Ninja, Guru, Maven ... The Most Appalling Social Media Titles Ranked

The good folks over at Ad Age have been tracking the number of self-proclaimed social media "gurus," "ninjas," "whores," (seriously), "mavens," and other barftastic titles since 2009. Not only have these titles not gone away, they've grown exponentially in the last few years, from a mere 16,000 to 181,000.

Here are the most popular (awful) social media names people are calling themselves on Twitter:

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Social Media Maven: 21,928
Social Media Ninja: 21,876
Social Media Evangelist: 20,829
Social Media Guru: 18,363
Social Media Consultant: 9,031
Social Media Specialist: 7,867
Social Media Expert: 5,555
Social Media Marketing Expert: 1,704
Social Media Marketer: 1,555
Social Media Professional: 648
Social Media Freak: 250
Social Media Whore: 104
Social Media Warrior: 104
Social Media Master: 88
Social Media Wonk: 35
Social Media Veteran: 10
Social Media Authority: 4

We don't much mind the business-speak ones (consultant, specialist, marketer), since they seem straight-forward enough, but the prevalence of ninjas and evangelists is just embarrassing at this point. Can you picture another profession employing such "too cool for school" tactics?

"Hi, I'm Bob. I'm a Proctology Ninja. Your colon has never seen the stealth and cunning I can provide!"

"Bobbi Sue here, Real Estate Freak, here to get you a motherfucking house."

Part of the problem is that so few full-time positions exist in social media (though that's changed a lot in the last few years), so people are forced to self-title, but they feel awkward about it, and opt for the less profesh (as the kids say) and less original standbys. The other problem is there's only so many ways to say "expert." We've exhausted our thesaurus capabilities.

"Wizard" is better left in Hogwarts. "Crackerjack" sounds racist. Savant? Quarterback? Prime Minister? Artisan? Whisperer? All sound ridiculous and hokey, but are still probably preferable to "guru." If you're going to be over the top about it, why not just call yourself a Social Media Totalitarian? If someone accuses you of being a fascist, just say something jargony about ROI and value-added adhocracy. They'll be too confused to argue with you.

And for the record, yes, I too have a cutesy title in my Twitter bio -- it's Social Media Snark Shark. You're welcome to mock me if it'll stop you from calling yourself a "warrior."

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