What does it take to be an expert?

How do we measure a guru’s worth? In this case, I’m specifically thinking about social media / communications gurus. Do you need 10,000 followers watching every tweet about the incremental progress of your hair cut? Or is it enough to squeeze out one gem a day which then is referred through multiple social networks?

This is a variation of the old (in Internet terms) chestnut, “would you trust a social media expert who doesn’t use social media”. It’s hard to see this as a black and white issue though, as I doubt there’s a communications professional out there who doesn’t use social media in some way. The real distinction is between someone who gorges at the social media trough, against someone who picks and chooses their involvement.

I’m reminded of a comment from rec.food.cooking back in the early 90s:

Never trust a skinny chef.

The assumption was that a chef who didn’t enjoy food enough to over indulge couldn’t be a good chef. This is just wrong, confusing quantity with quality. Just like the critic in Ratatouille, some chefs are more selective about what they consume, but this doesn’t mean that they have less passion or ability than their more indulgent peers.

I don't LIKE food. I LOVE it. If I don't love it, I don't SWALLOW.

Anton Ego

Anton Ego: I don’t LIKE food. I LOVE it. If I don’t love it, I don’t SWALLOW.

So the real question is: do we measure social media professionals by the volume of their engagement with the medium, or by the quality of their engagement. McDonalds (an international chain) vs. Vue de Monde (50 seats in Melbourne). Do you need to tweet 50 times a day to be considered a guru? Or will one well placed tweet a day qualify you?

My preference is for the advice of someone who demonstrates knowledge and insight into the medium, an understanding of the problem I’m trying to solve, and I’ll measure that insight by what they publish. The volume of their engagement is a secondary concern.

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