Since graduating college – and to be perfectly honest, this was happening while I was still taking classes – the #1 question I often get from friends and family after sharing with them my job title is: “So, what do you do?”

It’s not as easy to communicate as, say, a teacher or server or doctor or accountant. I used to reply “public relations” and got blank stares.

“So, what’s your degree in?”
“Public relations.”
“You mean, like, advertising?”
“No, public relations.”
“Oh, sort of like marketing.”
“Nope, a little different than that.”
“Hmm, so not journalism?”
“Sigh.”

When my role evolved from public relations to social media, my job got a little easier to explain. Except that now everyone thinks I play Candy Crush on Facebook and pin DIY projects to my boards all day.

Today is the 5th annual Social Media Day, coined by Mashable to recognize the evolution of digital communication. And as I reflect on what it is I actually do every day, I’m realizing something:

My friends and family aren’t too far off in saying that I work in advertising and marketing and journalism. In fact, it’s pretty damn accurate. Social media is a channel. It’s a function of communications that allows for real-time message delivery and large-scale audience interaction. Can you advertise on social? Yes. Can you market on social media? Yes. Can you write and share stories on social media? Hell yes.

So for me, Social Media Day means so much more than Twitter and Snapchat. It’s the very important “shared” component of today’s media mix (paid, earned, shared and owned). And the funny thing is, there are fusions happening all over the place. “Earned” is “shared” and “shared” is “paid.”

People say communications continues to get harder and harder. In my world, it’s getting easier. It’s not about the medium, it’s about the message. And the audience. And most importantly, the business objectives. If the “Choose Your Own Adventure” path leads to social media, great! But if it leads to media relations, chances are it’ll end up integrating with social anyway so that editors and outlets can socialize the news. Same with a website. Okay, go ahead and build a fancy new portal, but if you’re not giving visitors the chance to connect with you on social or share the site’s content with optimized UX, you’ve missed an opportunity.

The point I’m trying to make is that heck yes there’s reason to celebrate social media. We can’t really call it “new media” anymore, but wow, it’s really changed the world, right? And also provided lots of clarity around my career path so not only do I see a shiny bright future for myself, I can also easily answer “yes” when quizzed on what I do for a living.

What are you doing to celebrate Social Media Day?