It's 2012: does anyone want an "e-pro?"

So I have been thinking about designations lately in relation to a couple projects we’re working on.

And one keeps sticking in my craw:


I get it. Technology and media. Anyone working today needs to grok this stuff. That’s cool.

But as a certification program for which one is awarded a designation – something to display publicly as a mark of special expertise – it’s feeling anachronistic.

There was a time when putting “e-PRO” next to your name signaled something desirable to consumers. “I’m comfortable online” or “I can market your property electronically.”

All good.

But now, in the year 2012, twenty years into this web thing, I fear this signals something quite the opposite:

“I had to take a class to catch up on stuff you probably take for granted.”

Realtors don’t get designations for “electricity” and “telephone.” Why, in an age when we carry computers in our pockets and extend our most personal interactions into the online world, do we need one for digital technology?

You see what I mean? “e-PRO”… it just kind of makes you cringe. The mark gives off a whiff of ignominy, not aptitude.

It’s more Hester Prynne than Superman.

The open kitchen

Before you lash me to the stake for suggesting something that helps people may have unintended and undesirable consequences, let me say this:

I believe technology training is a good idea, I know many fine trainers, and I mostly hear that e-PRO is a worthy program.

One of our missions with this blog, in fact, is to highlight new technologies and applications.

But again, I’m just not sure it should be a designation.

I have always believed that ours is an industry unsuited to an “open kitchen” – meaning that the work happening inside the industry does not play especially well in front of a consumer audience.  Agent-directed recruiting messages on broker sites built primarily for buyers and sellers is a common example.

There’s nothing wrong going on there; it’s just not the best idea.

Same thing here.

Anyway, that’s my opinion. What’s your take?