Emerging media, digital marketing, social media, word-of-mouth influence, mobile marketing, Web 2.0 marketing …. The names seem endless. All inter-linked and yet there is always something not covered by each catch-all phrase. Is it any wonder that there is a healthy cynicism about all things social media? Given that there are very few real markers of expertise and authority in the world of social media, it seems a case of the one-eyed man and the land of the blind.
There are some universities offering a master’s program in social networking and others which offer certificate programs in social media marketing. Do those papers confer authority? Given that there is a change everyday, every hour, in the way this new media intersects with our life, it seems as though that old and established University of Life is the only sure-fire source of updated curriculum for this area of study.
But there is a problem with on-the-job training. I am learning as I go and there is always the concern that I am missing out on some of the latest-greatest innovations happening in cyberspace. I read somewhere that it will take over 50,000 years to read what is on the Internet now, and it is a given that I am not going to get to all the wonderful insights that some sharp dude is sharing somewhere on the web. But my hope is that the cream will rise to the top and that I will get to see some of the best ideas sooner rather than later. Is this a naive hope?
I find that going to the source often helps. Facebook, Google, Twitter all have information streams; statistical updates about these sites helps me see trends and patterns. I like the range of information that Mashable and Social Media Watch offer. Every day I find a website or a blog where someone has an interesting perspective on a social media campaign or a great analysis of social media strategy. It seems fitting that this is the way I am getting educated about emerging trends in social networking and Web 2.0 marketing. I appreciate the access I have to the latest thoughts and stimulating concepts spread out across the world and it seems to me that “there is grandeur in this view of life.”
Where do you go to stay up-to-date? Who do you see as the gurus of your field? Have you become an expert at anything by educating yourself?