This is not the first time I’ve written about this subject. As an example, here’s a post from back in 2013

Here we are in 2021 and I’m still seeing people who call themselves “experts” in the field of social media.

Can we get real for a second? 

I’ve been at this since 2008. I consider myself a practitioner of social media. How on EARTH could I be an expert when the platforms I’m using change everyday? I mean… EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  Who on earth could keep up with all the changes?

  • Who’s got access to LinkedIn Newsletters?
  • How many hashtags does Instagram favor right now (like today, not last week)? 
  • Do the hashtags belong in the comment or the caption? 
  • How many Facebook posts should you have each day? 
  • What’s the difference between a LinkedIn newsletter and an article? 
  • How does Pinterest send all that web traffic? And why? 
  • How does Twitter Spaces even work? 
  • What happened to Fleets? What’s a Fleet? 

This list goes on. So if you’re an “expert” I would assume not only do you know the answers to all of these questions, but you know the history of them, the future of them and the in-depth algorithm-y details of why they function the way they do.

I do know a few people I’d consider experts in their slice of the field, but even they are not “social media experts,” necessarily. They know specifics on LinkedIn or  Twitter, but that does not grant them the title of all-encompassing social media “guru” (have I ever mentioned I hate the word “guru”?). 

This morning I’m reading resumes for a client. We need some more hands on deck. The first two I’ve seen have labeled themselves “expert.” Now listen, they may be highly qualified, extremely knowledgeable, well-practiced people. They may actually be the right fit for the job. They probably know a whole bunch about something I’m a little fuzzy on. But EXPERT? And I’ve never heard of them? I mean, are they speaking at national conferences, have they written books, are they who the networks call when Facebook changes its name to Meta? Moreover, do they have the actual experience with a BUSINESS account (not their personal TikTok) to show they actually know how to perform and make a brand’s voice move on social?

Can we all just back down from putting ourselves on a pedestal for one second, have some humility and remember we are all practitioners out here. Remember, it’s ok to not know everything – PERFECTLY OK. But to know you don’t know it all and are brave enough to admit it? Well that makes you someone with a future in this industry. 

So get back to practicing and please stop telling everyone you’re an expert. You’re setting yourself up for failure.


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