The emergence of social media has seen the birth of several new buzz terms, like ‘thought leader’ and ‘guru’. These terms are thrown around constantly and every second PR agency is branding themselves as key players in the social media landscape.
Most people might accept it – after all, the terms they use sound academic. They must know what they’re talking about… right?
Wikipedia defines the term ‘thought leader’ as a buzzword or article of jargon used to describe a futurist or person who is recognised among peers and mentors for innovative ideas, and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas.
That’s a bit generous, in my opinion. I’d be willing to bet that a PR person coined the phrase to disguise the fact they had no experience in social media, but had thought about it a couple of times. You know the saying: those who can do and those who can’t…
PR agencies everywhere are suddenly thought leaders in something. I’ve met more than a few social media gurus in the past year, and the number of so-called experts in this field is growing on a daily basis. But how can you be an expert at something that’s developing at a rapid speed?
We as an industry should be ashamed for overusing terms to the point they have no real meaning. Then again, maybe our poor unsuspecting clients have no idea that being a thought leader basically means contemplating your navel, in industry speak of course!