As a public service, I like to periodically check in on the number of self-proclaimed social media "gurus," "ninjas," "masters" and "mavens" on Twitter. Why? Well, it seems like an important metric, an indicator of something.
Whatever it means, this is one indicator that is most definitely on the rise. In January 2013, the number of Twitter users with "social media" as part of their bio has grown to epic proportions. The list now tops 181,000 – up from a mere 16,000 when we first started tracking them in 2009, according to FollowerWonk.
Today, there are even 174 people who describe themselves as "social media whores" in their Twitter bios. (We couldn't make that sort of thing up.)
Twitter bios allow a mere 140 characters, plus a URL. Therefore, one most boil one's bio down to what one thinks represents one's most essential facts.
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. That said, here are some ways to know if your "social media guru" is adding some value:
- they bring actual experience – not just observations and theories – to the table;
- they sell solutions, not formulas;
- they don't promise that social media will provide a quick fix for your bottom line.
One thing seems certain: at this rate, everyone on Twitter will soon be a social media guru.
Special bonus video link showing we really did know this was going to happen back in 2009: