Last week, PR Daily
ran a story about the 12 most ridiculous social media job titles
Ridiculous is right. How did we become an industry that thinks it’s cool to call our professionals things like “Ant Colony Foreman,” “Chatter Monkey,” “Public Happy Maker,” and “Chief People Herder”?
Are we doing ourselves any favors by adding ridiculous job titles when we work in an industry that most people don’t take seriously?
PR is largely misunderstood, considered “publicity” at best and “spin” at worst. Community management is often considered little more than building a Facebook fan page. Attempting to claim any sort of social media expertise just begs for backlash from our colleagues.
Many of us still struggle to get our bosses to take social media seriously as an important part of our overall communications and marketing strategies. These are the people likely to shake their heads and laugh at even the thought of hiring anyone with a title on that list.
Companies that think it’s a wise idea to build entire positions around social media alone are often putting too much of a premium on that tactic and ignoring other crucial aspects of well-rounded marketing. Perhaps they are hiring people with very narrowly focused skills—a dangerous risk to take with someone speaking publicly on behalf of the company or your client.
There is a time and place for having fun in business, and in many cases a company culture is built on a casual, human vibe. There are myriad companies that like to do quirky things just for the sake of being different and getting a reaction.
But if you met someone at a bar and asked this person what he did for a living, and he said, “I’m a professional chatter monkey,” wouldn’t you shake your head? Imagine how clients or prospects feel, particularly when they’re less experienced in the space and coming to you for help.
What’s right for one company or one employee won’t be right for everyone else; likewise there is no blanket statement about social media job titles. But try to put yourself in the shoes of the person paying you real money to accomplish business goals through social media before you decide to get business cards printed up with “digital cowboy” below your name.
If we want people to start taking our skills seriously and value the money they’re spending on social media, let’s start acting like we’re worth every penny.