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You Are Not a Social Media Jedi, Ninja, Sherpa, or Guru
August 16, 2012 - 7:17pm

They are everywhere. On Twitter profiles, blog bios, and Facebook pages across the social media sphere, inflated social media titles are rampant. People claiming to be experts with social media as they bask in the warm glow of 7 Twitter followers. Seriously, they are found in countless numbers on the web. Some people are even promoting themselves as Pinterest experts. That's almost as funny as the consultants who are sure that Google Plus is going to be "the next big thing." It's an epidemic of throwing stars, mountain climbing gear, and lightsabers.

It's time to define some terms. What exactly do these titles mean and are they smart or silly? Here's a list of the titles that I see most often while browsing the social web:

  • Social Media Guru - One time, a very nice administrator of Indian descent called me his social media guru. That is the only time that I've been okay with being called a guru of anything. Guru originates from Hinduism. A guru is a religious leader. While you may be knowledgeable about social media, the odds are pretty slim that you are doing anything that is remotely connected to the actual meaning of the word.
  • Social Media Expert - Experts have highly specialized skills and knowledge on a particular topic. You joined Pinterest yesterday, you're not an expert. This one gets used more often than an Instagram filter.
  • Social Media Ninja - Ninjas are silent assassins. Usually, a social media consultant isn't in the business of actually eliminating their competition. Perhaps if you've actually studied Ninjutsu, and can tweet whilst hurling shuriken…no, who am I kidding. The only person who calls themselves a ninja is Seth Priebatsch.
  • Social Media Maven - Paging Malcolm Gladwell. Oh, reached a tipping point have we? Well, social media mavens go above and beyond by being trusted experts. However, I would hope that mavens are also experts at irony…trust me.
  • Social Media Sherpa - According to, a Sherpa is "a member of a people of Tibetan stock living in the Nepalese Himalayas, who often serve as porters on mountain-climbing expeditions." Do you match those criteria? No…then you are most-definitely not a social media sherpa.
  • Social Media Jedi - It has to be said: Star Wars is science fiction…and no one has any midi-chlorians. Move along.
  • Social Media Scientist - It's a jazzy title. However, why don't you just call yourself a communications researcher? Because really, that's what you're doing.
  • Social Media Scholar - Please refer to my comments about social media scientists and add a healthy dose of pretentiousness.
  • Social Media Champion - I wonder if people ever called themselves "fax machine champions?" While there are definitely people who champion social media at your campus, it's hard to take anyone serious who calls themselves a social media champion.
  • Social Media Rock Star - I get it. You want to play guitar and sing in a band. Who hasn't wanted to do that at some point in time. However, the same rules apply for rock stars as they do for champions - other people may think of you in that way, but it's not cool to call yourself a social media rock star.

What are your "favorite" social media titles?


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