Will social media specialists go the way of the blacksmith? Yes, if you
Rubel, the well known Edeleman blogger. He believes the social media
manager will be extinct in a few years. Where will they go? Absorbed into the corporate marketing and PR machines, says Steve.
Steve is one of my favorite bloggers and always seems to be on top of the latest trends. But this is one I'm hoping he misses.
Steve's argument is that PR professionals at most companies will soon be well equipped to manage social media activities as well as a lone-wolf specialist. These skills aren’t rocket science and can be easily picked up by a savvy inhouse communications manager. Most companies don't have the "luxury" of these specialists when instead they can sweep it up into existing PR or marketing organizations.
I think this would be a huge mistake.
Social media requires different skills and mindset than PR--in fact, it's the antithesis of PR. Ever hear of a PR manager who really believes in letting go of the messaging or allowing employees free reign to engage in wide-open conversations? PR is about message control and spin. Don’t try to disguise it as anything else. Public relations and “transparency” are like oil and water.
There’s no reason we can’t continue to have separate positions for social media marketing managers or strategists, and that public relations organizations can't be involved of course. As social media strategist and Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang points out, we already have specialized marketing managers in large corporations sorted by industries, mediums, and channels (ex: web marketing, search marketing, event marketing).
Here's what really bothers me.