John Sumser's daily roundup linked to Louis Gray's "Social media experts are the new webmasters
" post with which I disagree on just about everything except the punctuation.
I won't argue that the title of "webmaster" carries a tinge of the information-age equivalent of a locomotive fireman, but unlike that example, it's not because the work has disappeared. Most webmasters in their heyday were copywriters or graphic designers with above-average IT skills, or application developers or sysadmins with above-average copywriting/graphic design skills. A graphic designer who doesn't mind a little code and a coder who doesn't mind a little graphic design are still in enormous demand, we just don't call them "webmasters" anymore. And the number of marketing professionals whose day is spent entirely in web-land is probably far greater today than the number of full-time webmasters circa 1998.
As for Gray's charge that to put "social media expert" on your LinkedIn page is like calling oneself an "email expert" or a "telephone expert," I can only say he is undone by his own argument. There are dozens if not hundreds of consultancies and training firms who bill millions of dollars of work helping companies to use the phone, web, and email more effectively, or in the case of someone like Maureen Sharib, to do the ditch-digging for them.
Most importantly though, there is a flippancy to Gray's argument--call it the 'it's just a blog post' fallacy--which I find to be highly questionable. Decades into the life of modern marketing--radio, daily papers, TV, telemarketing, direct mail--these continue to be distinct channels in which many individuals and even entire firms specialize. To think that "social media," which itself is an umbrella term covering a half-dozen or more distinct categories, will not benefit from, indeed demand, a similar level of seriousness, is tantamount to saying that social media are in fact not particularly new or special.