The other day I saw a group on twitter announcing their social media company, calling themselves experts and charging thousands of dollars to consult with your business. What was surprising, was to see that each of them had twitter accounts that were less than 2 months old, one with 60 followers and 12 tweets. They were linking to their personal Facebook pages, which no one who isn’t a friend can see, they did have business pages set up with no custom URL, and they had NO marketing or internet experience what so ever.
This is actually sadly common. Anyone who has figured out how to set up a twitter and Facebook account and change their background suddenly feels they are qualified to offer professional services. Worse yet, these people call themselves EXPERTS and the ones who actually have the experience to be an expert, don’t call themselves such. I personally am not sure any of us can call ourselves experts in social media, its too new and changes too much for anyone to be an expert in it.
In fact, I still get uncomfortable when I am asked to speak, or consult for a group and they call me a Social Media Expert or Guru. The best I can say about myself is that I jumped in early and participate regularly so its something I actively use.
I think Blogger Michelle Beckam says it best here:
“The irony of the situation is that no one can be an expert in a rapidly evolving industry. You may be on top of a particular social media platform or third party application only to have the latest update knock the socks off your world and you are back in novice mode.
In the grand scheme of the knowledge scale, there are many of us who do know an awful lot about social media. Perhaps we were early adopters and have become complete enthusiasts constantly working to stay on top of the information game. We just may seem like experts to those making their entree at a much later stage of the industry development, but we have to realize that there is no end point. We can’t get to point B and state that we have arrived and lay claim to an Expert status.
The road to point B is a never-ending one and the best we can do is to continue to learn, to test, to fail and to continue on down the path of digital connectivity, all while leaving that Expert hat in the corner.” (her full article is here)
However I saw an opposing view the other day that makes a good point. It says that all fields are continually growing and its the experts that stay on top of it. He also pointed out that its not the term that is the issue its that people are misusing it.
“Sadly, the term “social media expert” has been overused by posers, unemployed hopefuls, and incompetent morons. With the over-usage of the word came a stigma attached with the usage of the term”
They also pointed out the definition of an expert as:
someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge in an area.
So my conclusion is that there are social media experts and they way to find them is to be wary of the people who claim to be one and stick with the ones who you can easily see have experience. I think time will weed out the posers and the true Social Media enthusiasts will be able to claim back the title EXPERT.