Web Gurus and Twitter Ninjas; really?

Collaboration – December 5, 2013

In our professional lives, we all have a job title. Some are Project Managers, Strategists, Analysts or Sales people. Those titles define a function within the company, a role in the team. It’s nothing but utilitarian and it does not define the person, but their function. A knife cuts, a salesman sells. It’s as simple as that.

Well… not that simple. For the last couple of years, a lot of new title names have thrived, and they’re quite comical… “Social Media Expert”, “Strategy Sensei”, “Marketing Guru”, “Knowledge Owner”, “Social Network Ninja” or even “Opportunity Catalyst”… the list is endless. Those descriptions flourished here and there, mainly on social networks such as Twitter and Linkedin, and they always come with enough irony to justify the pretention of the title.

But here is the legitimate question: who would trust a guru? Let’s remember, a guru is someone who brainwashes you and who tries to convince you of something with doubtful means. A ninja? Well, they are murderers. Would a client look for a cult leader or a murderer? Or even a Master Sensei? There’s no doubt, no he would not. Your client expects someone who is efficient in what he does, someone he can communicate with easily. Your client expects collaboration.

What is more interesting here is that those seemingly harmless titles totally overturn the relationship with the client. Marketing is not at the service of the client anymore. It is the guru who very kindly accepts to share his knowledge with the client. Not sure such a relationship would last very long.

Those job titles look like smoke screens. It would be like claiming you’re an expert at everything to hide the fact that you’re actually an expert at… nothing. And if it is still working, it is because social networks tolerate it more or less. Moreover, it’s an area which is still new and evolves very quickly. How can you claim yourself to be an expert in something that changes every week? There aren’t any experts in social media, and there are no gurus either. There are only people working in this domain and calling themselves as such.

In the end, when you take a closer look, these titles (as ridiculous as they are) are one of the symptoms of the web right now. It’s a race for clicks to the detriment of quality content. Being funny and ironic is enough, and good content has to adorn itself with those “internet rules” which make people smile. Gurus understood that and are quite happy making custom-made content for the internet. But they forget the most important thing: quality. It is more and more complicated to find serious content online, and gurus, ninjas and sensei’s are just one more piece of evidence. So here is my act of resistance: I will remain a “Content Writer”.

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