A few weeks ago I attended the Social Commerce Leadership Forum and during the introduction the sponsor asked the audience of 75 a series of questions:
How many of you are beginners when it comes to social media? Maybe 25 raised their hands.
Any advanced practitioners? Another 25 or so raised their hands (including myself).
Do we have any experts in the room? Roughly 10 people raised their hands.
Then came the first speaker, Andrew Koven, President of ECommerce & Customer Experience at Steve Madden. Wearing a bright orange Syracuse University sweatshirt and a carmel-brown winter jacket, Andrew stood behind the podium at the front of the room and started off his presentation by stating, “First of all, I’m no expert.”
Thank you, Andrew. Not only do I like your first name but you are the first speaker, let alone person, who I’ve heard at an industry conference who admits to not being an expert. While some of us may have years of experience at a profession and a resume full of success highlights, does that mean there is nothing else to be learned at our job? If we finally get a client quoted in the NY Times or manage an online campaign that results in millions of impressions, does that mean our employer should give us a blank check and a promotion because we know more than everybody else?
Don’t get me wrong, I think there are plenty of smart, knowledgeable professionals in all industry’s. It just bothers me when the term “expert” gets thrown around around. I see the term used in LinkedIn profiles, Twitter bio’s, and I always wonder how these professionals became perfect. That’s what an expert is, to me. Someone who doesn’t make mistakes. Perhaps people like this exist. I just haven’t met him or her yet.
As I commented on a similar post this week from Danny Brown, we’re all students no matter what profession we’re in. Whether you have two years of experience at your job or 200, there is always something new to be learned. So please, think twice before you call yourself an expert.
- 9 Point Social Media Expert Evaluation (1goodreason.com)
- Social media speakers: A dime a dozen? (arikhanson.com)
- Six Tips to Hire the Right Social Media Consultant (socialmediatoday.com)