It’s time for the digital industry to stop handing out titles and train juniors properly

Baby Laptop

Baby Laptop

The digital industry is ruining the art of community management. While I refuse to think it is the dear professionals I have worked with over the years, I’m afraid we’re just as much at fault as the people who are lying about the fact that they actually have digital skills.

I have berated these digital con-artists at length and if you fail to recognise that these people are persevering with poor business practice then you deserve the punishment you are getting. I can’t do that for you.

The real problem is the skills shortage with regards to really good community managers. I have worked and come across many, some stellar in their approach to tonality, style and adopting the personality of brands and others, better suited to toasted sandwiches rather than crafting a brand story – the need to spell properly becoming seemingly tough for our younger generation.

Your secretary cannot do your social media because she is young for the same reason my father can’t do hieroglyphics just because he is old.

Some things can be taught and others can’t be, one of these things is passion. I can’t sell bottled water in the Middle East in person if I tried, but with the help of a couple lines of wit created through a plethora of perfectly crafted content strategies from behind my computer I could get you eating supermarket muffins, when really all you wanted was wrapping paper – not because I am great, but because I love it so very much.

We are not short of community mangers that are senior or junior, we are short of really skilled community managers that lie somewhere in the middle. People who have enough experience to be left alone but not enough to take over, just yet.

Marketing is not science but rather a set of precisely placed guesses created through feelings understood through guided research. It’s not just a sentence.

Community managers with a year’s experience are calling themselves the head of social media is the same as a seven year old with a rugby ball calling himself a Springbok, it’s cute, but no one is ever going to take him seriously. I know, I have been both.

This skills shortage coupled with the fact that community management salaries are weaker than a varsity student the morning after RAG, means that as long as we continue to make the mistake of celebrating mediocrity we’ll continue on a downward spiral missing the middle link. Without the middle, seniors won’t get the monetary retribution they deserve because the middle is another step.

We’re killing ourselves.

Stop giving unnecessary titles and train juniors properly.

Image: Paul Inkles via Flickr.

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