Career In Social Media
Wait, you mean I can get a job working in social media? Wait, what does that even mean? Updating Facebook statuses for people? Tweeting photos? Being a socially awkward billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg? The quick answer is sort-of.
Only a fool or a MySpace holdover (same thing?) would argue that social media isn’t one of the most valuable, revenue-spitting, exciting and downright revolutionary places to be as we propel through a 21st century already full of incredible innovation. Every industry, every facet of life in one shape or another is informed and molded by the malleable and omnipresent “social media,” replicating itself into “platforms” garnered to facilitate different needs, interests and niches. I know you already know all of this, and I don’t need to tell you any of it. I’m just putting it into perspective for you.
As with anything that produces big bucks, social media is owned by big corporations, whether they were bought by them or became the big corporations themselves as a product of their own victories. But for every Vice Executive Operational Chairman of the Third Executive Vice Chief Officer, there’s just got to be a the “little” guy on the front line making things happen. There’s a chain of command, even in social media.
So there’s jobs, but are there sustainable careers? I have no doubt in my mind that school textbooks and degrees associated with social media will one day be one of the most sought after educational avenues on an international scale. While not everyone will be a Zuckerburg or a Kevin Systrom, social media will one day soon, if it isn’t already, be one of the healthiest job markets in any economy.
Social Media School?
We’re talking jobs that either A) didn’t exist 10 years ago, or B) existed in a very small capacity as “hobbies.” There’s the bloggers who research, write, edit and post the content that we all read on a regular basis with varying degrees of fluffiness. There are some really great writers out there, though, and while social media constantly adapts and transforms, culture is a stagnant force that requires vigilant, critical and analytical minds to prepare content for us in digestible packages. Bloggers are also split in a sub-category, the copywriter. The noun copywriter has somewhat evolved in definition, at once being ascribed to a person who writes in a persuasive manner to convince someone to buy something, but now becoming more synonymous with blogging as a hybrid writer who is both analyzing and sales pitching. While impressive writing capabilities are always the surest of ways to get a blogging/copywriting gig, creativity is perhaps the most key of factors. An ability to think outside of the box, a perspective that may not be otherwise represented is what separates hobbyists from the regarded professionals.
App Development is another new job prospect. With so much content coming at us powered by applications on our smartphones, developers with expertise in not just design or coding but mobile design and coding are sought after. While the mobile app market may now be inundated with eighteen different varieties and alternatives per creative idea, apps offer the chance for literally overnight breakthrough either by chance or calculated movement. Though it’s been publicized to the max, Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen’s Flappy Bird and it’s ilk have gained obsessive levels of attention through unintentional promotion by word of mouth. Nguyen’s product, clearly one motivated by passion rather than financial gain or mass celebration, tapped into a simple desire by mobile users for a game that is simple, fun, addictive and an aesthetic call back to the old Nintendo/Mario games of the 80’s and 90’s. The success and demand of the game was so overwhelming that Nguyen famously and controversially shut it down. That’s the power application development possesses in this very moment. It’s an area ripe for the taking, one that does require some schooling depending on your natural abilities or experiences, but is a wide open range just waiting for that fresh idea or alternative take. Be bizarre, be brash, and inject a sense of yourself. People will take notice.
What about the all-encompassing digital marketer? There may be blogs, apps, content in existence, but who’s tasked with pushing this stuff and making sure people are absorbing it? The digi marketers study trends, passions, likes, shares, pluses, traffic, analytics, codes, tweets, hashtags, posts, ups, downs, you name it in order to aggregate data that will tell who wants what, and how to give them. With so many distribution models made available through the advent of social media, digital marketers have both an easier and more complicated process in front of them. From my perspective, future generations will prepare their whole lives for this potential job opening, as a reported 38% of the younger userbase on Facebook is under the minimum age of 13 as of 2012, a number that has surely grown since then. We basically grow up with this stuff now, it’s a part of our daily existence for worse (or in our current case of job prospects) better.
Depending on your background, the concept of answering “social media” to the question “what field do you work in” perhaps sounds strange right now. But there’s already proof of a slow transition towards social media careers, most visibly exemplified by the likes of businesses who value social presence so much, they hire professionals to handle their social channels for them. These professionals are skilled by every sense of the word, and are also in increasingly high demand.
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