Job snapshot: Mobile, Social and Emerging Media Specialist

This week's job snapshot comes from Shawn Morton, who is Mobile, Social and Emerging Media Director at Nationwide Insurance and a TechRepublic blogger.

This is another installment of a series within the Career Management blog in which I feature a short survey of a tech pro in a particular specialty. It's not a comprehensive look, just a snapshot of what the person likes best and likes least about his or her chosen profession. I'm hoping it will give a little anecdotal direction to those of you who are just starting out in IT or are looking to change direction. (If anyone wants to talk about their job for the benefit of our readers, feel free to answer the three questions below and email them to

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This week we feature a job snapshot from Shawn Morton, who is Director of Mobile, Social & Emerging Media at Nationwide Insurance:

What do you like best about your job?

I really like being on the front-end of emerging trends and technologies.  A big part of my job is keeping up with what's new in mobile, social media ,and emerging marketing areas like gaming.

The key for me, though, is being able to find a way to use those technologies to meet our business objectives. With social media, we have had success in engaging our customers and prospective customers around our NASCAR Nationwide Series sponsorship.  With mobile, we were able to be the first insurance company to launch a claims app for iPhone.

In some cases, we have found that a technology isn't quite right or ready for us to take advantage of it.

What do you dislike most about your job?

There really isn't anything that I would say I dislike about my job. I think one of the bigger challenges over the past year or so has been making the business case internally for using things like social media as part of our marketing mix.

As challenging as it was, I think it was, ultimately, a good thing. Now, we have much wider understanding of and support for social media within the company.

What education/background prepared you for your job?

I got my undergraduate degree in Journalism & Advertising and my graduate degree in Film Production. I ended up teaching myself HTML in an effort to get my student films on the Internet back in 1997.  Once I realized what the Web could do, I was hooked.

Most of the relevant experience for my current role has been gained working in interactive over the past 14 years.  I've had a variety of job titles -- from UI design to product management to community manager -- but what I've always tried to do is make sure that my work is aligned with the business objectives of whatever organization I was working for.

It is easy to get caught up in the hype of the newest shiny thing on the Web. I've always tried to understand the trends and then figure out if they apply to what we're trying to accomplish.