By Anne Fisher, contributor
FORTUNE -- It's the latest tactic in the quest to create a compelling personal brand: Abandoning traditional job titles in favor of more descriptive -- or at least eye-catching -- ways to sum up a job.
"Our research shows that people are trying to stand out more when sharing contact information," says Paul Lewis, head of marketing at business card printer Moo.com. "Titles like Web Designer or Digital Advisor are no longer enough to grab attention, so Web Kahuna or Digital Dynamo may work better. We're also seeing a dramatic rise in gurus, geeks, and captains."
You're a copywriter? Ho-hum. You could dub yourself Word Herder or Copy Cruncher instead.
Lewis traces the trend to the influence of social media. People are looking to "socialize" their professional personae, he says, "adding personal flair commonly associated with social media profiles."
A sampling of unusual titles Moo.com has seen lately:
No false modesty here, which is fine: A business card is a marketing tool, after all. But it does raise a question. If you give yourself a title like Chief Excitement Officer, as one New York City public relations executive did, what happens on those days (everybody has them) when you're just not feeling it? Can a Happiness Advocate ever sing the blues?
It's not silly formalism. Startups that don't develop a consistent approach to job titles and promotions do so at their own peril.
By Ben Horowitz, contributor
"Hmmmmmmm . . . now what's a title to fit me? a champ like Tyson, a captain like Kirk, no Employee of the Month 'cause yo, I do work" -Big Daddy Kane
Often when I meet with startups, the employees have no job titles. This makes MOREMar 16, 2011 11:30 AM ET
|Homeless college students seek shelter during breaks|
|Another strong quarter for Smith & Wesson|
|Five things you didn't know about Bernie Madoff's epic scam|
|Don't fight it. Bitcoin has a bright future|
|Victoria's Secret model wears 3-D printed wings|