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Maggie McGary
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This is a good question, and I think the answer depends on what your goal of using Twitter for is. While some people frown on using Twitter as just a broadcast tool, I personally think in some situations there's nothing wrong with that. If I'm following a company on Twitter solely for special deals, I don't really care if they're interacting with me or not. Ditto stuff like news channels, county government and possibly even associations. One association I belong to mainly uses Twitter to broadcast links to articles of interest in the news--I find it really useful. Granted, I think even if your primarly strategy with Twitter is broadcast, you need to respond to @ messages and monitor for comments that may warrant a response. I liked how my former ASHA colleagues used Twitter at their recent convention: on the Twitter profile (ASHAconv09) in the bio section they indicated which staff would be tweeting from the account. That way not every tweet needed to feature initials or something, yet it gave at least an idea of who was "talking." Good question about the business accounts...not sure what I think.
I actually have the job you describe: I am the social media & community specialist for an association. I work in the web department, although I agree that this position probably best fits in communications. I also agree with Isman's comment--customer care is as much a part--if not a bigger part--as marketing is in the social media equation. Yes, social media presence is about brand but it's also about meeting customers where they are and making sure their needs are being met. It is definitely a many-faceted role and also a challenging one. As Jason Cormier says, just staying on top of the tools is practically a full-time job. In addition to new tools, the existing tools and platforms are constantly evolving and it is very time consuming to keep up with it all. It's also a job that goes well beyond the 9-5, as participation in social media sites is not limited to regular work days by a long shot. You definitely have to have a deep personal interest in social media to do this job, because a lot of it is a labor of love by virtue of the fact that there is such an ongoing learning component--it's not a job where a person will ever be able to just coast!
Great and interesting post. I actually think with social media the brand behind the star matters less. Take Chris Brogan--or you, for that matter--your star status is all about the personal brands you and he have built for yourselves and not about being "fomerly of..." I think that these days, having a million followers or blog readers or whatever speaks louder than "I used to work at X company."
Social media IS my job description ;) I'm a social media & community specialist for an association. I think staffing social media initiatives in the association world is tricky, because silo culture is at odds with community. I, for one, will be interested to see how the next few years play out in terms of social media/community manager jobs at associations--I think there is going to be a lot of mid-course correction going on as associations grapple with the concept of online community.
This is an awesome post, and something I struggle with--as one of the "lucky" ones who can say "SIAWOL" because I get paid to do social media. Having a social media job--if you're a social media junkie--is good and bad. Good because your personal and professional interests obviously dovetail--and you don't get in trouble for spending your day on Facebook. ;) But in a way it's harder to have a job that involves something you're passionate about because when you're being paid to do something, you don't necessarily have the freedom to do things the way you personally prefer or recommend. I am so not a Sci Fi junkie, so pardon the analogy, but say you were a Star Wars junkie and you scored a job working on a new Star Wars movie. Say they wanted to alter parts of the plot, or change the costumes from what they were in the book or some other thing that absolutely horrified you--as a Star Wars fanatic. You--being paid to be an expert-- adamantly feel this is a terrible idea and urge them not to do it. But they don't care all that much about your beloved book--they care about making money off their new movie--so they ignore you. It would be a lot harder for you to swallow than if you were just working on some movie you didn't care about and didn't have a personal investment in. Same is true with social media and social media jobs. It can be hard to draw the line between your personal passion for the way social media should be used and the perhaps not ideal way your company feels it should be used. You can also get just plain burnt out on the whole thing when your job too closely resembles your personal life--I get to the point where I'm dreaming about Twitter or Facebook! Sometimes too much of a good thing can definitely be too much of a good thing. Balance is hard when you have a social media job because the tools evolve so quickly and there is so much to learn and keep up with that you feel like every time you "unplug" you're missing stuff. I think especially for consultants or bloggers who depend on traffic for their income, there is almost definitely a panic factor where they feel they can't unplug for long or they might lose their edge or whatever.
You are psychic because I swear I was JUST thinking about blogging about this same thing--and specifically about Chris Brogan, too. How freaky is that? A few days ago I blogged about a review Chris did on his blog--a video review of a leather messenger bag. I had strong feelings about the post and the fact that I think it's necessary to provide disclosure when you get something for free in exchange for blogging about it. ?What I wrote, while not really slamming him, wasn't exactly complimentary. Today I saw he'd commented on the post, thanking me for writing it and telling me he'd since gone back and added a disclosure to the post. He was very friendly and seemed downright appreciative of the criticism. You are totally right about him, though--he knows how to make people like him. He walks a pretty fine line, too, especially with the sponsored posting stuff, because lots of people have strong negative feelinsgs about it, but if anyone is able to pull it off and mitigate much of the criticism, seems like he's a decent bet.