A few weeks ago I was talking to a company that lamented to me that everyone was buzzing about Twitter, and they knew nothing about it. 'I think we need to hire someone that understands Twitter', was their suggested solution.
But yesterday, something big happened in the social media world; Facebook bought Friendfeed. Guess what? The person they just hired that understands Twitter, had better understand Facebook and Friendfeed as well, or else they are back to being behind again.
Companies that are scrambling to 'catch up' when it comes to social media need to understand this; Don't focus on understanding how to use the individual tools, focus on understanding WHY people are using the tools. Why is Twitter so popular? Why did Facebook want to buy Friendfeed? What does the rise in popularity of these tools mean for usage of other social media tools such as blogs and podcasts?
Companies, when you are hiring people to fill your social media positions, or when you are thinking about outsourcing your social media needs, hire someone that can help you understand WHY the tools work and why people are using them. If you hire a 'Twitter expert', what happens when everyone leaves Twitter for Facebook? Then you need to hire a 'Facebook expert'. Or you can stop chasing the individual tools, and hire someone that understands HOW and WHY the tools work, and work for your customers.