The “Expert” Myth

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I’ve written about this before, and I’m writing again because it’s important.  It’s what I’m calling The Expert Myth.

I hear almost every day that if you have a blog you are an expert in whatever topic you’re writing about – and nothing could be further from the truth.  Just because you have a point of view – and a platform on which to share it – doesn’t mean that people will, or should, consider you as an expert.  To position yourself without the necessary supporting evidence is misguided and misleading.  It’s also unnecessary.

Think about it.  Does being able to drive a car qualify you to drive in NASCAR? Having a blog doesn’t make you a journalist [or, in some cases, even a reporter].  Being able to fly a plane using MS Flight Simulator doesn’t quality you to be a commercial pilot… so why does writing about something on a blog or social network mean you become an expert on the subject?

Think about it… it doesn’t!  Expert status takes time and real-world experience.  In reality, the only people legally able to call themselves an expert are those that have been expert witnesses in a court of law.

Everybody talks about engagement as each new social platform launches, but how often do you ever see a conversation taking place?  Not as often as you should. Social Media has become a place for ‘experts’ and brands to tell you what they think, or why you should be interested in their latest product or service – it’s about me, not you.  “I’m the expert and you will be interested in what I have to say. Like this. Follow that. RT me… PLEASE”.

That isn’t, in my opinion, what social media – or, for that matter, public relations or marketing – is all about.  The purpose of public relations and marketing is the creation and management of a mutually beneficial relationship between an organization and its publics [audiences] – I know this sounds old-fashioned, but it is still the definition used by our industry associations around the world – and the benefit of social media is in the open exchange of views in real-time.

So, how about it?  How about we start a conversation about public relations, the role and value of experts and the value of social media in building mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their audiences?

Other ‘expert’ posts

A message to all the social media ninjas, jedis, gurus, rockstars, wizards, concierges…

Is My Social Media Expert Really An Expert?

Beware False Experts

The Dark Side of Social Media