There's been some big news in the past few weeks concerning some of the top names in the social media and new media space. First, David Armano signed on to join Edelman PR in Chicago. Then Geoff Livingston, Beth Kanter and Kami Huyse pooled their collective genius to start Zoetica Media. Next was Powered acquiring Crayon, and today, BL Ochman announced she was joining Proof Digital Media. In addition, Susan alerted me to the fact that some big names such as McDonalds and IBM are hiring key social media positions.
I think this signals two trends that we'll see more of in 2010;
1 - People that have demonstrated value in the social media space will either have opportunities for advancement, or to strike out in new enterprises.
2 - Companies are getting serious about investing in these people.
But notice too that these aren't people that are well-versed in social media, they are smart marketers that ALSO get social media. This is the key, and it's what companies and clients are looking for. The days of the standalone consultant that only deals with social media tools are all but over. Companies are looking for ways to INTEGRATE social media with other areas of marketing and communications. Beth Harte had a great tweet the other nite during #blogchat, where she said she didn't want to hire a social media consultant, she wanted to hire a marketing consultant that understands social media.
Personally, I'm excited to see my friends doing so well, and I am excited for this space because I think these moves and this shift in focus helps legitimize the entire space. This is also why I've never worried about the so-called 'flood of social media consultants' or the 'scammers'. The market will bear out the people that are doing quality work, from the ones that are not. I don't have time to focus on whether or not someone has the expertise to be a quality social media consultant, I'm too busy building my OWN expertise. The market always corrects itself.
What do you think? Are these moves only the start and will we see more in the coming months? Or are we in for a quiet 2010?
UPDATE: Jake reminded me that two of the smartest people in the space (and two of my heroes), Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, joined Ant's Eye View about 2 months ago. Another example of smart people coming together in this space.