Preface: I hate the term “social media guru.” Also not a fan of “social media expert” or any other term that implies that one knows all there is to know. Such a person does not exist — not even some of the big names. There’s a fine line between being confident and being flat-out unrealistic and deceitful. Stay on the good side of that line.
Earlier this afternoon, I read a piece published on The Telegraph entitled, “Time to ditch the blood-sucking social media gurus.” As someone who does a bit in this line of work (but that’s not all I do — please — I diversify), I was quite ready to jump into the comments section and tell the author why he was wrong.
But then I read the article. And pondered. I came to the conclusion that there wasn’t a lot I disagreed with.
The author, Milo Yiannopoulos, talks about the rise of the “social media guru” with London as his setting, but it applies everywhere.
In 2007, there were no social media consultants in London. Just a few short years later there are thousands of the blood-suckers clamouring for attention and lucrative contracts.
Let’s be frank: a shit ton of these people exist. A Google search for “social media guru” leads you to the websites of thousands with new ones popping up daily.
Many will vanish. Either the situations that pushed them into this line of work (unemployment, for instance) will reverse, or they just won’t be as successful as they thought they’d be, leaving their websites (and Twitter accounts) to gather dust as they move on. Or they’ll be wiped out (see below).
It’s funny: while I was in college, I had imagined myself in this field not as a freelancer but as an employee. The recession had other plans for me, and here I am, two years later. This was not my plan and, in a way, I feel for those who might have been following my same path and ended up in the same place. But just those people. I have no sympathy for those who are attempting to transition from “accountant” to “social media guru.” I’m sorry but that’s the truth.
Now the warning part.
I’m thrilled to have done what I’ve done but I’m not out of my mind — I’m pretty sure a backlash is coming in the future. Let’s just call it “The Social Media End of Days.” Floods of newcomers, a plague called “doing it wrong” and a fireball straight from the sky to blow the whole damn thing apart. The pretenders will be wiped from the Earth/Internet and the whole process will start all over again.
If you don’t think you’ll be standing after the sociapocalypse, start finding other things you’re good at. And even if you do think you’ll be standing, play it safe and find some other things you’re good at. Build yourself a diversification bunker and lay low until the ground stops smoldering.