You can call me a lot of things, but please don’t call me an expert

pARACHUTERecently I had someone refer to me as an expert, telling a client,  “He’s our social influence expert.”

In response to a request for information, someone else declared, “We’ll bring in our expert to talk to you about Twitter.”


Yes it does say something on my business card about social media, but the last thing I would ever call myself is an expert.  Or guru.  Or thought leader.

Webster’s defines expert this way:  “one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject.”  The emphasis isn’t on skilled, or knowledgeable; it’s on mastery.  That’s pretty hard to achieve in the land of social media, which despite the recent gold rush, has barely been mined.  Never mind that there are new platforms, technologies and communities being created every day.  Or that no one can predict what will become the next big viral hit. Or that we still haven’t even seen the most innovative uses of Twitter’s API.

The real reason it’s impossible to be an expert is that no one knows what constitutes expertise in this space.   What do you have to master?  SEO?  Technology? Platforms?  Creativity?  Content creation?  Community?  Service?  Relationship?

If you know the answer to that you’re way ahead of me.  I prefer to be called one of the other “e” words:  enthusiast, explorer, experimenter.   Maybe I should put that on my business card.

What do you think?  Is it possible to master social media?  (If you like some of what you see here, you can subscribe with the non-orange RSS button up at the top right corner of this page.  Thanks for stopping by.)