I spent four years in university learning about what it means to communicate and how to do it. After moving to Europe to begin work for a creative IT firm, I was given the task of offering a social media consultancy service. As a Gen-Y Facebook/MySpace/Twitter/YouTube addict, I was thrilled by this proposition – thinking it would be a walk in the park. Regardless, I figured it would be wise to spend a few hours researching some case studies, scanning a few blogs and watching a few flashy videos.
After only 20 minutes of clicking around, I quickly learned that having a degree in public relations does not make you a social media expert. Though I learned a lot about social media in university and have always considered myself to be a very web savvy individual, I quickly realized I am not the social media guru I thought I was…and I can now say with confidence that most people who tell you they are a social media expert are stretching the truth. In fact, there are only a handful of true “social media experts” out there. (For example: Jay Baer, Rahaf Harfoush and Chris Brogan). These experts have professional blogs, books, speaking gigs and newsletters… they’ve been doing it for a long time and they know their stuff. I could start social media consulting tomorrow if I wanted to, but in order to truly represent the field of public relations as a profession, I want to provide the most informed recommendations as possible - that’s my job! But how can I offer it to others when I have not yet offered it to my own company? It’s time to change that. I refuse to be one of those consultants who think they know everything social media because they have a Facebook account.
So, this begs the question, “where to begin?” Knowing that the blogosphere is where communities are formed, I decided it was high time I started a blog of my own. But let’s face it…there’s nothing worse than a blog that exists solely to massage the ego of a company. “We do this, we do that, we’re so great, rah rah rah.” Nobody believes it and nobody cares. This got me thinking. There’s got to be other young gun communicators like me out there – people who want improve their social media know-how so that they can be confident in making recommendations to their clients. So why not tell a real story? Why not write about my own journey as a young communications professional with a goal to become the next Chris Brogan or Rahaf Harfoush. It’s not such a crazy dream, is it? Ask any one of these gentlemen or ladies how they’ve come to know so much about social media and I’ll bet you that outside of receiving a formal communications education, like me, they opened up their laptops and jumped in head-first. (Here’s an idea for a future post…use social media to get in touch with these experts and ask them how they got their start!)
Heck, Julie Powell, a secretary from New York City, got thousands of hits on her blog by challenging herself to cook over 500 recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking…and then she scored a movie deal! Maybe what I’m offering up won’t be as delicious as Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon, but I do vow to make ten times more useful.
So, my fellow communicators, I invite you to join me on my path towards social media enlightenment. Today is September 29, 2010. What kind of social media ninjas can we become in one year’s time? Subscribe and join in on the adventure!