The Language of the Web Worker


In a recent Daily Beast post, Tina Brown talks about how everyone she knows is “hustling for gigs.” As I was reading the article, I noticed a few interesting things about the language in the post – mainly all of the words with “gig” in them: gig economy, gigonomics, and gigocracy. We seem to have our own language to describe what we do as web workers.

Web WorkersOver the holidays, I talked about how hard it is to explain what I do to family members, friends, and other people living in the regular world who find our web worker ways very foreign. This is complicated by my many side projects and diverse work that make it difficult to explain what I do in a concise way, which is another point that Tina Brown makes about how long it takes us to describe what we do in this new gig economy.

I usually respond with some variant of the rambling found below when someone asks me what I do.

“I’m a freelance online community and social media consultant who helps companies build online communities and social media strategies. My company is called Fast Wonder, and I also have a blog by that name where I talk about online communities, social media engagement, Yahoo Pipes, and other related topics. I also blog on Web Worker Daily. Oh, I’m also the community evangelist for a Portland startup called Shizzow. Or maybe you know me as one of the co-founders and board members of Legion of Tech, which organizes events like BarCampPortland and Ignite Portland. I also organize other events for geeks just for fun in my spare time …”

This is usually followed by questions about what all of this really means, how I make money doing this, or how I manage to do all of this without losing my mind.

How do you describe the breadth of what you do without sounding like a crazy person? Do we, as web workers, have our own language?



Don’t say “Social Media Consultant.” Thats already turning into a dirty phrase, like “Internet Marketing.”


Unfortunately it doesn’t! No one out there who is not related to the web bizz in one way or the other understands what a “Social media consultant” is. Sad but true, i haven’t found a short but precise way to explain what i do.

Paul Matton

If you work in social media that easy isn’t it “I get paid to show people what they could do themselves for free….”

Emil Sit

Aside from having to define “social media”, your first sentence sounds pretty good. Do you not consider the subsequent sentences to be “for example”s?

Rick Turoczy

I usually say, “I don’t DO anything. I introduce people who need stuff to people who do stuff.”

To which, I usually receive the response “You get paid for that?”

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