Say it loud: social media expert and proud!

Own it!

Merriam Webster defines “expert” as “having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.”

By this definition, I qualify as a social media expert, and how reassuring is that? 🙂  You know, there is no accreditation for social media, like there is for public relations.  You cannot get certified in social media the way you can for first aid and CPR.  This definition will have to do.

But according to just about everyone else I know who works in social media, if you claim social media expertise, you are NOT a social media expert, because according to them, no self-respecting social media expert would ever claim such a thing.

Of course, the people who are saying this do happen to be social media experts themselves.

It is all very confusing.

I’m trying to think of any other profession that has a similar thing going on and I’m coming up dry.  Can you see a plumber saying this?  Or a doctor?  Or a photographer?

One person recently agreed with a post that it was irrelevant to put social media in one’s Twitter bio, because “it was all marketing, and social media is just part of marketing.”  But she does, in fact, have the words social media in her bio. She writes for a social media blog with the words social media in the blog title.  I’m sure she uses the social media hash tags and meta tags.  But, apparently, she would choke before admitting that she is a social media expert.

I feel like I’m not one of the cool kids for dissenting with the prevailing view, but I would rather be uncool and get paid.  This is the scenario that comes to my mind when I think about it…

[Ring ring!] SME (social media expert): Hello?

Would-be client: Hi! My friend Rosa knows you and says you are a social media expert.  I need some help putting my business on Facebook.

SME: [condescendingly] Oh, I believe I can help you with that.  But first, I just want to clarify, I am not a social media expert.  No social media expert would ever claim that.  Because there is no such thing as a [sniff] social media expert.

Would-be client: [sounding confused] Really? Well, I’m sorry. Rosa must have meant someone else.  I was looking for a social media expert to help me.  Sorry to bother you!  Bye! [click!]

I have no problem claiming to have social media expertise.  I get paid for my knowledge and skills, which I acquired by a substantial investment of time, money, practice, and application since about 2005.  I have been working in communications jobs on and off since 1988.   I’m always learning.  I like learning new things.  I may not know more about social media than other social media experts, but I know more about social media than my clients.  So, naturally, they think I’m an expert.  So do I.

One comeback you will hear is that there are charlatans who claim social media expertise but don’t deliver the goods. Personally, I have not met any of these people, but if I had, to that I would say, well, and what of it?  More power to them!  Because no one can steal your lunch without your permission.  Why complain about it?  Just be better at what you do.

I’m not saying you should be all cocky or arrogant, but if you have expertise, it’s just crazy to say you don’t have it.

Maybe the best thing is to let your clients say it for you?  And if they do, for pete’s sake, don’t contradict them!

Just say thank you.


About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.

Posted on March 29, 2011, in Social Media Tips and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi from Spain,

    I think you are an expert, at least from what I learn from your comments. I took a course in Spain about social media manager functions and find it very interesting but it was very short. It is all so new that it is difficult to find the right course. Do you know any online course worth doing regarding social media management?.
    Thanks for your posts they are really inspiring.

  2. Thanks, Gonzalo! I’m so glad my posts are useful to you.

    I don’t know of an online course in social media management. I’m sure they’re out there, but all the courses and workshops I’ve attended were right here in the DC area.

    But you can learn a lot about social media by reading my blog, as well as Mashable, Social Media Examiner, and other social media blogs online.

    And I encourage you to experiment and use platforms like Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and Facebook Pages. You will learn as you go. Especially blogs! Have fun with it!


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