Aug 31, 2009

Experts

The problem with jumping on the “Who’s Really a Social Media Expert” meme-- as so many have been doing as of late-- is that there’s absolutely no way to do so without coming off as a bitter, jealous failure.

And I’m often at a loss to understand the motivation behind those posts. Sure there are a lot of people out there whose ability to get themselves hired surprises me, but more power to them if they’re able to get work. If they’re frauds, they’ll get found out soon enough.

But I’ve been in this business long enough to know that sometimes just hiring someone for a certain role is all it takes to get the troops motivated. And that sometimes, someone who’s more motivational speaker than marketing expert can prove to be the right person for that role.

The “I-Know-Better” urge isn’t just limited to rooting out allegedly unqualified social media experts. It’s been playing out in the whole “Teens Don’t Twitter---Wait, Yes They Do” farce over on Mashable and Silicon Alley Insider.

It’s not the constantly changing tone of the articles that’s at fault-- writing on such tight deadlines rarely results in careful journalism-- it’s the (literally) hundreds of authoritative declarations on why teens allegedly forsake Twitter from commenters fully convinced that they alone know the true reasons and what’s more, that the world is just waiting for them to share this enlightenment.

Now I’m not really sure what feeds this need other than good old-fashioned insecurity: sounding like an expert (and/or declaring that others are not) makes us feel better about our own status.

And while that’s relatively harmless, the need to pontificate has a funny way of preventing us from doing the one thing that just about everyone agrees is most important online: listening.

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