Are you a Social Media Ninja or Rockstar? 2

Find Your Social Media Title

If you’re a company looking to hire a social media professional, you’ve probably come across some interesting titles. I know it’s been difficult to keep up with the latest titles so I thought I’d clear it up and provide some guidance what a social media rockstar or ninja actually does. Below is a handy guide:


This expert title sounds pretty bland nowadays compared to the others but this was the first label bestowed upon anyone who had a Twitter account and could use the term “tweet” properly in a sentence. Its still bantered about often these days by traditional types and is a generic descriptor of someone who has actually been paid to be on Facebook. There are a lot of them out there with varying degrees of business acumen so be smart when hiring one of them. (see How to Hire for Social Media)

Social media Gurus have certainly contributed to the quantity of online conversation but there’s not much to be said about the quality.  Sure they constantly re-tweet Mashable and Chris Brogan’s  posts but who doesn’t these days. According to Gurus; social media is a spiritual quest which can only be obtained through liking and following others in addition to having 500 mayorships on Foresquare.  So if you want to reach social nirvana hire a Guru which will guarantee you spend lots of money and have very little to show for it.

Amen brothers and sisters! All hail to the social engagement gods and let the digital spirit take you to majestic mountain tops and a higher Klout score. If you haven’t drank the social media kool-aid yet you obviously haven’t seen one of these social media ministers speak. For if you had, you’d be playing Farmville on Facebook right now instead of reading this blog post. If you want to avoid being cast into eternal digital damnation bring one of these to your next board of director’s revival and sit back and watch the confusion ensue.  Hallelujah!

According to LinkedIn, the Ninja title is gaining in popularity at the expense of Gurus. Apparently Ninjas are very adept at blogging and tweeting and have a penchant for creating power point presentations about blogging and tweeting (see dramatization here). While Ninja’s move with stealth and can tweet faster than Paris Hilton on Ritalin they don’t actually infiltrate your competition and eliminate the CEO as the title would suggest.  They mostly blog and tweet about blogging and tweeting.

Rock Star

This term is usually reserved for anyone on the agency side of marketing who can do a tap dance for clients and make them think that they’re not only an expert/ninja/guru but that they’re also famous in the Twittisphere and have 5,000,000 people retweet them at the drop of a hat.  They most likely can give a dynamite presentation and wow the board room but when it actually comes to addressing anything that resembles a business objective, they turn to jello and crap their pants.  Good night Cleveland!!

This is the big time now. Titans are people of exceptional importance and reputation in the social media community. This is not a self-anointed title like those other plebe titles but one that can only be bestowed upon by the traditional media gods who don’t have an clue about social technologies. They see that someone has tweeted about 40 times yesterday and have their own badge on Foursquare and deem them worthy of Titan status.  Apparently once someone has been proclaimed a Titan, they have reached god status in the social media fish tank and are atomically re-tweetable no matter how banal the post actually is.  Take heed of these deities for they shall inherit the inter-tubes.

There is also another title which barely deserves mention but I thought I’d include it just to give some perspective:

Corporate Social Strategist
These are the lowest of the social media food chain. Pond scum if you will. These folks have the gall to think that traditional marketing and communication efforts have a place on this earth and for some reason they think that social media can be integrated with other digital and offline strategies. FOOLS! They might as well call themselves a leper and declare their love of Bolsheviks and anchovies.  Unfortunately, the only organizations who will hire these people are those lowly little Fortune 500 companies who don’t have the sense to know when to hang it up and call it quits.  All these strategists do is sit in a room and repeat the mantra: ROI..ROI…ROI.. When will they realize that the day of the corporation is dead. VIVA la Revolución!!!

Obviously, this post is a little tongue and cheek but it’s very interesting to see some of these titles bantered about in professional circles.  Most of the social media professionals I know don’t use any of these titles as they’ve become pejoratives in the digital community. However, there are a few people who do call themselves ninjas, gurus, etc.  Best advice is stay away from this lot.

Many thanks to Adam Evers who prodded me to write this post after a couple of beers and a very interesting conversation. He’s also the brains behind this online social media title test.


About Jason Sem

I develop strategic direction for social media and digital initiatives; specializing in the integration of digital, social, mobile and off-line channels to engage consumers at all points along consumer’s path-to-purchase.

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