If there is any question about the importance of online marketing and social media today, one need only look at the dramatic lengths some organizations are going to in hopes of gaining visibility through tools like blogs and social networking sites.

Earlier this month the Australian tourism bureau announced that it had hired 34-year-old Ben Southall to be the "caretaker" of the country’s Great Barrier Reef for six months and write a weekly blog about the experience. For the honor, Southall will be paid $110,000.

Going even further, one California winery is looking to hire a "social media whiz" for a six-month job to tell people about wine and Sonoma County through the use of various social media outlets.

In calling online marketing and social networking a "pretty good thing," the Murphy-Goode Winery says the person it hires – who will be given the title of "Murphy-Goode Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent" – should be well versed in Web 2.0.

"[W]e’re looking for someone (maybe you) who really knows how to use Web 2.0 and Facebook and blogs and social media and YouTube and all sorts of good stuff like that …," the winery says.

But increasing visibility isn’t the only reason some are hiring these social media experts. Recently Pizza Hut announced it was looking to hire a "twintern" – an intern who will use Twitter – as part of its PR team.

The company’s vice president of marketing communication told the New York Times that in addition to getting the news out about the chain, the twintern would scour the internet looking for negative press in an effort to keep it from getting out of hand.