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.