Over the last three years, I’ve met a lot of people who are their organization’s social media evangelist, lead, POC, pioneer, ninja, guru, etc., and I’ve met many others who are aspiring to take on that role. Hell, I even wrote my last post to help those people get started. While it’s easy to get caught up in all the hype that often follows the people in these roles – the promotions, the raises, the invitations to participate in selective working groups, the personal branding, the ability to make your living using Facebook and Twitter – I’d like to take this opportunity to help balance out the expectations. The following statements aren’t necessarily good or bad, but they do paint a more realistic picture.
So, if you’re itching to become “the guy” at your organization when it comes to social media, be prepared:
- To be expected to know EVERYTHING about social media, not only about Twitter, Facebook, and wikis, but also all of the policies, trends, statistics, and laws too
- To know who else in your organization is also involved with social media and if you don’t, why not
- To encounter people who assume that because you’re on Facebook or Twitter while at work, that you’re never actually busy with anything
- To justify the return on investment (ROI) of all the time you spend using social media
- To get dozens of emails from people every time a there’s a negative, controversial media article discussing the risks of social media (you should have seen how many people pointed to the Wired article came out showing how terrorists could use Twitter and told me, “see, that’s why we shouldn’t use social media)
- To be always on, all the time. No matter what meeting you go into, there’s always a chance that you may have to give an impromptu presentation
- To have people constantly asking you for your thoughts on the latest social media-related email/blog/memo/article/news/interview that came out
- To justify your existence to your managers when there are organizations who outsource their social media for a few cents per tweet
- To get inundated with requests like this – “I just read [insert social media link here]. Do you have like 30 minutes to meet with me so that I can ask you some basic questions?”
- To see your work (even within your own organization) turn up in other people’s work without any attribution
- To be told that “all this collaboration is great, but what real work have you accomplished?”
- To change teams and/or organizational alignment at least once
I’ve encountered all of these situations to varying degrees over the last three years, and at times, I’ve felt frustrated, excited, nervous, entrepreneurial, scared, sometimes all simultaneously, but through it all, I’ve always felt proud to be on the cutting edge of changes that need to be made. I’ve never wondered if it was worth it, and I can definitely say that I’ve always felt challenged and stimulated through it all.
If you’re considering being at the tip of the social media spear within your organization, make sure that you’re prepared…for everything.