The Social Media Expert Debate May 29, 2009

Written by: Christy Wise
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After the New York Times appointed their first ever Social Media Editor – the reaction traveled through blogs posts and tweets, sparking an interesting debate. As outlined by MarketingProfs Michael Rubin in his post “Is the Social Media Expert Going the Way of the Dodo?”, the online conversation has shifted to a discussion not about how innovative the New York Times was for enlisting the help of a social media specialist, but about the future of the profession as a whole. Rubin answers his post question with a “qualified no” – the social media expert is not going the way of the dodo, and I definitely agree with that statement – but I do think that how we perceive experts in this space will definitely change. As essentially everything online starts to become “social” in some way shape or form, it will eventually be redundant to single out this particular title. We have to remember that social communities and networks are still evolving and for many brands and major organizations (including the New York Times) this form of media is still very new and in some ways very frightening. As time passes and companies learn how to feel their way through the landscape, develop company guidelines and policies relevant to this space, and grow more comfortable with changing consumers, the “social media expert” will eventually evolve (or perhaps devolve) into what corporations have needed and always will need – communications experts. The role will likely become an entire department dedicated to customer service, conversational marketing, and message distributors. Social media will be something all communications professionals and marketers will need to be savvy in – and when that day comes, there will be no need to single out who should focus on social media – because in short – they all will.