Social Media Specialist Wanted! What’s that?

This is a good question and one to which I give deep thought.  I’ve attended a Norwich University Alumni reunion and student send off. It was held in Itasca, Illinois (about 30 miles south of Chicago). Students were going off to attend the Norwich military university training programs. Among the alumni were two lifelong military career veterans. The hosts were excellent and there was also a representative from Norwich present. I’m from the graduate school class of 1995, with a degree in psychology.

Recently I saw an advertisement for a social media specialist, for a graduate school of psychology.

Do I qualify?

  1. What if for the past two years, I have been working with social media exclusively?
  2. What if I have a sizable Linkedin connections, manage 5 Linkedin groups, and have a sizable Twitter following (see…)?
  3. What if I’m on several Ning sites, FaceBook, and Ecademy?
  4. What if I have been running a copywriting business venture the past two years?
  5. What if I ‘m an active blogger for 2 years at randylewiskemp.wordpre…, and a guess blogger at other blog sites?

Am I A Social Media Specialist?

I think I need to consult an online dictionary.  According to the online Free Dictionary at thefreedictionary…, the only definition that makes sense is “One who is devoted to a particular occupation or branch of study or research.”  Say, isn’t that me?  Let’s consult another dictionary.  One definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary at merriam-webster.c… for “specializes” is “to concentrate one’s efforts in a special activity, field, or practice.”  Let’s try one more definition at for Your Dictionary.  One definition is “a person who specializes in a particular field of study, professional work, etc.”  So given these definitions, I think I’m qualified to apply.

What would constitute an expert in shipping packages?

I get herbs from and  Both send their shipments priority mail, from the East and West coast respectively.  I like in the Midwest near Chicago.  The Tibetan herbs take about 10 days to reach me, while the Chinese herbs take about 3 day?  The difference?  One ships with a postal priority mail cellophane-shipping envelope, while the other uses a priority mailbox and electronic delivery confirmation.  On numerous occasions I have suggested the Tibetan company adapt the Chinese herbal company’s priority mail approaches.  Is their shipping department employees “specialists”?

What “degree” am I a specialist?

That’s a good question.  While a t the Norwich reception, one of the guests was a veterinarian.   In her practice, she occasionally used acupuncture and herbal medicine.  About a month ago, I met an oriental chiropractor, which specialized in acupuncture.   He had been doing this for over 25 years, and studied many years in China.  Both the oriental chiropractor and veterinarian “specialize” in acupuncture.  Both learned the trade by different avenues.  Both could be considered specialists. Yet which one is “a greater specialist by degree?”

I did end up applying for the job.  It wouldn’t stop me from doing things like affiliate marketing, Internet marketing, or technology copywriting part time – assuming they like my combined expertise in psychology and social media – their call.

Randy Kemp

P.S. – Now for a short YouTube video showing some “real” specialists at



6 thoughts on “Social Media Specialist Wanted! What’s that?

  1. Great post randy. It’s about time someone called the Emperor buck naked. Pondering the above. Social media encompasses both media and marketing. Such a practice area would encompass specialization in both content and marketing communications. Broad? Yes! We’re not done. Social marketing would have to include affiliate, SEM SEO so they would have to specialize there as well. That would qualify a social media practitioner, but we’re looking for a “specialist.” A specialist is intimate with all study subjects in an area of discipline. So cause marketing had better be in their toolbox along with permission marketing, viral marketing and event marketing. Closer but still no cigar. Social media distribution happens through online networks, applications, multi-player games and is tightly integrated on mobile channels, SMS, apps, mobile web, WiFi, BT. My “social media specialist” would have to be an expert in those areas as well. Let’s not forget branding. After all I don’t want just any specialist representing my brand, they had better understand brand communications and stewardship, strategy and all forms of legal and copyright. Oh! One more thing! Okay, a couple of things. They need to be an excellent writer at an editorial director level and a consummate PR professional.

    Alright. I think that covers it. The only issue I see now is that the term specialist no longer applies.

  2. You can get certified as a social media marketing specialist, if you want. Check out .

    1. Susan:
      Thanks for the website. I wonder how this program differs from the Inbound Marketing University program at Their program is free, you can take a certification test, and they also cover social media.

  3. This is good 🙂 “social media expert” has been thrown around a lot lately, and it’s often criticized as well. This is a time when we can all call ourselves whatever we want. The label just doesn’t really mean much! What matters is actual performance; an actual social media expert, I’d argue, doesn’t need to call themselves as such. Relationships are what verify your status as an expert or not. The real criteria is not what credentials or experience you have. The only credentials that hold any weight are social credentials. It’s not about “what is your experience”…it’s about “how many people say you’re an expert?” That’s the determining factor.

    1. Christian:

      Thank you for the great commentary. You hit on a key point in it’s about relationships and worthwhile content. A while back I did a book review for Steve Pavlina at Steve writes many articles on personal growth and he claims his website gets about a million hits a years (it’s easy to verify via services like Alexa). If he wasn’t providing valuable content and developing relationships, no one would visit him.

      Reflecting upon the word “specialist” is like reflecting upon the word “great” for writers. What makes a great writer? This could be argued in a few different ways:

      1. It’s what constitute the greatest number of sales. So folks like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling might be considered great from the number of books they sell, or money they have accumulated from book and movie sales/royalties.

      2. It could be folks honoring them with a prestigious award, like the Nobel prize for literature or a Pulitzer prize.

      3. It could be that they stood the test of time. Folks like William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens are widely in print today. Even folks who are recent contenders, like Ayn Rand or Carlos Castaneda – writers from this century – never won awards, but their books are very popular.

      The acid test I would argue is pragmatic – like in the case of the graduate school of psychology – whose objective is to increase recruitment via social media. Is the social media “expert” increasing enrollment? Reminds me of the marketer at Disney Channel. This person had millions of dollars to market the Harry Porter theme park – any way they wished. Yet all this person did was told 7 bloggers. The word spread like wildfire – like the short, YouTube video at


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