Working in social media is a sensible career move because…?

What should I say?

My parents are amazing and hugely supportive people, but one of the things that puzzle them is why I insist on immersing myself with all things social media when any other professions such as publishing or journalism might better suit my qualifications (English Lit. MA – don’t-choo-know).

Their [understandable] concerns are that the social media industry: might be a phase/ won’t provide a great income/ does not require my post-graduate degree / is a waste of my education/ is exhausting and stressful/ means never sleeping/ means relying on coffee for all bodily sustenance etc etc


What I’m asking for is – if you work in or with social media – to articulate the benefits of working in the industry. I know there are many, but I’d love to hear of your own experiences.

Maybe then my parents will stop threatening to disinherit me…;)

Complete the sentence (in a parent-appeasing way).

Working in the social media industry is a sensible career move because:


About jonathanrose

Raconteur. Intellectual. Showerman.
This entry was posted in New Media, Social Media, Work and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Working in social media is a sensible career move because…?

  1. It’s the new way of connecting and communicating. Simple!


    • jonathanrose says:


      Like quite a few people of an earlier generation, they don’t realise how society has changed from the ‘old order of things’ and that the solid institutions and practices of the past are no longer the norm. That goes for especially how we now connect and communicate.

  2. drbexl says:

    Working in the social media industry is a sensible career move because:

    It’s the new form of publishing (most publishers and journalists are trying to catch up in learning social media… ready made market right there).

    To deal specifically with each concern:

    might be a phase: It’s a long lasting phase if so. I get bored quickly, and never been bored in the digital world.
    won’t provide a great income: One of the few industries that is still growing in a recession as people realise that they need to raise their profiles in the face of stiff competition.
    does not require my post-graduate degree/is a waste of my education: I’m ‘doing social media’ with my PhD, using all my transferable skills…
    is exhausting and stressful/means never sleeping/means relying on coffee for all bodily sustenance etc etc: Can be true, part of digital literacy is learning to allow you to manage your social media rather than vice versa (clearly I have never fully mastered it, but I was the same with previous forms of comms before t’internet). I HATE coffee so that’s clearly not true….

    • jonathanrose says:


      You’re the best case study EVER. I’m just going to show you to my parents and hope they see the light!

      It’s good to see the admission that SM *does* have a slightly high-speed, potential burnout lifestyle attached to it. I’m particularly thankful Bex that you practice a good example of a balanced SM life.

  3. Jon says:

    Sounds like jolly good fun.
    You can’t beat job satisfaction.

    Ps – I don’t work in social media 😦

    • jonathanrose says:

      You’re right Jon.

      In truth, SM is incredibly fun. I have no doubt that it is within this industry that I will find the most job satisfaction. That alone makes the coffee for breakfast, lunch and dinner worth it!

  4. Johnny Laird says:


    Everybody needs it, everybody is doing it – but only a few know how to do it properly.

    Also, it’s the Wild West…and you’re in quite near the beginning, Cowboy! 🙂

  5. Chris says:

    Social media + expertise = job. Knowing how something works doesn’t equal being good at it, so having a post-grad degree gives you expertise… But like any graduate, you may not want to continue in that field anyway…

    Social media is like an add-on to pre-existing roles, I think. Take marketing… Just because one knows what hash-tags do doesn’t mean one has the expertise to run a social media advertising campaign.

    Social media is large cog in a massive machine. I think, at the moment, because lots of people still don’t understand social media one can get away with just understanding it which may result in paid work. But eventually people will begin to understand how it works and the job market will go back to looking for specific experience. So now is the time to sell yourself as the social media consultant and through that work hopefully you’ll gain experience and be exactly what employers want: a 3D employee.

  6. Working in the social media industry is a sensible career move because:

    as any truly successful person will tell you, there is no point doing something, anything, if you have no love and passion for it. And you clearly have a passion for SM, and believe in it, and combined with your hard work, this can only lead to lasting success and satisfaction. And who wouldn’t want that?

    • jonathanrose says:

      Yinks – not to be a naysayer – but is passion really enough? Certainly, it will make your work enjoyable but what if it does not provide enough money for a living or leads to poor quality of life?

      Should passion override prudence, Yinka?

      PS I don’t actually disagree with you per se – I’m just playing Devil’s Advocate on this one!

  7. Lord Kenley says:

    Working in the social media industry is a sensible career move because:

    Jonny Rose is not army / navy / Royal Air Force material.

  8. Lord Kenley says:

    Joking aside, I am, in the politest possible way, going to disagree with both Wendy Ager and Drbexl.

    Social media is not new. If you are working on a public relations or communications campaign then social media such as Facebook, Twitter, You Tube Four Sq, Flickr etc are further communications channels that you must consider using along with newspapers, advertising, webites etc.

    Traditional print-based media are losing out as organisations as diverse as Sin Fein, the Church of Scotland and Israeli Defence Force use twitter and other on-line media to target their messages direct to their audiences. This by-passes journalists who might interpret their messages negatively or represent their views innacurately. It’s a seismic shift in communications, but one that happened years ago.

    It’s not about having a career in social media, it’s about having a career in communications / public relations and understanding when and how to put social media to good use.

    On that note, I’m off to work. . .

    • jonathanrose says:

      “It’s not about having a career in social media, it’s about having a career in communications / public relations and understanding when and how to put social media to good use”

      I think this is a great distinction, your Lordship. In essence, “PR is a career, SM are tools for a career”.

      Perhaps I have been too narrow-sighted in my view of Social Media, seeing it as mainly an end in itself rather than a means to an end in various sectors (PR, local govt, not-for-profit etc).

      Thanks for bringing back some much-needed perspective!

      • Lord Kenley says:

        Rarely have been accused of giving anyone perspective!

        If you hire in a PR company or look at the in-house comms / PR team of any sizeable organisation it will be made up – roughly – of the following individuals: events organisers, media / press officers, marketing officers, possibly a design and print team, a public affairs officer or two…and some web / social media specialists (web and social media are often combined).

        If you want your specialism to be social media then fine, go ahead and do it – there is a place for you out there as a comms / pr expert. You would, however, need to accept that you’d be part of a bigger machine.

        You’d also have exactly the same issue with your parents:

        Child: “Mother, father, I wish to persue a career in PR and communications.”

        Parents(s): “You what?”

        Child: “Yes, I want to use my skills to develop strategies and increase awareness of brands / organisations using a broad spectrum of communications channels but specialise in the area of social media.”

        Parent(s): “Are you sure we can’t persuade you to join the army / become a stripper? At least we can explain that at dinner parites.”

  9. johnny says:

    Do a job because you enjoy it. Regardless of salary (bonus) etc not because you want parental validation.

    Just think of all the horrified parents of porn stars !

  10. Serena says:

    Social media is where people are. Professional communicators should be where people are, engaging with them and sharing information.

    It’s not a phase because the first social network was set up in 1972 in a record store in Berkeley, California. Now, half the world is online.

    Whilst jobhunting, I’ve had two employers ask me to come in on an adhoc basis to help develop their social media as they know it’s important and they need someone with those skills.

    You go for it Jonny!

    • jonathanrose says:

      Snoad – as one who has gone before me, I’m glad you’ve chipped in.

      The valuable insight of your comment was when you said how employers have asked you to come in to help develop their social media. I think it speaks volumes that owners and managers of established businesses have taken notice of the need to understand SM. Appreciate that tidbit!

      PS I totally did not know that the first social network was set up in 1972. Nice fact!

      • serenasnoad says:

        you’re welcome 🙂

        i popped into one office on tuesday and they’re interested in working with on developing social media campaigns especially around using social media in the build up to and running of a live debate

        going into a christian org on friday to talk about how they currently use social media and how they could take it forward/refresh it

        there are lots of agencies around looking for interesting people for ad hoc stuff. there’s one nice group i’ve been chatting to recently, so who knows?

        the 1972 fact is cool isn’t it? got that from rory cellan jone’s secret history of social networking. it’s on iplayer i think.

  11. jennyfarout says:

    Johnny, do the job you want to, not the one your parents want. I did that for 10 years and it nearly drove me insane. Please note I’m not actually insane, although some would beg to differ. 🙂

    Live where your heart can be given and your life starts to evolve. As they say.

  12. Working in social media is a sensible career move because…

    like it or not, understand it or not, interactivity of social media is here, it is only giong to extend and Christians need to be at the forefront of its use…

    See – told you I was strange and thats what I told my parents. but my father always said that first part, even though he was an affirmed agnostic…

  13. charlotteelizabethclark says:

    Working in the social media industry is a sensible career move because journalism practices have changed and we now live in a much more democratic, content driven society where social media has become the most relevant publishing tool. Multi-media content gives me the opportunity to create content that real people can relate to and interact with and it’s more than simply words on a page.

    Great idea for a post mate! 🙂

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