A public relations friend of mine recently posted a link on his twitter account to a job posting in Portland, Oregon. The job is for a Twitter/Facebook guru to work for the county to enliven its social media reach and to spur growth and a younger incoming population. The job will pay approximately $70,000 a year, which in Oregon, is about the equivalent to $85,000 a year in Massachusetts.
So why pay someone so much money for doing a job like this? To write press releases, to shoot videos, conduct stories, set up accounts, tweet, interact with groups and program constituents all across the country, and to social interact both in-person and virally seems pretty standard to most of us who have grown up in the digital age. I've recorded my own songs on my computer, set up accounts across various social media sites, and have a blog (ahem), yet I couldn't see myself doing it as a job. Why? Because it almost doesn't seem fair. To have a job paying about $30,000 would make it fair, as this is the sort of once-in-a-lifetime position offering work that is entertaining at worst and jovial and exciting at best, that pays through the roof, and that offers the type of job security and growth that every industry is severely lacking right now.
Is this county the first in a long line that will eventually go this route? Is this a bucking trend we'll see blossoming across the country? Counties and towns virally publicizing themselves to show off their amazing qualities and lessen any of their potential drawbacks? Seems a no-brainer for most communities. So yes, I agree with it totally, but at a cost that large? I don't necessarily agree with that. The newspapers and TV stations in the area that broke the story also commented on the seeming lack of fiscal control the county is using when offering up a position like this, stating that with crumbling roads and 50 teachers recently laid off, the time to offer $70,000 for someone just to virally promote the county might be too out of line.
What do you think?