What Social Media Needs Is A Few Good Heretics

For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,

And work away from sun to sun,
To do what other men have done.
– S. Foss
The Calf-Path


Heretic [n. her-i-tik ] – anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine or principle.


Social media marketing is in desperate need of heretics. Far too many industry professionals follow along familiar trails of sameness. The biggest problem? A majority acceptance of the notion that social media education is unnecessary, or even detrimental.

Oh, goody. Stringer is on a rant about SM education again. What else is on?

Perhaps so, but frankly, I’ve grown both weary and tired to the point of exhaustion of the pundits and their endless, mindless litany of, “there is no need.” There is in fact great need. Consider:
•The range of salaries for social media marketing managers is $25K to $75K, with a median of $45K.
•The majority of those working in this field, 66%, are women, the most classically underserved demographic in terms of earnings.
•There are currently 3 graduate programs in social media available today, and one undergraduate program. All are available online.

Since it’s inception and until recently, social media marketing management has been captained by individuals of divergent backgrounds, none having been academically trained specifically. This has been necessary since until just a couple of years ago, there were no training programs available. This is not to say they haven’t produced high-quality output, nor behaved in anything less than the highest professional standards.

But adspend has trended ever increasingly upward, with high expectations to reach the double-digit billions of dollars within the next few years. This fact generates two important considerations:
1. Business can hardly be expected to invest such astronomical sums without a desire for standardized training in the field.
2. The resultant relative increase that can logically be anticipated in pay grade can scarcely be justified for the same reason.

Many decry the rationale for SMM education with claims that the field is changing too quickly. This statement is oxymoronic – it is because of the rapid changes occurring that makes the need for specifically degreed personnel so critical. Individuals educated with scientific methodology and cutting edge didactics are the best equipped to deal with these changes.

Let’s take another look at the most crucial factor, that of women being the majority of workers. Most of these are working moms, whose families are dependent on their sole support. A median salary of only $45,000 per year does little to alleviate the pressures of personal economic demand, with even less room for niceties such as an occasional nice dinner out, and forget about a vacation. Most already have an undergraduate degree, and all currently available advanced degree programs can be completed in 18 months. Funding is readily available in the form of student loans, which can be paid back in only a few years given the commiserate increase in earnings. All of the programs are delivered via the Web, allowing for attendance whenever there is an hour or so of free time, even if that is at the end of the day, just before bed.

To persist in stating there is no need for a formal SMM education, that the job can be done without it, only stymies the possibility that earnings will ever rise above a minimum. It is snacking on their own young. Everyone works hard, and for long hours, and the idea of putting something else to do on the daily schedule plate will understandably be met with groans and a jaundiced eye. Yet to stubbornly insist on following the calf-paths of those who shout there is no need is ludicrous.

Social media education is an established fact of life. It isn’t going away, and it isn’t a fad. It is the future of the industry. The time is now to either get on board the bus, or get run over by it.


About Grannelle

eMarketing Scholar
This entry was posted in Education, Online Marketing, Opinion, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink.

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