The other day I was going through my Google Alerts and found one titled “I am Now A Certified Social Media Specialist”. I thought, What is a Certified Social Media Specialist?. Upon checking I found a small online firm who had tagged the the term Certified Social Media Specialist and created some video training programs to teach people how to use some basic social technology task.
What I found was basic content that hardly would qualify anyone as a “specialist” and relative to the word “certified” there was no criteria or higher body of knowledge by which to deem the “videos” as worthy of “certifying anyone on anything”.
How Can You Certify Social Media?
If you haven’t noticed it seems that everyone is pushing out “messages” saying they are a social media expert or know more than anyone else about social media. The reality is that social technology is changing so fast that to be “certified” or self labeled as a “specialist or expert” is not relative or valuable and reflects a lack of wisdom. It’s like saying “you’re certified to have a conversation”. Conversations change moment by moment. It doesn’t take “certified knowledge” to have a conversation but it does take wisdom to create valuable conversations.
Old knowledge can be useful but new knowledge is profound. The difference between the two is time and value. Sooner or later what was valuable yesterday becomes obsolete tomorrow. You can be certified in yesterday’s technology but be useless in applying tomorrow’s value.
Certifications are earned from a Professional society and, in general, must be renewed periodically, or may be valid for a specific period of time (e.g., the life-time of the product upon which the individual is certified). As a part of a complete renewal of an individual’s certification, it is common for the individual to show evidence of continued learning — often termed continuing education — or earning continuing education units (CEU).
It is important to note that certifications are usually earned from a professional society, not an individual firm.
Certifications are usually developed by academia or bodies of knowledge relative to a specific knowledge set. So far the world of social media is changing so fast there is and unlikely to be any “professional certification” process.
The New Order of “Social Media Certification”
As previous shared in our post “Again, What Is Social Media” we stated that it is simply communications. Communications being the system of communicating. The participants or users are the communicators. Certification of a communications system is determined by your knowledge of how to use it. Certification of “communicating” is a process determined by the audience. If what you have to say and know how to distribute what you say provides value to an audience then your “certifiably” adding value to someone or many.
On the other hand if you are proclaiming to be a “certified social media specialist” because you have learned how to use certain tools then you may in fact be telling the audience that you are certifiably lacking understanding, knowledge and the wisdom to know the difference. Not a good way to attract an audience, build credibility and brand yourself worthy of attention. Get it?
What say you?