Do you tweet a lot? Do you post everything on Facebook? Do you #hashtag #complete #sentences #like #this? Do you describe yourself, variously, as a social media "maven", "master", "guru", "freak", "warrior", "evangelist" or "veteran"? (Yes, a social media veteran. As if Tumblr were a deadly war you narrowly survived.) Well: you've got company! There are more than 181,000 such individuals on Twitter, people who adorn their profiles with credentials like "social media freak" and "social media wonk" and "social media authority."
B.L. Ochman at Advertising Age, whose heroic research produced the final tally, first noted the trend three years ago — when she recorded, among other distinctions, 68 "social media stars" and 79 "social media ninjas" on Twitter alone — and has been keeping track ever since. This isn't just the stuff of legitimate Twitter news-breakers like Anthony DeRosa and Andy Carvin — Ohman provides a helpful breakdown of the terms she looked for — you know, like "social media warrior." (We're tempted to argue that such diligence makes Ochman something of a social media warrior herself.) Ochman also warns of using "guru" — a Sanskrit term — to describe oneself:
While a great many of these self-appointed gurus are no doubt taking the title with tongue firmly planted in cheek, the fact remains: a guru is something someone else calls you, not something you call yourself. Scratch that: let's save "guru" (Sanskrit for "teacher") for religious figures or at least people with real unique knowledge.
I'd argue, in fact, that "social media" and "guru" should never appear in the same sentence.
Whatever the term, social media seems to be a growth industry: there were only 15,740 "mavens" (or whatever) in 2009 — less than a tenth of those represented today.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.