Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What makes an expert?

This week, I was scrolling through some of my new Twitter followers, and someone's bio read "Social Media Expert." When I clicked through to see some of her tweets, I noticed that she had a total of two tweets...and hadn't tweeted in more than a year. It's highly possible that this woman focuses her efforts on Facebook, or Pinterest, or Instagram, and she may be a superstar on those platforms, but in my mind, if you label yourself an "expert," that sets the stage for a certain level of interaction.

Unfortunately, it seems as though "expert" is becoming one of those overused terms that is usually self-assigned, and doesn't signify much. My daughter watches a show on PBS, called WordWorld, and one of the characters is a frog who thinks he's an expert in EVERYTHING. No matter what the topic, he always manages to pipe in, "I'm something of a ______ expert, you know." Now, whenever I hear someone call themselves an expert in social media, SEO, etc., all I can think of is this proud little frog. And terms like Social Media Guru/Master/Ninja/Rockstar? I'm a marketer, and I'm all for creative language, but enough is enough. If you manage social media, you are a Social Media Manager. Period.

What makes someone an "expert" in your eyes? Does it make a difference to you whether they've dubbed themselves as such, or whether you hear that term from others? I had some spirited conversations with friends on Facebook and Twitter on this topic, but think we may have just scratched the tip of the iceberg. I'm genuinely curious to hear what your take is.

PS - This doesn't include social media, but if you're curious to see what makes someone an "expert" in other categories, check out this infographic.