« How Brands Can be Heroes..Or Not | Main | Thanks, but no thanks: Enough with the nonsense already. « The BrandBuilder Blog »

November 27, 2009



Aliza, it sounds like a racket to me. Frankly, the only organization I've heard of that makes sense to join is WOMMA http://womma.org/

But there are so many good resources available without joining anything that I'm not tempted by their fees, which are pretty steep for a small businessperson.


Nik Hewitt

Geez, anyone who would pay $2795 for something like this MUST be certifiable! As must anyone who'd respect a qualification like this in what's still an emerging industry. Social Media is such a 'bandwagon' right now, it makes we wonder how, as an industry, we'll demonstrate credibility in the future?

Alanagh Recreant

You have build a soap box and I am climbing onto it. :)

This is not so much different from organisations starting out in Africa to alleviate poverty or any of the other ills we have here - and often based abroad. Their leaders see the opportunity to enter emerging markets and the hear the 'buzz' around Africa and international development. They often have the will and resources (and most often the best intentions) to make a good go at it and harness grants and support from their believers.

The question remains: Do they truly have the experience in collaborating with local communities? Or even just earning stripes by BEING the project without HAVING a flashy campaign or project.

I understand the frustration so well. However, the fact remains: There is much smoke and mirrors out there, and the field of social media Every second person are positioning themselves as an 'expert' and the real experts are clouded with noise as they act more collaboratively and with more integrity according to their humble beginnings. It is indeed a small minefield.

The only measure of success is really via relationships, impact assessment and direct interaction can we determine the value of any programme or organisation. And then, new and old makes no difference - but depth and width.

Adopting later and making a big success is often the trend of mainstream success and innovators and entrepeneurs fall off the bus if they are unable to cross the divide into a solid business model. This is the real tension - that those pathing the way are too bruised to walk it now.

Kevin Houchin

These are good people who are sincerely trying to bring honest credentials, training, & professionalism to this growing field. If you have ideas about how to make the program and association more valuable, I know for a fact that Mari & Mark would welcome your suggestions and participation.

Alexander White

Unless there is some kind of skills or qualification based accreditation (like Engineer or Actuary Associations), I can't really see the point of an association. Of course, I can see benefits as a marketing tool and a way for consultants to differentiate themselves.



I feel that it is upto the person who wants to be certified... If the entity lacks credibility, then the person won't benefit...and the law of markets would make the certification redundant.... but as you said, these are early times...plus it's a free market... social media isn't the only segment that experiences umpteen number of certificates...

Erica Friedman

Racket. And people will buy into it, because traditional programs haven't yet caught up with Social media.


I'm glad that I came across this site because I am new to this and I am seriously considering this program. Mainly I see two reasons: I have a nonprofit and want to get up to speed quickly and in an organized fashion (it does look like they take you from A-Z and tie it in a neat bow), and secondly, for the "real" job it looks good and might get me moved to a different IT position if I have a certification. You know mgmt - they just see the alphabet soup behind your name, and suddenly you matter to them.
The critical thinking is good and has given cause for pause. Thanks for the other side of the coin.

Aaron Savage

I took a good look through the site as well. If you are interested I put my thoughts down on my Blog


I agree with you that this is an organisation that exists to sell certificates, and with very little other business goals. This type of company will take anyone and forget about standards in my view and so it is ultimately meaningless as an accreditation and nothing more than a may to part suckers and their money from each other. I'm sorry though I don't think that 2 years is long enough to be an expert in social media or anything else.

Steve Coulson

One would have thought that an organization touting itself as the arbiters of best practices in Social Media would have monitored and responded to your post by now..... By failing to address your issues promptly and engaging in public dialog with you, they're kind of providing their own case study on what not to do.

aliza sherman

Hi Steve,

Well, Mari did call Oliver at http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com/ and Mark did comment on his post http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/thanks-but-no-thanks-enough-with-the-nonsense-already/ - I just a small fry to them, I guess!

aliza sherman

Amanda - there are many other ways to gain the knowledge you need to better understand social media - especially for nonprofits. Social Media 4 Social Good http://socialmediaforsocialgood.com/ is a good place to start. Let me know if you need further guidance - many of my clients are nonprofits.


Thanks for the WWWAC shoutout, Aliza. Social Media Club has started a site where those educating others about Social Media (like me at NYU's Continuing Ed program) can share and learn from each other. http://smcedu.ning.com/ is the site, and we welcome those who want to contribute to knowledge in the field.

aliza sherman

Howard - thank you for the resource! I'm heading over there right now. So much learning - and sharing - that must be done.


Thanks, Aliza. I am going to check this site out. In fact, I have already looked at the other suggestions here too. It's fortuitous for me and my organization. Did I mention how happy I am to have found this site?
Don't be surprised if I really do call on you :)

Queen of Measurement

This is nothing but a scam. The fact that not a single academic or anyone with any proven social media results is involved in this should give you the message loud and clear -- STAY AWAY, RIP OFF ahead!

Marc Meyer

Agree with K.D., Absolutely unfettered bullshit..

Aliza Sherman

Queen of Measurement - what if they changed their name to International Social Media Learning Institute or Training Institute - and put themselves out there as a company offering training - would that change your view?


Thanks so much for publicly questioning this organization, its agenda and the value of what it is offering to people who desire to become more knowledgeable in the social media space. Yikes!

I wanted to recommend an alternative to anyone interested in furthering their knowledge without having to make an investment in anything other than time. Hubspot, a marketing company on the East Coast, introduced Inbound Marketing University this past summer (http://www.inboundmarketing.com/university), which provides a series of one-hour webinars by credible practitioners in the field, including Chris Brogan, David Meerman Scott, Mack Collier, Rand Fishkin, and more, followed by an opportunity to take a test and become certified. The entire package is FREE to those interested in the content, and the test itself is optional. The test was actually tricky with as many as 1/2 of those who chose to take it failing it in IMU's first session. Hubspot has gone on to add additional sessions and curricula, including presentations by Avinash Kaushik and Gary Vaynerchuk.

I found the whole thing to be very valuable, packaged intelligently, and managed professionally. I have recommended it to a number of friends and colleagues, some of whom have little knowledge of digital marketing and were seeking a foundation. I recommend it as a great starting place irrespective of your background and experience, as I gained knowledge in several areas, regardless of my 12+ years of experience in the digital marketing space. Why spend $3000 when something this fabulous is free?

Ken Jones PhD

The article is great, and every time I see the title it cracks me up. You go girl!

The comments to this entry are closed.



  • HootSuite - Social Media Dashboard

Subscribe to my emails!

* indicates required