Oh, I’m sorry. You probably thought this was real a real merit badge. Well, it’s not real in the sense that the Boy Scouts of America is offering a social media award, but we’re giving away our own version of the Social Media Merit Badge, checkout the box below for more details.
If you are not up for the contest, below you will find a list of some general criteria for what what we think it takes to consider yourself a social media expert.
If you can answer yes to all 17 qualifications, congrats…you are all over it! If you can answer yes to at least 12 of these, consider yourself merit badge worthy.
1. You run more than one Twitter account
If you are truly active on Twitter you probably have told our boss or your friend “with the band” that they need to be on Twitter, and you probably have found yourself managing that Twitter feed for them to some degree of effectiveness. If you’re sporting multiple identities on Twitter, give yourself a point for this one.
2. You use a third party tool to manage Twitter activity
Twitter.com (the website itself, not the service) just isn’t going to cut it after you are following more than 20 people – there are literally thousands of tools out there, most of them a lot of the same, but as a concept they are invaluable. If you aren’t currently using a 3rd party tool to manage Twitter, just consider yourself disqualified for the merit badge at this point – or take a step towards joining the ranks by checking out TweetDeck and HootSuite, or find a gaggle of tools at oneforty.com. Otherwise give yourself a point.
3. You use Twitter lists
Once again, if you following more than 20 people, it’s time to start getting organized. If you are like me, they didn’t add this feature until your following list was already a mess, but it doesn’t take a great deal of work to get this organized. If you are using Twitter lists, give yourself a point.
4. You have attempted and failed at convincing 10 friends the greatness of Twitter
Who isn’t a Twitter evangelist? Lots of people aren’t, and if you are not one of them shame on you, no point. If you are screaming praises about Twitter while sitting at the stop light and every other chance you get, give yourself a point.
5. You’ve met someone face-to-face that you met through Twitter
Tweet-ups, interviews, blind-dates – if you’ve met someone on Twitter outside of a mutual connection, you are either breaking the law or building your network, give yourself a point, you social butterfly you.
6. You’ve been mentioned in a follow friday
Follow Friday’s – love them or hate them – you can’t earn this Merit Badge without being blasted on one of these. #followfriday = 1 point.
7. You’ve actually seen the fail whale
Ah, the elusive fail whale. Known to the entire world but only actually seen by 13% of all Twitter users (source: fabricated). If you have seen this white beauty in real life, give yourself a point.
8. You have built or been part of building a Facebook application
Just because you’re not a developer doesn’t mean you haven’t had a chance to be a part of building a Facebook application. If you work, and you live and breathe social media, you should have some Facebook app experience under your belt, give yourself a point if you qualify.
9. You have friends on Facebook you have never met
New Facebook uses seem to think they can control their friends list, and even funnier is that these users think there is some kind of sanctity to keep this so. If you are merit badge worthy, your online travels have brought you many Facebook friends from around the globe whom you have never met….and probably never will. Get over it and give yourself a point.
10. You follow RSS Feeds
“Dude, RSS is like so 2001. I get all the news I need from the 5,000 people I follow on Twitter.” Yeah, and you don’t know anything because you try to know everything. Get a good RSS reader and keep your feeds #’s to a manageable, organized and digestible amount. Using an RSS reader and actually keeping the count down to 0 a few times a week? Give yourself a point.
11. You’ve published a few blog posts in your day
You take and you take and you take, have you given anything back? I understand if you just didn’t have time to keep up with it, but if you haven’t ever given blogging a shot you just can’t consider yourself merit badge worthy. If you are pro, semi-pro, or retired blogger, give yourself a point.
12. You’ve done your fair share of commenting on blogs
These guys work hard to entertain you, show them some love. And if you make their lives hell by making a every post about a cell phone a fanboy-rant-fest about how great the iPhone is, then consider yourself merit badge “not-worthy”. Show bloggers love on a consistent basis? give yourself a point.
Location Service Challenges
13. You have given Foursquare or Gowalla a chance
Ah, the latest trend. Geo -Checkout-Where-am-I-Now-Bragfest. Ok, I do it too (otherwise how would I earn my merit badge…). These tools aren’t for everyone, but you’ve got to at least try it out, right? If you’ve experimented give yourself a point, even if you aren’t hooked yet.
14. You are the mayor of something on a location service
Bonus point opportunity here…even I am not a mayor of anything. If you are a mayor give yourself a point. If you don’t know what this is, you’ve got some studying to do cub.
15. You use social media on a smartphone
Before we move on to the fun stuff, I am going to get a bit serious on you. If you want to tell people you are active and understand social media, you must have a smart phone that allows you to interact with social media on a regular basis. Social media is as much about mobility as it is about sharing. (some stats here) If you are driving your significant other crazy with your late night bed-side socializing, give yourself a point.
16. You’ve bad-mouthed MySpace
This trend is slowly dying, but its so much damn fun. If you haven’t bad-mouthed MySpace in some way, they you just can’t rightfully say you deserve a merit badge. Give yourself a point if you’ve slammed MySpace, and hang your head high if you saw the writing on the wall and deleted your account before 2008.
17. You’ve been Rick Rolled
This one will be featured in the main hallway of the Social Media Hall of Fame one day, I personally would love to meet the guy who started this one. If you’ve been Rick Rolled give yourself a point.
The merit badge image used at the top of this post is courtesy of Laughing Squid and you can buy these badges over at Nerd Merit Badge. To win one of these badges in our Merit Badge Challenge checkout the box at the top of this post.