Doc Searls Joins AdHocnium

AdHocnium, a new network of affiliated social media marketing consultants, is announcing today that Cluetrain Manifesto co-author Doc Searls has joined the organization. AdHocnium is a corporate body that facilitates ad-hoc contracting for a list of some of the most high-profile “old school” social media marketing consultants on the web.

The company calls the addition of Searls a major validation of its business model, an experimental arrangement intended to facilitate flexible project-specific collaboration of allied consultants with experience navigating large corporations. “It’s a project economy,” founder Chris Heuer says, and AdHocnium is structured to respond to that.

The company was founded by Social Media Club co-founder Heuer and is also adding Thomas Vander Wal (the man who coined the term folksonomy), Seesmic’s Cathy Brooks, Steven Lubetkin and Mitch Ratcliffe to the team today. The full list of members is quite striking.

We’ll be frank with you; the company’s website is full of far more corporate marketing blah-blah than we can stomach – but hopefully that will change. We have a lot of respect for the group of people behind it.

Adding Doc Searls to the list really will give the group all the more legitimacy. Searls has continued to extend his public profile 10 years after the writing of the famous Cluetrain Manifesto by writing an excellent blog and working at Harvard.

The team already includes an impressive list of heavyweights who have been around since the start of this social media thing; people like J.D. Lasica, Tom Foremski, Neville Hobson, Shel Holtz, B.L. Ochman and others. Everyone will maintain their independence and keep working with other groups as well; only Heuer and an assistant will be full time with AdHocnium.

Heuer acknowledges that it’s a noisy market. Kyle Flaherty’s “bullshit bingo” card for this weekend’s SXSW conference includes the words “I’m an independent freelance social media marketing community expert consultant.” Heuer says that the good consultants “need to differentiate ourselves from the poseurs.” “People get 100 followers on Twitter and start calling themselves social media experts,” he said. “None of those people have solid business backgrounds, have the knowledge to navigate the internal workings of large businesses.”

The group of people Heuer has assembled represents a school of thought based on hard work, thoughtfulness and a mix of new and traditional communication skills. Other, younger schools of thought around social media marketing often put a premium on snazzy websites, pseudo-spam and speed.

We’ll be interested to see if this new project-based structure treats the AdHocnium crew and their clients well. If it does work well, we might see more companies forming following the same kind of model.

Searls pic CC by Dave Sifry.

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