Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

I recently met a social media expert at a local gathering. To protect his identity, we will call him Ring Tailed Lemur.

Me: "What do you do?"
Ring Tailed Lemur: "I'm a social media expert."
Me: "Interesting. What sort of work do you do with social media?"
Ring Tailed Lemur: "I have lots of friends on Facebook and I tell them about my customers' products."
Me: (friendly joking) "I'm sure that makes you very popular."
Ring Tailed Lemur: (serious face) "Yes, well. I think they like it."
...long uncomfortable silence...
Me: "Cool."

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Deal. BTW - This is the outfit we are using for the HottieClock guys:

Alex Salkever said:
Put me on the hottiealarmclock and you can be any kind of expert you wanna be, dude. :)
Yeah...the more this thread grew, the more I realized that I had not only taken the bait but swallowed the hook as well. Next time I'll make sure that I'm more wide awake before I add a response.

Alex Salkever said:
I was actually joking. That said, lots of interesting twitter apps coming out right now that are not just another lame social thing. Interesting games, interesting ways for people to share information, essentially all like SMS on steroids. I am talking to a Twitter developer and have an idea for an app. The thing is, barriers to entry in Twitter apps are zero, less than zero, so its much more about marketing -- then again, isn't that the definition of Web 2.0 B2C?

Stephen McMahon said:
Hey Alex, I've actually been looking for a good reason to build a Twitter application. I'd be interested in hearing more about it.

stephen /at/ slmcmahon /dot/ com

Alex Salkever said:
You should be nice to social media consultants. After all they fuel this Facebook page building madness that gives geeks work. Frankly, I sometimes think the geeks sit around and make up ways to convince (fill in type) consultants that they need to (x) which requires coding. It's a neat trick, no? BTW, can any of you do a Twitter ap for my new social media company?
I see you are targeting a particular niche user group with the HottieClock guys version Dan... clever, very clever :)
Daniel Leuck said:
Deal. BTW - This is the outfit we are using for the HottieClock guys:

Alex Salkever said:
Put me on the hottiealarmclock and you can be any kind of expert you wanna be, dude. :)
ah, Dan - cut him some slack-
after all - he's not a social media scientist:
Viil: You are correct. We are catering to people who want to see Alex in a pink tutu. 8-)

Nate: The study of titles with which people self identify is certainly interesting. Absent a governing organization for a particular discipline, you can really have a lot of fun! My new title at Ikayzo is Chief Lemur Wrangler. I think it inspires confidence.

Dan Z: Excellent idea. I'll try to hunt him down.

Gabe: ROFL. I wish I had a degree in sociomedialogy. It sounds like a real degree, no?

In fairness, there are some people, such as Viil, who have made an academic study of the subject over a substantial period of time. Unfortunately their voices are drowned in the din of Facebook trotting social media "gurus".
Just as I was going to write something and deleted it...

University Offers a Master’s Degree in Social Media (

I've always come from the stance that if you learn how to program, you can program in anything... But people learn specific applications and get stuck. And in today's world, it's getting even easier...

And for titles... Heck, I wrote mine as well as my job description (and it makes me chuckle when I tell people).
Interesting discussion...

You can't spell Twitter without twit.
I'm a bit surprised at how harsh and hostile this thread seems to have gotten.

As far back as I can remember in my professional career, there has always been a major disconnect between Engineering and Sales/Marketing. Sure, the geeks wielded power in creating the really cool features of the breakthrough products.. but at the end of the (dot-com era) day, it's the Sales/Marketing folks who are closing the multi-million-dollar deals that pay for the free snacks and drinks most of you enjoy in your company's kitchen. Well, maybe not so much for failed dot-com startups that lived on seed-funding, but that's another story.

Sales and Marketing is "Voodoo Magic", and there is no absolute formula to dictate what's successful to get people interested in products enough for them to buy. About the only common thing you can say about this field is that if you want to launch, you need something compelling that interests people enough to check out your product.

"High End Marketing" often involves the usual gimmicks, like hiring a Booth-Babe for a Convention, or hiring a well-known local Socialite to go around the Clubbing scene to pitch a new venue or product. Heck, even my better half's nonprofit fundraising events have a handful of beauty-pageant girls present.

Bottom line, these people make pretty good money being engaged in activities that (hopefully) push a product or service forward. Social Media marketing via Facebook and Twitter may seem laughable to you, but think about it: if a single, corporate-sponsored tweet from these people has enough pull to generate buzz and interest, then more power to them for providing a valuable service.
Hi Mattias and Laurence. Note that this is posted under "Tech Humor" and was meant to be lighthearted, not hostile. I certainly didn't anticipate 22 replies. Per our FAQ, we encourage people to post with Aloha.

I think this particular approach, sending ads to your friends, is likely to have some negative consequences and you have to admit, it is rather amusing. As Mattias pointed out, the proof is in the pudding. If he gets results with this approach I'll be the first to write a mea culpa post.

All joking aside, the term "expert" is thrown around pretty lightly these days. This is especially true in social media circles in the US. People should be wary of self proclaimed social media experts who are unable to provide verifiable credentials. They would never do this for a doctor, lawyer or accountant, but for some reason, in this new and rapidly evolving space, they are willing to do it for their social media marketing and PR consultants. The fact is, there are far more people making this claim than there are consultants who have actually made money for their customers by leveraging social media.

Finally, keep in mind the source of this post - A lemur obsessed geek running a social network for techies who responds to comments about tech humor at 4:30 in the morning.
I've kept silent on this one, staying on the sidelines. Until November I was at a social network startup, so I found this entire string a crackup. Thanks to everyone, serious or not, for this run. And Dan, the conversations reminded me of a forgotten wistful desire I had as a kid, I always thought it would be so cool if I had a prehensile tail.

And the "expert" thing, why don't those of us seeking this merit badge simply moniker ourselves as danah boyd (don't ferget dat lower case affectation) and feel free to pontificate. The name is androgynous, one size fits all. If she complains, we respond that we are "Lemur Groupies for danah boyd".

The thread started out as fun, but toward the end, things started getting a bit uncomfortable to read.

Personally, I've no problem with someone pioneering their own approach to engaging a Target Audience using Social Media networks like Facebook and Twitter. t's the wild wild west out there, and sure, there's a lot of snake oil out there. I still can't fault a guy for trying to make a living, though. "Social Media Consulting" has got to be a better gig than wearing a rubber chicken suit in front of a local Eatery. :-)

It's no different to me, than the zillions of commercial Blogs out there whoring themselves for some Ad Revenue and Free Swag. Tom's Hardware. C-Net. Ars Technica. Ad Nauseum, and Ad Infinitum. Aren't these sites doing the exact same thing, for the same kinds of Commercial Interests? :-) :-) :-)

Who says you need to host and run your own website to gain the trust of your target audience? If you can "game" Facebook and Twitter to gain lots of followers, then your audience numbers (# of friends or followers) demonstrate credibility to a potential customer. Laughable, yes, but it's a measurable starting point for negotiations.

Anyway, back to the fun and humor of it all -- I'm a bit disappointed the standard HottieClock Guy outfit doesn't come with the glitter wand with streamers, and a rhinestone tiara. :-p
I don't know - maybe it's my New York upbringing - but I don't detect any harshness here.

I mean this sincerely - a little heat is good for the community.

Anyway, some substantive points...

1. Laurence - there's a difference between sales/marketing and social media expertise. The general thread is about the latter, not the former.

2. If some harshness is detected, I think it's because there's a general feeling among people I speak to that
a) there's an extremely low barrier of entry to having an opinion about social media
b) for those people who actually work at building online businesses, 99% of blogosphere chatter is silly and distracting

So in the end, you wind up with a lot of opinion about silly stuff.

Second Life? Facebook applications? If you paid too much attention to these ephemera, you were likely not paying enough attention to the bottom line.

In most other industries, you don't find so much opinion allowed to float without substantiation. Does the conversation in the oil industry accept this? How about the insurance industry? It infantalizes a sector when it emphasizes gossip.

There are two types of people associated with the tech sector - those who view it as a hobby and those who view it as a business. Too many of the former dominate the conversation and it hurts the industry.

Unless you conduct detailed studies on a subject and back it up with an accumulation of dispassionate data, you're not an expert.

In commercial environments - that is, in real life - being a social media expert means knowing how to do SEO and SEO, A/B testing, etc... the other stuff ain't all that hard.

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