A message to all the social media ninjas, jedis, gurus, rockstars, wizards, concierges…

Stop it.  Please.  You’re doing yourself and the industry a disservice – and it has to stop.

Last week I met a social media ‘ninja’ who says he has just a year of social media experience – and admits he knows nothing about marketing or public relations.  He told me he can’t believe he gets paid for ‘doing a few updates on Facebook and Twitter’ and, having taken a look at his handiwork, neither can I.

Social Media Ninja, Social Media Jedi, Social Media Wizard, Social Media Concierge
A message to all the social media ninjas, jedi, concierges and wizards…

But, the problem is not him, or his colleagues in the fantasy world of social media [used as a verb]. It’s us.  We let them get away with it because we just laugh at them behind their backs – but when they start to do my industry a disservice then it’s no longer a joking matter.  It’s time we called them on it.  Humiliated them publicly.  Stated speaking to them with the contempt they deserve.  And, by wasting your money without checking that they know what they are talking about – you continue to feed the growing trend for mythical social animals and self-titled experts.  Ask yourself this question: would you get on a plane with an airplane wizard [with one year’s experience] at the controls, or have your car serviced by an automotive Jedi? Would you take an accountant seriously if they were a financial rockstar?!

Every time I see a social media Jedi I want to say, ‘Use twitter you must not’ or ‘Use the Facebook Luke… but use it wisely’.  I want to challenge the Ninjas to a battle with communications nunchucks!  I joke about it, but it’s a serious matter – these people need calling out and banishing to a Rakata Mind Prison for social eternity.  This includes the self-titled ‘experts’ and the people who should know better… like Gerry Moran – Head of Social Media for SAP in North America.  Gerry wrote this nonsense a couple of weeks ago about learning to be a social media Jedi in 5 steps.

To quote Yoda, “When you look at the dark side, careful you must be…for the dark side looks back.” Next time you encounter a social media ninja, guru, rockstar, wizard or expert ask them to prove it!


Earlier in the week I was contacted by Gerry Moran. You can read his comments and my responses below.  As promised, I’m adding others that claim to be able to help you become a social media ninja/wizard/guru or jedi!



http://cliveroach.tumblr.com [when he’s not being a Social Media Jedi, Clive is the social media strategist for Philips Healthcare]

10-steps-to-becoming-a-jedi-master-of-social-media-stealth-marketing [Dave is an IT manager, technologist and keen fell runner in addition to being a social media jedi]

http://www.techopedia.com/2/28284/internet/social-media/jedi-strategies-for-social-media-management [Andrew Beattie claims to have spent most of his career writing, editing and managing Web content in all its many forms. He is, it appears, especially interested in the future of search and the application of analytics to the business world. He does not, it appears, to have any formal marketing qualifications!]

Please do what I’m going to do in the next few days and contact each of these individuals and ask them for their qualifications, how they measure the success or failure of their advice, and what their conversion rates are.  I’ll let you know what, if any, responses I get.

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9 Replies to “A message to all the social media ninjas, jedis, gurus, rockstars, wizards, concierges…”

  1. Hello Lyndon,

    I have to say that you did make me return to the post and find any self-reference to a guru, Jedi or expert. I don’t see any.

    “This includes the self-titled ‘experts’ and the people who should know better… like Gerry Moran – Head of Social Media for SAP in North America.” –> check the blog again

    “Gerry wrote this nonsense a couple of weeks ago about learning to be a social media Jedi in 5 steps.” –> The Jedi approach was a fun wrapper around five key points to help brand coworkers be social. The Jedi approach was a comical thread that is solid advice that I have seen work at the HBO, IKEA, SAP and award-winning agencies of Digitas, Whittman-Hart and imc2.

    If you think the 5 points that I articulated are nonsense … then I am sorry for your clients.

    Be nice and be a positive part of the community … especially with those that get it.

    And, if you are going to trash someone, make sure you hit them up and not let them find out from a Google search.


    Gerry Moran.

    1. Hi Gerry,

      Thanks for your comment. On reflection, perhaps I was a little harsh only calling you out, so I’m going to find a few more examples to add to the piece.

      I’m always happy to amend factual errors – are you not Head of Social Media for SAP in North America any more? I just checked LinkedIn and Google – again – and that appears to be correct.

      I don’t say that you position yourself as a guru, jedi or expert – the sentence refers to two groups – and as you’ve worked with the likes of HBO, IKEA, Digitas, Whittman-Hart, etc., then I would consider you part of the second group I talk about – those that should know better.

      I understand your attempt at comedy – I just don’t think it works. I agree that the points you make have merit, but they are the communications basics, rather than qualifying anybody to consider themselves a Jedi – or any other fictitious entity. There are people that will read it and believe it and I believe that those of us that know better have a duty not to encourage them. This is a point my original piece makes.

      “Be nice and be a positive part of the community… especially with those that get it”. This is some kind of Jedi mind trick, right? You can’t be serious?! Oh wait, you wrote a piece about becoming a social media Jedi! You’re deadly serious! I’m assuming what you really mean is “please don’t question those of us that think we get it”? I thought PR, including social media, was about a conversation – but it seems the default tactic for dealing with those that question ‘those that get it’ is to summarily dismiss them as not ‘getting it’ and hoping they go away!

      I’m sorry Gerry – I can’t do that. While you, and others, do – in my opinion – a disservice to the industry that I’ve worked in for 15 years by suggesting that mastery of social, or any other part of what we do, can be attained by understanding some of the basics, I’m going to keeping calling BS on it.



      p.s. “hit them up”?! Really?

  2. Hi Lyndon,

    We can agree to disagree. I stand my advice to my readers.

    Good luck with your business! Perhaps we can continue the positive conversation another time.


  3. Pingback: The Expert Myth
  4. Social media allows people to invent any persona they wish, be it social media ninja, marketing expert, or the ever-popular “speaker-trainer.” Many of these people have no experience and simply follow the lead of others, mimicking what successful people on social media are doing, and writing blogs with minimal information and horrific grammar. These people aren’t difficult for most of us to spot, but for less experienced people who genuinely need solid information and advice, the self-titled “experts” indeed do a disservice to many.

    1. Thanks for your input Natalie – and I agree. The problem for the people that do know what they’re talking about is that it has become accepted – it’s not difficult for people that understand to spot, but I’m always staggered how inept a lot of ninjas, wizards and experts are, and companies eagerness to hire them!

      Do you have any ideas on how we put a stop to it?

      I always ask people whether they’d get on a plane with a pilot who called himself an aviation ninja or an 747 rockstar!! I’m relieved that very few would!

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