I received a connection request on a social network today from a person who described herself as an “Experienced and Effective Global Convincer.” Needless to say, I ignored the request. Why would I want to associate myself with someone whose self-image is one of “convincer?”

Nick Johnson, writing on the Useful Social Media Blog, has a more, um, visceral response to the trend toward giving cute titles to social media workers — he says it makes him want to vomit:

Too many social media job titles make practitioners sound like children.

Something that has been irritating me increasingly over the last few weeks is the amount of ridiculous social-media based job titles.

I’m sure you will have come across them. Here’s a short selection I’ve encountered recently:

Web Ninja
Social Media Maven
Social Media Guru
Web Features Ninja

Besides being rather infantile, such titles make it hard for others in your organization to take social media efforts seriously, especially when we’re still trying to gain acceptance of these relatively new tools in the boardroom, and, by extension, the budget. Handing someone a business card with the title of “solutionist” is just asking for a spit-take or worse — everlasting disdain.

It’s cool to think up new titles for the brave new world of social media management, but think about how it looks from the viewpoint of someone on the outside looking in at a foreign, impenetrable communications medium with a different language and rules. Think they are going to want to collaborate with a “Tweeter?”

It is a whole new realm of the PR practice, these various social streams, and they call for new ways of thinking to determine how to use them effectively for our agencies and our clients. Should there be new titles for these new areas of expertise and responsibility? Perhaps, but what we don’t need is a whole list of cute new titles that beg to be ridiculed.

I’m reminded of the quip I read somewhere that if a guy calls himself a “social media guru,” he isn’t one. Likewise, if you call yourself a “convincer,” you probably aren’t one, either.

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