Home > Google, Techcrunch > Social Media Experts should Shut Up.

Social Media Experts should Shut Up.

This just in from Mashable:

Social media is growing fast, but how fast? UsingTweepsearch to search bios on Twitter profiles, blogger B. L. Ochman found there were 4,487 social media experts in May 2009. Today there are 15,740.

I’m afraid I have to call shenanigans on this one, because I don’t believe for a moment that there are that many social media experts on Twitter. I have a hard time believing there are that many social experts working in the field. Now, I have no problem believing there are that many people who claim to be social media experts, but so what? It’s a meaningless, nebulous label, like calling yourself a writer, a musician, or, worse, an artist. Who can disprove your claim if you’re jackass enough to label yourself a social media expert?

Since “social media expert” is subjective, and doesn’t come with extra letters after your name, it’s like any of the million other careers where you get to claim to be whatever you like  — I’m a tech journalist! — no matter how empty the claim is, or how little you know, or how you’re no more than a puppet making jokes in front of a low-end camera in a frigid basement. More than that, all these idiots claiming to be experts makes everyone else look bad, and when I say that I’m not just saying how the fake experts make the real experts look bad, though that does happen — no, I’m talking about how fake social media experts make everyone who sings the praises of the web look like idiots. And not just everyone who claims they’re a social media expert. I’m talking about everybody who praises the power of the web. We look like idiots because of those jerks. It’s like every time you hear about a breatharian, all people with any leanings toward magical thinking look stupid.

It’s stupidity by association, and it should stop.

Since we don’t have the gatekeepers that lawyers or doctors or police officers have, and since it’s sadly not illegal to claim to be a social media expert — A world with Arrington in jail is a world I want to be a part of — we have to rely on something else. We have to rely on people-based systems, such as the system of Trust highlighted by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith in their great book Trust Agents. What that means, really, is that if you’re actually an expert in something you have to earn the trust of people you’re proclaiming your expertness to, and if you’re not an expert, if you’re one of the 90% of online idiots who think they can give themselves all the titles in the world because it’s online, and everybody’s an expert, well, this means we get to point at you and laugh until you go away.

I know you can’t see me, because this is text, but if you’re an idiot and you suck, I’m pointing and laughing at you. Go away.

  1. December 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    apparently you missed the humor and sarcasm in my post.

    • December 30, 2009 at 5:44 pm

      No, not at all! I wasn’t commenting your analysis of the staggering number of “social media experts” online; I was commenting on the stupidity of so many people being experts because they say so.

      I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page, here, B.L.

  1. December 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm

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