be if I was referring to someone else and handing out a recommendation, and even then I’d probably only use 4, 6, and 7.

  7. I actually refer myself as “enthusiast”, I don’t think there’s any negative connotation to it. I wouldn’t focus too much on the wording of it, but I agree that some terms and definitions are just… annoying.

  8. Just saw this come across my inbox: “social media elite.” Made me cringe. Bit of an oxymoron as to the original intent of social media, at least speaking as a social media geek myself. Social media professional or social media practitioner. I like 🙂

  9. This is a post I like to read! “Maverick” is just an awful term for anyone … I think following the 2008 Presidential elections, it’s taken on a rather negative connotation, so I’d steer clear of that term.

    Another is the most basic one: “expert.” Honestly, who can claim they are a true “expert” in a medium that has only really existed in its present form for about 5 years? I’m sorry, but if you’re expert at something as vast as social media after only 5 years, this field may not be quite as deep and planned out as we thought it was.

    Here’s a novel idea: Rather than people calling themselves “experts,” or “mavens” or any of the other ridiculous adjectives they want to put in their Twitter profiles, why don’t they just list the truth: I’m learning like everyone else.

    Then again, that probably wouldn’t do much toward helping someone get a nice consulting contract with a company that desperately needs to have their backs patted for a job well done setting up a new Twitter account, but it would be nice to see.

    • I think ‘expert’ is ok depending on who uses the term. There are people in digital media who have been doing their jobs for quite some time and can be considered experts, IMO. But agree with you on your other points.

      Thanks, Keith!

  10. Having worked in the music industry when I was in my 20s, I find “rock star” the most ludicrous. Social media is nothing like the music industry and social media personalities do not resemble rock stars in any way, shape or form (talent, habits, clothing, personality, background, fame, etc.).

    I’m surprised not to see “Evangelist” on this list. That is overused as well and simply means “an enthusiastic user”.

  11. I am the social media director at my firm and I completely agree with this post. You wouldn’t believe some of the things I see on resumes. If I could add one term to the list though it would be “social media pole smoker”. That is the term a few of the employees refer to me as here at the office. To me though it doesn’t really fit as polls and surveys are only a small part of social media.

    Once the general public and even those in the PR field gain a better understanding of what social media truly is and all that it encompasses we will see these unsavory terms start to fade from our lexicon.

  12. It’s turning into some Chris Morris farce. I’ve heard the following social media descriptions:

    Wizard
    Meme-genie
    Warlord
    Tea-bagger
    Prophet
    Frontman
    Powertool
    Gazebo
    Tempest
    Meerkat
    Ballooneer
    Enhancer
    Optimiser

    These are all terms being used, here and now, at agencies that are charging their clients top dollar to do the equivalent of unskilled call centre work, but on Twitter and Facebook.

    Some of these things don’t even make basic sense.

  13. I have less of a problem with these when they are used ABOUT someone else, rather than oneself. I am one of the only people doing anything to do with Social Media in my company and I’ve been referred too as both a guru and an expert. Both make my cringe.

  14. Love that the list has expanded–there are way too many titles that complicate the credibility of social media communications. My pet peeve is “cheerleader.” Although I consider myself a social media proponent, I don’t recall using any pom-poms…

  15. This has a lot to do with people’s insecurities both on and off the grid. The intensified focus on personal branding fuels this even more. Everyone has a few insecurities about social media. Tacking on a snazzy title on Twitter or LI probably makes them feel safer or perhaps it’s because they have an unhealthy narcissistic personality.

    My issue with self-appointed statuses is that they don’t say anything about what you do. They certainly say something about your personality though.

    I don’t really know what being ‘social media magician’ entails but I’m sure it’s super important.

  16. I work in HR and have been dealing with this issue for quite some time now. Reading comment number 19 made me laugh because we had an applicant just last week refer to himself as a “social media power bottom”.

    Your post does a good job identifying the problem but What do you think is the solution to put a stop to all this?

    • I just think these people need to start realizing that these labels are not doing them any help professionally. Not sure if there’s more than one thing we can do – just have to keep publishing articles like this and hoping HR pros and other professionals help spread the word that these labels are awful for their careers.

  17. Makes me sick. Do you think it would do any good to bring this issue up to local politicians or government agencies? Are there any laws that regulate this type of stuff?

    Just trying to think outside the box bc this is truly becoming a real problem.

    Do you think it might work or would another route be more successful? Would appreciate your take.

    • I’d like to think politicians and gov’t agencies have more critical things on their plate than regulate the labels people use on social networks 🙂

  18. We had a resume come in where the person described himself as a “Social Media Lucky Pierre”. That’s probably the oddest one we have received. Although we did get a “social media gangsta” once too lol.

    I agree it needs to stop but I’m not sure government is the answer. Maybe a collective advertising campaign from the industry?

  19. I work at an agency where this has really become a problem. I have written to various SM sites to complain but they do not seem to be getting the message. Maybe if more of us started writing they would take action.

    Would you be on board for something along those lines? If you urged your readers and followers to take part we could generate quite a campaign.

  20. Being a member of the “Twitterrati” (spelling?) – Now having followers is like having the most friends on FaceBook in 2006 or in 7th grade…

    It’s the quality of your follow/followers that can have marketable value, not the quantity.

    Is there a way to rate/gauge/quantify the strength of ones followers? (deduct points for them using !!!! and ROTFLMAO and certain emoticons)

    🙂

  21. Pingback: Top 10 Quotes from “Top Chef” That Can Be Translated To Have PR Meanings « PR at Sunrise

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