It seems that terms like social media expert and guru are stirring lots of conversations. Jason Falls, at socialmediaexplorer, wrote a post titled Enough With The Social Media Guru Attacks which he says “While I do agree with Leggio’s assessment that your social media “expert” should have case studies, proof points and successes that point to integrated wins with an overall marketing campaign, the truth is that limits the pool to about 3-4 dozen folks in the world. No one has been doing it that long and that successfully. We’re all learning as we go. Yeah, there are a few with some good proof points, but this world, as we know it, is 4-5 years old at best.
And while the video (produced on pretty damn cool software by the way) was cleverly done by Markham Nolan and is a funny, playful look at the whole guru phenomenon, it undermines the credibility of anyone in the social media business by implying anyone can do this and do it well.
The truth is that every social media manager, strategist, director, lackey, person or thingy at one point didn’t have a clue what they were doing. My first social media plan for a client was simply a PR guy connecting the dots between a communications need and a social tool that provided a solution. It didn’t make me smart. It didn’t make me an expert. But it made my client very happy and a career path emerged.”
No Attacks Just Stupidity
Most people that claim to be an expert or guru really do nothing more than point out the stupidity of doing so. The dictionary defines an expert as having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience. Notice the emphasis on “special skill or knowledge” . Collecting followers, connections or playing in traffic doesn’t require a special skill or knowledge.
The term “guru implies a teacher and especially intellectual guide in matters of fundamental importance : one who is an acknowledged leader or chief proponent: a person with knowledge or expertise. Knowledge applies to facts or ideas acquired by study, investigation, observation, or experience. Knowledge is not static rather it is dynamic and thus labeling oneself as guru or expert in social media implies you know everything there is to know. Impossible!
On the other side of the coin is stupidity meaning the quality or state of being stupid. Stupid is marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking or acting. Now I am neither and expert or a guru but I do know that while I have studied, experienced and gained insight into social media I would be stupid to say I have acquired all the related knowledge about something that is constantly changing. In addition, knowing what social technology can do is much different than knowing “how to” use it for a purpose. Collecting people, playing tricks with traffic and even having a high rank in communities doesn’t indicate one has special knowledge that can be applied to a business purpose or creation of innovation.
While I respect Jason Falls response to this issue I thought the video language wasn’t something I would call worthy of positioning oneself with. Funny, yes as well as crude. Stupid, you decide. Ask yourself if you’d show it to your spouse, your employees or the entire market you aim to serve.
Maybe my point is stupid. Your answer will be revealing. What say you?