A social media expert's stinging rebuke of a social media skeptic (please RT, upvote and 'like'!)

In which Mr. Peter Shankman, founder of Help A Reporter Out, learns a lesson he shan't soon forget

With the holiday weekend fast approaching and me running out of ideas time, I thought I'd turn over my blog this afternoon to an anonymous guest contributor.

This contributor, who calls himself Socrates Social, is incensed over a column in Business Insider that is highly critical of people who refer to themselves as social media "experts."

Take it away, Socrates:

Recently I read a vicious diatribe by Mr. Peter Shankman, founder of Help A Reporter Out, in which Shankman belittles the noble profession of social media expert. It left me so angry, I can barely post to my Facebook wall.

First, Mr. Shankman, I take your negative and dismissive comments personally. Becoming an expert in social media is no easy matter. It requires, literally, several hours of reading blogs and tweets, registering for at least one (but no more than two) free social media "webinars," and, of course, a high-speed Internet connection. The bar is set high, my caustic friend, and that is why there are only 43,150,341 46,804,726 49,300,043 true social media experts in the world today!

Secondly, you claim, "Being an expert in social media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator." Mr. Shankman, are you serious? No one keeps bread in the refrigerator.

Next, you assert, "We’re making the same mistakes that we made during the DotCom era, where everyone thought that just adding the term .com to your corporate logo made you instantly credible." Yet your web site's URL is www.helpareporter.com. Methinks doth protest too much.com!

However, you truly lose the thread when you write:

Rather than embracing this new technology and merging it with what we’ve learned already, we’re throwing off our clothes and running naked in the rain, waving our hands in the air, sure that this time it’ll be different, because this time it’s better!

Clearly you've never run naked in the rain, Mr. Shankman. It's quite liberating (much like social media), and while it can wreak havoc on your iPad, it beats walking around in vomit-covered shoes any day of the week. I suggest you try it.

You mockingly "quote" social media experts by writing, "It’s about Facebook, and fans, and followers, and engagement, and influence," and then argue (in all caps, no less) that:

IT’S ABOUT GENERATING REVENUE THROUGH SOLID MARKETING AND STELLAR CUSTOMER SERVICE, JUST LIKE IT’S BEEN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.

How quaint. The truth is, Mr. Shankman, your antediluvian attitude betrays your fear of change. Concepts such as "revenue" and "profits" are slowly being replaced by the more relevant social metrics you deride. I have it on good authority that soon all public companies will include social media "engagement" and "influence" numbers in their quarterly reports. And don't be surprised when the New York Stock Exchange unveils its "Social Media Engagement Index" at the beginning of next year. You heard it here first.

Perhaps I'm being too harsh with you, Mr. Shankman. I probably should consider that your disparaging piece stems from insecurity. My recommendation is that you focus your efforts less on attacking a profession with a historic legacy that stretches all the way back to 2008, and more on improving your Twitlyzer score. I guarantee you will be happier, and can finally retire as Foursquare mayor of Web 1.0.

In conclusion, I must confess that I agree with one thing you wrote: It is silly when social media experts refer to themselves as "gurus," rock stars" or "savants." They are engaged in serious business, and should not demean their efforts by using such frivolous terms.

Sincerely,

Socrates Social

Social Media Ninja

(Note: I can't believe I have to make this clear, but I've learned the hard way: This is a joke, folks.)

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