I find it utterly ridiculous how upset people get over the fact that someone calls themselves an expert. Particularly when it comes to social media. If a person sees themselves as a guru or a maven or even a goddess, what business is it of yours, or mine for that matter?

Seriously. Unless you’ve hired them and they failed to deliver or you know someone getting completely brainwashed by their shenanigans, maybe you should pump the brakes a bit and focus on doing what you do. I used to care about this but now it isn’t even a blip on my radar.

So much about social media is evolving. There’s something new to absorb every day. People and organizations are all at different levels and what works for company A doesn’t necessarily work for company B. So much of it is trial and error and some of those gurus may have decided to claim the moniker because they’ve failed so many times and are finally seeing some success. That may not be the definition of a guru, but maybe it is where they work.

We get so excited about the success of a single campaign (most often from a really big brand)  and before you know it, here come the “best practices” posts “Five things that ____ did right;” and odes to the greatness of Brand X. Yes, sometimes those campaigns are awesome and they teach us all a lot of lessons.

But to some working in the industry they mean nothing at all. The social media strategists, managers, gurus, maven’s and experts in certain industries have very different struggles and areas of concern and the Old Spice viral videos don’t sidetrack them into thinking that’s their solution.

People talk a lot about snake oil salesman, and I’m not saying they don’t exist because they do. But doesn’t every industry have its share?

Someone told me last week that they don’t refer to themselves as an expert, “guru” or anything else. He said he simply tries everything  before everyone else does. It’s almost like a badge of honor to “not” be called an expert.

Well, here’s the definition of “expert” from Dictionary.com:

“a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority: a language expert.”


Do you think that a good portion of the the aforementioned “experts”  have special skill or knowledge in some particular field? I know, I know maybe not all of them but at least a few, right?
After launching and managing an  online community for three years I will say with conviction that I am an expert at dealing with trolls, crafting messages that don’t offend, and creating and enforcing moderation policies. Were my policies always followed? Nope, but I do have that special knowledge having dealt with different situations and constantly making adjustments to get it right.
There’s a lot to be said about constant trial and error, especially when you learn from your mistakes, and any good guru, expert or maven has had her share.
Of course there are people out there claiming to be something they’re not. But it’s not something that you or I can fix.
And quite honestly, who cares?
So I say, take the focus off of those types. Take back your power, and keep doing you.
As your fellow expert, I expect nothing less.