The program debuts June 20-21 at the publication’s Social Media Summit. By laying out $1,390 to attend this two-day summit you earn eight credits towards certification.
Attend three more summits for a total of 32 credits and you’re certified. That’s a pretty hefty price tag.
Who Establishes the Standards?
Normally to become certified in a profession you must meet certain minimum standards that demonstrate your mastery of the discipline. You also need to successfully pass a test or assessment administered by a professional organization, state or university.
I took a rigorous day-long exam and then appeared before a panel of experts to answer their questions as a further test of my knowledge. I had to pass both the written and oral exam to become accredited.
In a web search I found a Social Media Certificate Program offered by Penton Educations Services, which requires passing an online exam.
West Virginia University offers a Social Media in Business Certificate. Some companies, such as Coca-Cola, offer their own Social Media Certification Programs.
I’m sure there are other social media certification programs out there and more to come.
Just Show Up and You’re In
Personally, if all you need to do is pay the fee and show up, I would have been certified in social media a long time ago.
I’ve attended three online Social Media Summits sponsored by Social Media Examiner, and conducted by highly respected and recognized social media experts including Brian Clark, Mari Smith and Jeremiah Oywang; two Social Media Weeks; Bea Fields’ 12-week blogging course; and many social media webinars about LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ — and the list goes on. You get the idea.
This is not to brag. I made the investment in time and money for my own benefit and for my clients. But I never had to pass a test after any of them. So I never received an official certification, and I shouldn’t have.
Multi-Tasking and Other Distractions
Have you been to a summit lately? Look around the audience and watch the eyeballs glued to smart phones, iPads, and laptop computers. True, some may be using the summit’s Twitter hash tag and tweeting their followers with updates on what speakers are saying. But I’d venture most are catching up on email or playing games and barely absorbing the content.
Just showing up isn’t enough.
I phoned the contact person in the PR News announcement to ask if you had to attend just four seminars or is there some sort of test at the end. The contact person didn’t have a clue and said she would get back to me.
I’ll let you know what she tells me.
In the meantime, do you think the PR News Social Media Certificate is a legitimate test of social media prowess? Do we need a certification program? If you believe one is necessary, what organization should offer an official social media certification program? This is an important issue as social media continues to grow in importance for individuals and organizations. Please leave your comments below. Thank you.