[Updated: April 2014] Made few corrections and changes.
Most social media agency personnel use ‘Social Media Evangelist’ as a designation; however not many know the meaning of the same. I remember tweeting one of my followers whose Bio said that he is an evangelist, “What is the meaning of social media evangelist and what its job is?” He gave a revert that sounded funny.
I remember a Christian friend of mine using the word evangelist in some of his conversations in church. I called him up and asked the meaning of the same. According to him, evangelist is a person who spreads good news or who preaches gospel. The job of evangelists is to spread information about a cause and keep people aware and informed to working towards it.
If we go with the definitions, evangelism can be all word-of-mouth. It can be argued that one has to practice to be able to speak about anything with authority. But one can also dabble, understand the benefits and spread the word.
Later I tried to connect ‘Social Media’ and ‘Evangelist’. If one is passionate about social media and is helping others learn about it, He / She may be termed as Social Media Evangelist. One may not tweet 1000x a day or form communities to spread the word but may help organizations to assist/consult and share the good learning. This is true for any domain; be it Education evangelist, technology evangelist or any other field.
Community manager v/s Social media evangelists
Community manager is a debatable term; some refer to it as Community facilitator. Community Manager’s job is to light a bon fire (a social object) and engage people who sit around it (fans / members) to create value out of the get-together. Engaging people is a process of facilitation!
A Social Media Evangelist is one who preaches the importance of lightening a bon fire.
In other words, Social media evangelists are those who understand the way of working of social media and preach the same to those who want to learn/implement. However, if you find someone engaging you on a topic of saving Tigers on Social Media may not be called as social media evangelist – but may be called as a community manager/ facilitator.
One of the reasons I wrote this posts was because I found that many people call themselves Social Media Evangelists, but they actually are community facilitators!