All of us acknowledge that the pace of change has picked up most exponentially and we are living in times when things dramatically change overnight. It is better to take nothing for granted. This piece of wisdom was reinforced in my mind last week when I met this alumnus of an AACSB accredited business school meant only for experienced professionals and he said he is currently employed as a writer on new technologies. He was in Hague attending this technology conference last and probably globe-trots on his work as a writer. Job titles today are as prone to radical change as job requirements and descriptions. Let us consider the job title of Social Media Wizard – which almost appears to have been inspired by J.K. Rowling at some level, if you ask me!
These Wizards (or Managers, or whatever else the company chooses to call them) get paid to get into office and spend their day on Facebook and Twitter – chatting with people or sending out party invites and messages. Most companies which require someone to manage their social media presence are hiring people to manage it for them. While some get them to chat with prospective customers looking to learn more about the product or tweeting about it,, or writing general industry posts which provide knowledge at the global level without adopting a partisan approach.
What qualifies them?
This is a rather grey area at the moment and people are really not sure of how to go about recruiting social wizards. One qualification does seem to be the ability to write and write well. Another is the ability to use computers (or being tech-savvy) with the capability and also experience of participating actively in online forums. This last generally encourages a straightforward conclusion that only young persons are qualified to handle these jobs. Among other things, if you say SEO – they do not raise an eyebrow and look at you askance! They know it stands for Search Engine Optimization!
But is it enough to have someone with these skills enough. Will they be rank outsiders who come in riding high on their capabilities? How capable will they be to carry the mantle of responsibility for representing the company’s culture, standards and other attributes which provide it with a human face in the public eye? When Microsoft’s UK team tweeted right after the untimely and unfortunate death of Amy Winehouse saying “Remember Amy – Download her album from Zune”! The backlash was severe and left some egg behind that will never wash off as long as the reactions and comments and accusations as well as support resounded across various forums, leaving behind a lesson for all PR teams – hopefully! Understandably, many companies today are also considering the proposed Wizards’ knowledge of public/customer relations and marketing background and ensuring that they understand the culture of their organization.
Some of their Role Responsibilities:
Companies would also need to decide the delicate aspects of the kind of online relationship that staff would maintain with the wizard, the access to the various passwords on the different forums, and even a succession plan in case of the cessation of the wizard’s term with the company.
It is necessary for employers to decide upon their social media policy and decide the role each of the employees would be required to play – on a scale of 0-100 and then assign the areas of responsibility to the media wizard, with a clearly defined role as well as the limitations they wish to impose, if any. As we discussed elsewhere, the World Wide Web has infinite capacity and long term memory which will far outlive any and all of us and a single act of omission or commission may haunt us till Judgment Day! For those of us who do not enjoy Microsoft-like deep pockets – the whole exercise may prove to be more counter-productive than otherwise.
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