The Self-Proclaimed Expert

If stock market experts were so expert, they would be buying stock, not selling advice. – Norman R. Augustine

experts-090109So-called experts are quickly flooding the relatively new social media niche in large numbers, each and every one clambering for attention. While Facebook, Myspace, Virb, Flickr, Twitter, and countless other social sites and apps have been around for years, we are currently experiencing a significant boom in focus, understanding and adoption. There’s a massive influx of new users, people that normally remain on the sidelines waiting for the early adopters to help apps through beta phases and assist in ironing out the kinks.

But, how are those new to the scene supposed to find their way? Who are the leaders?

Perhaps these self-proclaimed experts are under the impression, as Seth Godin suggested in his review of Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers last week, that it’s much easier for people to get past The Dip1 and find success in “niche areas, new areas, unexplored areas. You can get through the Dip in an online network…because being seen as the best in that area is easier…”

What are the benchmarks for success? Is it number of blog readers? The size of your Twitter following? Is it your ability to soapbox, wax poetic and pontificate with confusing 2.0 jargon?

Or is it the ability to convince a town to rename itself for one of the largest marketing coups in history that makes you an expert? While Mark Hughes is undoubtedly an expert, he isn’t the benchmark either. He is one of those grand slam success stories.

So then where is the marker for the upper echelon of thought-leaders and exemplary masters? Do we leave that title reserved for people who have figured out how to make a name for themselves, or are we frugal with the moniker, giving it more often to people who are masters in making a name for others?

Does being an expert even matter in this landscape, or are we all just people trying to figure out the best way to connect with each other?

Just whom is that “expert” stamp in the social media arena reserved for?

1 Godin defines The Dip as “a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing.”

If you enjoyed this article, please consider joining (or starting) the conversation by leaving a comment below. Make your suggestions on who you think should be classified as an expert. Thank you kindly.
There are 5 comments
  1. I love this post. Seriously, who are the experts? I want to know too. Am I a blog expert now that I blog? All of a sudden I’m writing a post about “The Infectious Viral Disease aka The Internet” like I’m some kinda tech guru that knows all about social media.

  2. “An anthropologist and writer by education” – I think that makes you an expert. I love your writing style and content. Another great post.

    I laugh at the many self-proclaimed experts in social media. I know that there are many who understand how to leverage the technology-side. Many of these folks would make me look like a mental midget. For me, the real measure of SM is the “social” aspect. Many of the SM experts that I’ve encountered online lack the social graces that I respect in my offline relationships. To me this is unacceptable.

    If there was one category of people that I could classify as SM experts, it would be the blogging moms & dads. They may not have 10s of thousands of followers on Twitter, or hundreds of comments on each blog post, but they seem to understand how to simply connect with people. How do you measure that?

  3. @adamjackson I’m starting to hear this a lot, and I’m really, really glad. Music to my ears. The Self-proclaimed expert:

  4. RT @greghuntoon I’m starting to hear this a lot, I’m really, really glad. Music to my ears. The Self-proclaimed expert:

  5. RT @greghuntoon I'm starting to hear this a lot, I'm really, really glad. Music to my ears. The Self-proclaimed expert:

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