Constructively Speaking… a nice thread on Social Media Certifications (via @UnMarketing)

8 Dec

Apropos this tweet…

#Corrected: @unmarketing “… Future of Social Media Certifications” @TheBrandBuilder #MustRead anyways #FaveTopic ^SM 26 minutes ago from UberTwitter

I jumped into the thread comment to vent out a couple of thoughts…

Stalling at the Gate?

Stalling at the Gate?


(Thanks to Scott for Tweeting about this… even if it was about a typo!… seems like a Pow-Wow by now!)

If I may?

One, I took the time (and even took out a Student Loan) to get my MCP/MCSA certifications… and spend a year at New Horizons, learning HALF of what I did not know (which we usually DON’T KNOW, right?) about the whole Microsoft environment… got a few sneers from some peers, but I’m sure that the GE HR DB also got enough hits out of my resume to help me land my last job… are they valuable? I don’t think that’s in doubt, but I just wanted to remind myself (and whoever read this) that along with Microsoft’s, a peek at the Test Taking site (Thompson-Prometric) allowed one to see that a whole industry was sitting on those servers…

Two, as to certifying bodies and standards: I am a certified PADI Divemaster… why? ‘cuz I follow the PADI standards… and again, SAME scenarios (of plain subjectivity, a human frailty we all seem to be afflicted with – and which also allows for varied offerings to compete in an open market, as Ruth pointed out earlier) where we’d have “pissing contests” between the old salts who thought that PADI was ‘bad’ because of a few feet, a few atmospheres, and whatever other differences they could find, just to validate that ‘theirs’ (meaning such other bodies like NAUI, SSI, etc) was ‘better’…

This being a blog about brands, I can easily foresee a combination of what y’all are talking about, and a future mature industry where different ‘venues’ are offered, as in the end, just as I mentioned earlier, these kind of discussions are sure to ‘chum up the waters’ and bring in the apex predators… the ones with the cash and the stamina to aggregate and catalyze these divergent dialectics into a marketable product that allows, much like y’all have posted, for individuals to “highlight” their abilities (not that they prove anything, yes, as I’ve also seen ‘certified’ IT pros whose personal proclivities left for a lot of room for doubt as to their professionalism) and for companies to ‘segregate’ those whose desire for continuing education (that old process of learning AND unlearning that keeps some of us afloat in these raging labor markets) at least validates their desire to find a way to make it, whether by mere training attendance, or by coagulating what they ‘knew’ from first hand experience, into yet another piece of paper on the proverbial bragger wall.

Greed and other base values will take care of the rest, as this nascent industry matures and gains the recognition it deserves from those we so desperately try to evangelize as to its existence.

A Lifelong Learner – and Unlearner

13 Responses to “Constructively Speaking… a nice thread on Social Media Certifications (via @UnMarketing)”

  1. fjpalacio 2009/12/14 at 08:24 #

    Seems like I hit a couple of positives, according to Olivier…

    “Olivier Blanchard

    Excellent comment! Thank you for taking the time to write all that.

    I really like the PADI certification reference, by the way. I was certified in France by the FFESSM, so I completely get what you’re talking about.

    I’m actually not averse to competition between certifying bodies, as long as (for now, at least) we start talking about standards, process and legitimizing a certification mechanism. We’ll deal with pissing contests when we get there. 😉

    Thanks a bunch for your comment.” (Blanchard, 2009)

    to which I answered over there…

    “Glad you found the PADI example useful; as many may also vouch for, the balance between them, the actual ‘industry’ (equipment manufacturers, hospitality industry, etc) and the diving community, as you point out, it’s definitely ‘symbiotic’ – and allows for choices, regardless of how one may subjectively feel attached to the brand.

    Bottom line? those certification bodies, IMHO, have found a way to deploy the “Franchisor-Franchisee” relationship in most of its practical modes – minus the costly overhead of governmental regulation.

    And as to competition per se? that’s actually what makes everything around us improve, so like you said, the actual emotional sides, are somehow irrelevant – except where they are measured, tracked and embodied in the continuous upgrades they have to submit to their customer base… which when translated to the something as intrinsically IT-ish as these new Media environs, well, also makes one’s head spin as to the total ‘headcounts’ required – which is good news to everyone, I assume?

    Looking forward – and thanks for getting this conversation started!” (Palacio, 2009)

  2. John Panico 2009/12/15 at 04:56 #


    I can see both sides of the argument. A certificate in Social Media application would mean what at this point in time? And by whose standards?

    The challenge I see is that we are trying to create a standard on something that is not clearly defineable. When you went for your Microsoft certifications, you had something that at least was defined by them since they created the product.

    With social media, I am not sure if we are in total agreement about much.

    At the end of the day, you begin to wonder if the certification bodies are just diploma mills or if they are developing something that is worthy for the recipient.

    Is it (social media certification) something that is needed? I am not sure at this point in time. One of the reasons you got a MicroSoft certification is that many companies wouldn’t consider hiring you or advancing you without one. This industry is still in its’ infancy and there are alot of “cowboys” out there who have threw up their “social media shingles” who don’t even practice it themselves.

    Of late, that has become my rallying cry. You have to walk the walk. If you don’t have a reasonable social media presence, then I think it would be hard to call yourself an “expert” as so many have. I for one am putting my efforts to put my money where my mouth is in the same manner that you are.

    Bottom line, great discussion, but not sure if we have enough of a quorum to come to a conclusion.

    Thanks for letting me participate!

    John Panico

    • fjpalacio 2009/12/15 at 09:08 #

      Thanks John for your candid remarks.

      As you may have seen on the original Post by Olivier Blanchard, there is precisely a critical mass which, to some of us, may actually allow for the inception, creation and evolution of those standards.

      As to those ‘Diploma Mills’ you mention, that was actually an argument I heard profusely AGAINST my Microsoft Certs; and guess who came up with said utterances? those with the MOST experience, whom considered the certifications to be a “joke” as they were being issued to people with relatively less experience than them.

      Hence the argument comes up: what is the value?

      For me, personally, ANY and ALL efforts that a person can do – walk the talk – in terms of their betterment, DO count.

      A MS Cert holder, WITHOUT the hands-on experience? well, that was up to the HR person to “let them through” their systems; meaning, other portions of their resume had to be considered, IMHO.

      Also: as I’ve mentioned everywhere, a part of the model some of us are envisioning, has to do with institutions such as PADI, SSI and NAUI, whose standards are actually BUILT around the ‘experiential proof’ that so many have mentioned to be a key; meaning, in scuba-speak, you had to have an ‘x’ amount of “logged dives” (shorthand for ‘witnessed and corroborated experience on the topic’) that had to comprise a certain ‘range’ of experience, as well as an incremental path to the professional levels; in other words, unlike an MCP (which was just a single exam by Microsoft, that a lot of people took and used to confuse the hiring manager who did not know all the variants of the MS method) an Open Water Diver is just that, someone who can get into the water; a Dive Master, on the other hand, had to have a series of ‘specialties’ completed AND approved, as well as those logged dives I mention earlier before even applying to the certification.

      That many figured out how to do it in one week, again, gives credit to both the institutions’ desire to at least give people a working baseline from where to start their businesses – which is what I learned from my exposure to both sides of the Scuba Industry, as I not only became a Divemaster via the ‘scenic route’ of experience and slowly acquiring my specialties but also helped out a certification agency deploy itself on the Latinamerican market – but also the person’s desire to learn enough to get started; that they will also need to ‘prove themselves’, well, that’s where some of what Brian Kirsch has brought into the discourse in terms of the brick and mortar portion, which I saw echoed in how a PADI Course Director would make Road Trips amongst the local outlets, and help them with internals such as merchandising, supplier relationships, community relations, PR and the like; as you can see, the Scuba industry is a great source in terms of basing themselves on continual engagement with the business owners (i.e. Divemasters, Instructors and Course Directors) and keeping them ‘walking the talk’ for as long as needed, as yearly revisions where also required to stay current.

      I’m sure others can can come in and mention similar scenarios; at that, add a new ‘element’ to the mix: how seriously would you consider these if they were also embedded within more established institutions such as Community Colleges/Vocational-Technical Schools and the like?

      They already run similar curricula, they have accreditation bodies engaged in their mix, and above all, a vested interest in getting people’s marketability raised to a point where they can transition into a new career – in the shortest possible time.

      Would that help assuage some of your initial concerns? a partnership with higher education institutions?

      Please let us know what you’d think in those cases, as we’re actively working with governmental institutions at this point, as they also see what you outline above.


  3. Innodocreenly 2009/12/26 at 23:01 #

    Hi Guys,
    Just stumbled upon this site. It looks cool and I think I will be having a good time over here.

    Welcome me 🙂

  4. Desiree Kane 2009/12/29 at 11:15 #

    Hi Francisco!

    I think @johnpanico hit it on the head when he said:

    “You have to walk the walk. If you don’t have a reasonable social media presence, then I think it would be hard to call yourself an “expert” as so many have. I for one am putting my efforts to put my money where my mouth is in the same manner that you are.

    Bottom line, great discussion, but not sure if we have enough of a quorum to come to a conclusion.”

    In short, I think it’s too early yet to identify best practices. Even then, at best, we might be able to corral everyone into 3 categories that, say, SEO masters use: Black Hat, Grey Hat, White Hat. You and I would be, what I would consider to be, white hat.

    There are Black Hat social media gurus, they just have a different set of “best practices”. Finding a body to govern across such a broad, soft topic is going to be too difficult this early in the game, imho.

    • fjpalacio 2009/12/31 at 09:22 #

      Hola DBirdy!… thanks for stopping by… were you also able to read the 200+ comments on Blanchard’s original post?

      They also say that many things follow a ‘Bell Curve’ when it comes to adoption/embracing/using/buy in; as you may have read there, one of the first-to-markets, if not the first, Mari Smith, has been already proactively addressing the issue; now, like I told John yesterday on a phone call we had to follow up on the subject, please tell me how many ways are actually out there to put a slice/patty of ground beef between two slices of bread – and monetize them all handsomely?

      I think the best news to those who are joining the conversation early (Mari, Blanchard, the 200+ people over there, the three of us here) is that as the adage states “Timing is Everything”.

      Let’s take aside the heavy semantics of “governing body” and instead look at what many in Olivier’s post agreed upon: “Standards”

      That’s where I recall my experience with PADI and SSI (Not a NAUI guy, but still, that’s three companies happily sharing the same space in a rather narrow niche…) as one of noticing that those standards, as I posted under Olivier’s Thread, may be subjective and therefore, subject to subjective analysis – therefore, having a burger at Inn’n’Out may be entirely different from Five Guys, Mickey D’s, and of course, your Local Eatery who has a special recipe that brings people in droves – and keeps them happily in the map!

      As Mari pointed out in her initial reply, the gist of it here, would focus on those able to bring the most collaboration to the table, first, and second, if we follow the history of those first to markets that ended up being market-makers, has a lot to do with following some sound business principles, perhaps forgetting the current ‘echo chamber’ mode of “pure-play” social media (remember 1999? I do; and the only one I can recall that’s still standing from all the hoopla that led the Nasdaq to 5,000 heights, is/was Amazon.Com; and that only thanks to them actually becoming more of a ‘brick’n’mortar’ player than a solely pure play one) and finding out where this we White Hats do (that’s a good ranking, right?) and tie it with what hard hats in established trades/professions do.

      I’m stopping there so I don’t give away the entire business plan; if you’d like to know more, I’m also inviting you to a group John and I and others are participating on, as our idea is also to branch out as widely as possible, crowdsource most of it, and of course try to get everyone on board to not only chip in, as you say, it’s evolving and nascent, but also to monetize the time they spend working with us in our ‘societies’

      That said, it’s a perfect segue to a great ‘movie metaphor’ and a great closing statement:

      Carpe Diem!

      (From “Dead Poets Society”)

      Ci vedeamo, carissima!

      • fjpalacio 2009/12/31 at 13:45 #

        Hola Desiree and John

        As this is now what for me 2010 is all about, thought about this ancient tale to bring perspective into our efforts to ‘hammer out’ a unified view; hope you both like it (and may tonight’s blue moon bring a lot of inspiration to everyone!)

        The Buddha here tells the story of a king who had six blind men gathered together to examine an elephant.

        “When the blind men had each felt a part of the elephant, the king went to each of them and said to each: ‘Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant

        The six blind men assert the elephant is either like a pot (the blind man who felt the elephants’ head), wicket basket (ear), ploughshare (tusk), plough (trunk), granary (body), pillar (foot), mortar (back), pestle (tail) or brush (tip of the tail).

        The men cannot agree with one another and come to blows over the question of what an elephant really is like, and this delights the king. The Buddha ends the story of the king and compares the six blind men to preachers and scholars who are blind and ignorant and hold to their own views: “Just so are these preachers and scholars holding various views blind and unseeing…. In their ignorance they are by nature quarrelsome, wrangling, and disputatious, each maintaining reality is thus and thus.” The Buddha then speaks the following verse:

        O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim
        For preacher and monk the honored name!
        For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
        Such folk see only one side of a thing.

        Taken from Wikipedia:


  5. fjpalacio 2009/12/31 at 13:53 #

    Okidoki… GTG, have work to do tonight… so to close this very challenging year, what better than to make an affirmation to the world at large?



  6. fjpalacio 2010/01/05 at 11:54 #

    This I posted on Blanchard’s Blog; was long enough to Clipboard it over here, perhaps?


    Last night I actually attended a heavy-duty group of techies (#WebMondays, led by @AGuyOnClematis) and I had to present on the initiative.

    We got a crowd just as polarized as some; best part?

    Wife was there too, and pitched in about the CPA Certification process – and the fact that these things require patience, collaboration, and as you say “Protecting the public – and in this case, unsuspecting companies – from what basically amounts to either the worst possible business practices or in some cases outright fraud is paramount. Agreed.” (Blanchard, 2009)

    Will this happen overnight? I doubt it… is it BOUND to happen?… Everytime we all get a free plug about a company/brand coming ‘onboard’ with SM… well, a few more ears are bound to hear – including already established governmental groups.

    Is this a field worth regulating?

    Ask @TedMurphy from #IZEA whether or not #WOMMA Compliance is key to his success; after all, it was a matter hotly debated with the actual FTC (Yup, as in FEDERAL Trade Commission)

    … and as soon as we all start proving there’s a way to be in the black in this ‘biz’… [CHUCKLES…]

    So like you said on an earlier tweet “Better Late Than Never” right?

    Ci vedeamo”


    For anyone else who stumbles on this derivative discussion, perhaps?

    And yeah, right before that, I also posted this… #Braggadoccio, perhaps?


  7. Cottbiola 2010/01/20 at 03:01 #

    heya , im new to this forum. its a good forum

    hope im welcome 🙂

  8. xrumerSandra 2010/03/01 at 23:27 #

    I just found this forum and I must say that I’m glad I did. I hope to bring something to the community as I have already found some interesting topics.

    Hailing from the East Coast (United States).


  9. aNodda 2010/03/13 at 17:12 #

    My name is Brendon Pitpitan

    Just decided to start off by saying

    Thanks Admins !
    I am new member on this site and Thank You for providing such a wonderful community !

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