Is it time for specialisation of roles within Social Media?

I recently had dinner with a good Twitter friend of mine and his lovely wifeand at some point the conversation turned to job specialisation within social media. The conversation move on in a different direction before I could share my views and I am glad it did because going home afterwards I realised my views wouldn’t have been right.

My first instinct was to compare the Social Media industry with the Web Design industry because in the early days of Web Design there was only one job role: The Web Designer.

The evolution of the Web Designer

However, quickly the role Web Designer split in two; Web Designer and Web Developer, then three; Web Designer, Web Developer and Network Engineer.

My first instinct was to compare the Social Media industry with the Web Design industry because in the early days of Web Design there was only one job role: The Web Designer.

Several splits later the role as Web Designer has all but disappeared and replaced by specialist roles such as Information Architect, Business Analyst, Frontend Developer, User-Interface Designer, Digital Marketeer, SEO Specialists, PPC Professionals, Affiliate Marketeers, User Experience Architects, Motion Designers, Flash Developers, Mobile Interface Designers, App Developers, Object Developers, Drupal Themers and the list really does go on and on and on.

This evolution triggering these segmentations was the result of a growing industry. Today Web Design is big business requiring big results and nobody can do it all by themselves anymore.

Does this maturing of an industry sounds familiar to you from a Social Media perspective? It did to me… at first anyway.

But it is not the same for Social Media

Web Design is still an industry. It is not something the great unwashed masses do unless you count the DIY design of an page or similar.

I would argue that Social Media is not an industry. It is affecting the population as a whole re-wiring our brains to a new, always-connected world.

I have previously described social media as a second language and I think that description is still valid. Social media is part of or will become part of all jobs.

How does Social Media enhance my job role?

So I don’t think the question is whether Social Media is going into specialised job roles but rather the question is: How does Social Media affect any role? What Social Media knowledge is needed for any role?

  • Does a Marketeer benefit from understand Social Media? Definitely!
  • Does a journalist need to know how to use Twitter? Sure!
  • Does a bus driver need to know about YouTube?… Yes he does. If he behaves badly, he risk going viral online!

And if you are a Final Fantasy XI player…

If you have ever played the MMO game Final Fantasy XI there is an even better way of describing Social Media: Social Media is a subjob!

To those who don’t play Final Fantasy XI the in-game job system lets you choose a main job for example Warrior, but you can modify this role by applying a subjob which gives you a few extra benefits. So for example a Warrior with a subjob of Ninja can use two weapons instead of one. A Warrior with a subjob of Ranger is better at using a bow.

Think of Social Media as the sub job for your (real-life) job. How does it modify your job?


A London based digital native who's thumb is rarely seen more than 2 inches away from the nearest 'Tweet now' button.


  1. True, everybody need social media in some way or another but at the same time corporate need some specialised roles together with other employees to use social media effectively.

  2. […] year I wrote an article questioning whether it was time for specialisation of roles within Social Media and I believe that trail of thought is getting increasingly applicable for what social media […]

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