Connecting people and ideas through improvisation

The Big (Sad) List of Social Media Titles

(cc) dougbeckers on Flickr

(cc) dougbeckers on Flickr

When I worked at Intel many years ago I wrote a blog for them about all the screwy Social Media job titles people had. It was on their external blog and lived for a year or two after I left, but now has gone poof. It’s a shame because many of the titles I joked about became real things. It was simultaneously sad and amusing.

I thought it would be fun to recreate the list and turned to my Facebook friends for some help. I somehow suspect every one of these is out there somewhere on a business card.

Thanks to Facebook!

Social Media Guru – Set up a Facebook account for himself one day, and in the course of doing so achieved enlightenment in the ways of all things social.

Social Media Sherpa – Acclimated to the thin air at the top of the social media mountain, he is adept at leading social media tourists to their death.

Social Media Shaman – Believes in the natural spirit of authenticity that pervades us all, and will awaken it within you after you agree to smoke something with him.

Social Media Wizard – Very mysterious and wise (he will tell you this), he will claim to be able to conjure lightning but can barely pull a rabbit out of a hat.

Social Media Ninja – Commits to all manner of grand and nefarious undertakings, but is never actually seen doing any of them.

Social Media Cowboy – Fearless in the face of the Wild West of social media, he will shoot from the hip in any direction, killing bandits, cutthroats, and bystanders with equal efficiency.

Social Media Sheriff – Wanders the town telling people how they should act but never actually gets involved. Spends an inordinate amount of time cleaning his gun.

Social Media Barista – Serves up highly caffeinated shots of social media espresso that gets you all excited and energized, but then fades quickly and causes you to spend excessive time in the bathroom.

Social Media Kaiju – Big in other parts of the world, he stomps aimlessly through things you love. Far more fun to watch when he is breathing radioactive ideas onto someone elses’ project.

Social Media Superhero – Intent on saving the world from madmen and evildoers, but does far more damage to the surroundings than anyone they fight.

Social Media Manager – Formless spirit who has had their social media soul extinguished and exists only within the confines of a vague job description.

Social Media Jedi – Will tell you to believe in the force of social media, and convince you that these are not the sites you are blogging for. (via John Davidson)

Social Media Slut – Their social feed only contains selfies. (via Stacey Champion)

Social Media Cynic – Posts once a week that they’re off all Social Media forever. (via Dick Carlson)

Social Media Mother – Gives unwanted advice to everyone and comments on every single post, nagging, asking nosy questions and won’t stop poking you. (via Stacey Champion)

Titles are fun, but if the person knows what they’re doing then no wacky title is necessary.

I’m sure my list isn’t complete, so if I’ve missed one let me know.

What really makes something “news?”

(cc) Ines Njers on Flickr

(cc) Ines Njers on Flickr

Recently I’ve been pondering what makes something “news.” It seems simple, but when I asked people for their own definitions almost nobody agreed. Does it have to be recent? Does it have to be life changing? Does it have to be strictly facts? News is very subjective in its definition.

It’s also very subjective in its impact. For example, finding out you’re pregnant is big news to the people involved, but not news to 99.99% of the world. News can be personal or global.

I began noodling on all the different responses people gave me, and how to tell if something is really “news” or just “information.” What I came up with are different attributes of news, and a bit of a range within each attribute. The idea is anything you find to be “news” should have some combination of these, and different news may have different attributes.

This is still a rough draft, but I’d love any feedback. Does something in here describe just about anything you would consider news? Are there any attributes missing? Are the ranges clear?

And I know this topic has been cracked in other ways, by other people and institutions, but I’m doing this as my own exercise in deconstructing and learning about the topic. So I heartily welcome your personal thoughts, but am not interested in any links/references to other material.

I’m also totally uninterested in a discussion of the different news outlets you use (or hate) by name. This is about the concept of news itself.

Disclaimers out of the way, here is the list I came up with:


  • World view – It changes how I view the world on a global/national level.
  • Overall life – Changes how I live my life.
  • Short term plans – I’ll act on the information sometime soon.
  • Immediate – I need to act on this right away!


  • Breaking – Critical and worth interrupting me to learn about.
  • General – I could go a short time without learning.
  • Of interest  – I could learn about it anytime.


  • Completely fact based – No perspective or commentary.
  • Some perspective – Perspective or context that helps enhance the news item.
  • Opinion and viewpoint – Analysis and summary from respected individuals.


  • Peer reviewed journals – Factual and objectively vetted.
  • Traditional media – Formally trained journalist in TV/newspapers/etc., either local or national/global.
  • Independent media – Self-trained reporters/bloggers.
  • Social networks – Hearing it from people you are friends with or connected with in life or online.
  • Self-discovery – Learning about it yourself.


  • Just happened – Occurred within minutes.
  • Recent – Occurred within hours.
  • New to me – Occurred a while ago, but I only just found out.


  • Global – Happened somewhere else in the world.
  • National – Happened within my country.
  • Community – Happened within my city/tribe/group.
  • Personal – Happened just to me and possibly immediate company.

What do you think?

Lace up your gloves for 12 rounds with Vaynerchuk

Jab, Jab, Right Hook“Authentic” is an eye-rollingly overused word, but I still apply it to Gary Vaynerchuk. I first ran into Gary about the time Twitter started, and every time I’ve encountered him since then I’m always curious to hear what he’s going to hold court about. I know I won’t always agree with it, but that’s fine. Gary always calls it like he sees it, and I rather like disagreeing with smart people. It forces me to up my game.

So I took Gary up on his offer to check out a copy of his new book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World” (JJJRH). It was almost exactly what I expected, which is a good thing.

In person, Gary can both pontificate on grand ideas and back it up with specific examples. JJJRH does the same. It’s a mix of perspective on content and communication, alongside entertaining decomposition of very specific examples. And I mean he has actual screenshots of tweets or posts so you can see what he’s referring to. No vague handwaving here. A lot of social content books don’t get down in the mud and specifics perhaps for fear of not pissing off the companies in question. Gary lacks that fear.

I also enjoy how much improvisation Gary has in his style, which you really appreciate if you see Gary speak in person (and work a crowd). You can see hints of it throughout this book even if he doesn’t call it by that name. Listening, engaging, and playing by the rules of the scene are all here.

His key message is right in the title – balance your engagement and don’t try to make everything a knock-out blow. He’s right, but I rather wish he had lightened up on the boxing analogy a bit. It felt a little overdone by the end, and I hope he doesn’t try to bite my ear off for thinking that. (badum-tish!)

RRJH fits well with Gary’s other two books, but they aren’t prerequisites. If you’ve been doing content and marketing work for a while, read it for some new ideas. If you’re new to this space, read it for some great perspective and background.


Instagram adds video, so what’s next for Vine?

When something gets trendy everybody wants to pile on the bandwagon, and it’s no different in the world of social media.

Instagram, the picture sharing service owned by Facebook, just added the ability to share video in their most recent update. The videos can be up to 15 seconds long, and you create them inside Instagram by recording little snippets of video until you’re happy. It wouldn’t be Instagram if it didn’t have filters, so you can then apply all sorts of goofy effects to your video before you post it.

The way it works feels very similar to Vine, which is the short video sharing service owned by Twitter. The difference there is, um… well, the videos are only six seconds long and there are no filters. But Vine has been gaining momentum the past few months so it came as no big shock that Facebook/Instagram would want to steal some of that action. The people at Vine have made some jokes about the new features and released their own teaser videos hinting at new features.

Check out the clip above to watch me discuss the whole affair (and the new Facebook comment images feature) with the crew at Fox 10 in Phoenix.

Will those features be something useful or just an attempt to re-differentiate themselves from Facebook? Who knows. Video apps are hot right now and there could be a lot more copycatting back and forth before the dust settles.

In the meantime it will be interesting to see how much of my Instagram feed turns from pictures to video, and what all those people do who just like to take pictures of their food. If they all start posting videos of them eating it, it’s going to get disgusting in a hurry.