Blog | Oct 26, 2010 | 4 Comments

[ninjas, nuts, and monkeys]

[a mini-rant]

I really enjoy and appreciate Twitter as a professional tool. That’s why I don’t get the businesspeople who call themselves a ninja, nut, or monkey in their Twitter @names.

I often defend Twitter to people who think it’s nothing but trivial nonsense, like columnist Grayson Davis:

Twitter is the epitome of the current wave of Web 2.0 content, which can be essentially summarized as the following:

“Everybody cares what I had for lunch today.”

(You can read the rest of his article here. It was written about 18 months ago–I wonder if he’s changed his mind?)

Of course, there are plenty of people who give Twitter a bad name.

I used to think those people were celebrities, teenagers, porn stars, or those with just too much time on their hands. But real business people are giving Twitter a bad name, too. Specifically, I’m talking about the people with the “funny” Twitter @names.

One of my favorite bloggers, Erika Napoletano, wrote a very funny post about the ridiculous use of the word “ninja” in business. There are people who call themselves marketing ninjas, digital ninjas, social media ninjas, SEO ninjas, and a lot more. Some of them try to incorporate this into their Twitter identities, too.

This is dumb. As Erika said, “If I can see you, you’re not a ninja.”

There are also entrepreneuers who call themselves nuts and monkeys. Like it’s a good thing to be crazy or to behave like an animal.

I know, I know–they are trying to impart a sense of intense enthusiasm. But is it good branding for a business? Even on Twitter?

I think they’re making the rest of us look bad. What do you think?

Photo credit: Beverly on Picasa. The photo is appropriately titled, “A Ninja Turtle (pssst…it’s me, Shane!).” This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.


Since you asked… *insert evil laugh here*

I think it’s appalling the way people are running to identify themselves as ninjas, gurus, experts, divas, etc. It’s downright embarrassing to the rest of us who do a quality job without so much self adulation. Yes, I get that it’s tongue in cheek, that it’s all in good fun, etc., but not everybody understands that. Particularly newcomers.

I feel cheesy just being categorized as “social media,” though I help real people and businesses to help other real people with their services. There’s nothing sketch, cheesy, or snake oil related about that, although there are plenty of that element. Their calling card tends to be spam.

And may I just say that Grayson Davis’ trashing of Twitter and subsequent use of the “Web 2.0” term (though it was 18 months ago) demonstrates an extraordinary degree of ignorance? It’s OK to be ignorant about some things. We all are. But Davis evidently didn’t understand the power of a skillfully run Twitter account and wasn’t about to enlighten himself with solid research before making his smarty pants remark to an audience of thousands. That’s inexcusable for any reputable journalist. Like you, I have to wonder if he’s still dismissing Twitter as a passing fad for narcissists.

Thanks for the fantastic post, as usual Claire!! I love your writing!!


Claire Wagner Reply:

Lori, you are so right: it IS embarrassing and especially confusing to newcomers who are trying to figure out how to play this game seriously because their livelihoods could depend on how they present themselves online. As for Grayson, he was one of the many (and popular) early non-adopters that is probably now eating the proverbial crow because most reputable journalists do use Twitter. His article was amusing to me because he is so wrong! Thanks for such thoughtful comments.


I wonder how people can say some things with a straight face. If I am using the words “ninja,” “wordsmith,” or “guru” you can rest assured that I am joking. But here’s the problem with calling yourself anything that implies you are the best and can’t get any better: it’s not true. NO ONE is the be all, end all on any subject, no matter how popular they are or how many business cards they have with “Marketing Genius” on it. The more you imply this, the more I think you’re full of crap.

The only exception is me. All of my business cards say “P.S. Jones: God of Freelance.” (And of course I say that with all the sarcasm I can muster with my keyboard.)


Claire Wagner Reply:

P.S., I love your blogs and Twitter posts because of your truthiness (to borrow Steven Colbert’s word) AND great humor. Sarcasm is a hobby of mine, though I usually have to keep it in check in my professional life. I hope to get one of those great cards if/when we meet at SXSW. Thanks for reading and commenting, as always!


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