When someone says they’re an expert, do you believe them? Be honest here. Until recently, I would have said yes, until proven otherwise. And that’s exactly why people put that claim out there.
In the last two days I’ve been to two events for social media: a webinar teaching marketers in my industry how to use Twitter and a social media club breakfast. At both, we had the people leading the events that were considered the experts and we had the audience that listened and asked questions.
So what does it mean to be an expert in social media communication/marketing?
Instead of answering, I ask you this: does anyone care?
The term “expert” here is really a misnomer. In my experience, the people that say that they’re experts want to appear like they know more than everyone else so they have more credibility, but they don’t actually have any more knowledge than the frequent social media user. I consider myself a social media resource (or a social media advisor, to borrow from Chris Brogan). I use social media for personal and professional uses and I help the people I work with to understand more about these new types of technology. I answer questions about strategic implementation and technical nuances alike. Does that make me an expert? Maybe, maybe not. If you get asked and can answer these same questions, are you an expert? Maybe, maybe not.
Regardless of your expertise status, you’re learning more and you’re helping people around you by being involved. And isn’t the whole “community” aspect pretty central to social media anyway? Isn’t that really the point? I say get rid of the label and work to get more out of these tools, help those around you to do better and continue to learn. It doesn’t matter what you call yourself if you can’t back it up. It’s not about what you say, it’s about what you do.
So I leave you with my original question: when someone says they’re an expert, do you take that at face value?