"We added a social media ninja at the very beginning," O'Reilly said. "It was very trendy at the time, but then you grow out of it."
Ray said it's about time. "As a social media professional, I am personally embarrassed by all the wizards and gurus and ninjas," he said. "It's a serious profession."
He also said that businesses are more often turning to marketing professionals for their social network needs rather than handing the job to tech-savvy youths. It's a sweet turn of events for Raleigh Gerber, a social media consultant in her 40s who didn't want to disclose her exact age.
"So many companies will just toss it over to an intern, thinking that these young people are always on social networks, so they must be good at social media," Gerber said. "It rarely works."
Average starting wage for social media jobs, according to the jobs search site Simply Hired, is about $55,000.
Academia is starting to take the field seriously too. Birmingham City University in England now offers a master's degree in social media. Beginning this fall, Northeastern University in Boston will offer a specialty in social media for master's students studying corporate communications.
"We tried to cover social media in other classes, but we realized that it's become important enough that we need something much more in-depth," said Carl Zangerl, a faculty teacher and coordinator of the Northeastern program.
But no matter how much the title is dressed up, the job still largely involves sending out messages on Facebook and Twitter.
"I have trouble explaining my job to my mother," said Scott Skurnick, whose title at Edmunds is executive director of search engine optimization and social media programming.
Worse, he said, "I have a hard time keeping a straight face when I tell people what I do for a living."