Don’t fall for bullshit social media certifications

How hard can this social media stuff be? I’m a ninja

In the social media space everyone is trying to skim some green off the cash cow. Whether it is a $47 webinar, a company running a Twitter exclusive sale or someone charging local businesses to set up a fan page on Facebook, everyone seems to be getting in on the action.

For the most part, I have no problem with it and make my share of money working within the social media space. So while I am all for commerce, I do take offense when people are selling a useless bill of goods.

The latest in this line of offenders is PR News. Last week, PR News announced that they are offering a “Certificate in Social Media”. According to their press release, “you’ll become a PR News Digital Master!” after attending just four of their conferences.

Anyone see anything wrong with that?

I do. Not only is the PR industry one that lacks regulation, but PR News holds no industry credibility outside the PR space for anyone looking to practice social media. At least some of the past cash-grab social media training courses are with college or universities.

At the end of the day, stunts like this (Read: cash grab) are only going to hurt the PR industry moving forward. Businesses are looking for individuals who can manage their social presence and tie it back to

core business areas, not someone who attended four PR News Conferences.

I would completely ignore this certification if I saw it on a resume. Perhaps the courses themselves are worthwhile, but the certification is worthless unless/until it’s endorsed by the industry at large.

So taking a page from the 80’s anti-drug ads:

Friends don’t let friends take fake certification classes

So please don’t. If you are serious about getting into the space get out there and learn as you go while tying your work back to a business value.

And to the PR News if you want to start some kind of certification, start in the PR space instead of going social. Otherwise you’re just adding another bad pitch to the pool.

74 Responses to Don’t fall for bullshit social media certifications
  1. jeffespo
    June 21, 2012 | 2:30 pm

    @PRCog hows the city treating you?

  2. jeffespo
    June 21, 2012 | 2:32 pm

    @dangerdubs tahnks

  3. PRCog
    June 21, 2012 | 2:32 pm

    @jeffespo to quote norm – it’s a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing milkbone underwear

  4. jeffespo
    June 21, 2012 | 2:32 pm

    @PRCog disappointing Norm quote… because I like beer much better than dogs at your junk

  5. PRCog
    June 21, 2012 | 2:32 pm

    @jeffespo win some, lose some, drink some…

  6. jeffespo
    June 21, 2012 | 2:32 pm

    @PRCog atta boy

  7. PRCog
    June 21, 2012 | 2:32 pm

    @jeffespo 🙂

  8. DannyBrown
    June 21, 2012 | 2:32 pm

    @Ldillonschalk @jeffespo I always thought Jeff was such a nice young man too…

  9. jeffespo
    June 21, 2012 | 2:32 pm

    @DannyBrown @Ldillonschalk aww shucks how sweet of you Daniel 🙂

  10. jeffespo
    June 21, 2012 | 2:32 pm

    @Ldillonschalk thanks for sharing and glad you liked it 🙂

  11. DannyBrown
    June 21, 2012 | 2:33 pm

    @jeffespo @Ldillonschalk Less talking, more check mailing

  12. jeffespo
    June 21, 2012 | 2:33 pm

    @DannyBrown very true I do owe you an email…

  13. DannyBrown
    June 21, 2012 | 2:33 pm

    @jeffespo Yes. Yes you do.

  14. Ldillonschalk
    June 21, 2012 | 2:33 pm

    @jeffespo @dannybrown I like it when people call out industry stupidity… btw let’s do a post on the “here is your digital strategy’ next

  15. DannyBrown
    June 21, 2012 | 2:33 pm

    @Ldillonschalk @jeffespo You should guest on the @PunkViews blog!

  16. vanhoosear
    June 21, 2012 | 2:33 pm

    @carreening Helllooo, Doctor!

  17. seelbachmgqrv7
    June 21, 2012 | 2:33 pm


  18. whenpigsflyblog
    June 22, 2012 | 8:33 am

    @danperezfilms Oh, Dan. No one needs a cheesy certificate to be an expert. Make a website and start selling some snake oil.

  19. RababKhan
    June 22, 2012 | 2:23 pm

    And here I was going to start offering these certificates…way to ruin an entrepreneur’s almost-earning business, Jeff. :p Good post. 🙂

  20. jeffespo
    June 22, 2012 | 3:18 pm

    @kdzima @JenKaneCo Thanks!

  21. jeffespo
    June 25, 2012 | 3:38 pm

    @allenmireles Thanks!

  22. jeffespo
    June 25, 2012 | 4:23 pm

    @ModWorkingWoman thanks!

  23. hoittnzujpp3
    July 9, 2012 | 6:49 pm
  24. jeffespo
    July 19, 2012 | 8:38 am

     @RababKhan I try my best.