I get uncomfortable whenever I get introduced as a social media expert or guru. First off, whenever I hear someone else called that, I have a tendency to fold my arms and think, "Oh Yeah?" I find myself poised to pounce if that person makes anything close to a mistake.
When people call themselves either of those titles, my inclination gets amplified.
Judging by the surplus of Twitter and blogs shots being taken at those marketing themselves as coaches, gurus and experts, it appears that I am not alone in my inclinations. But that does not make us right.
I think this controversy has been accelerated because people have started making money teaching others about social media. And when they and their friends come up against competition they take a very old school approach. They badmouth people they do not know, and assume the right to point a derogatory finger simply because they were doing the stuff first.
Among my circle of personal social media friends, I have heard the argument that we were here first and anyone we don't know, anyone who does not go way back to the good old days of say 2006 must not be an expert.
This, of course, is a mountain of mole dung.
There are now hundreds of millions of people using social media. Many of them have them have spent thousands of hours using the tools; have drunk the same brands of KoolAid as others have, feel the same passion we have and are very, very capable of teaching others the strategies and tactics of using social media; who understand that social media is about conversations not about monologue.
The global neighborhoods of all the virtual social spaces are filled with people I have never met; who have attended events and meet ups I have not attended does not diminish their knowledge.
While I may not feel comfortable calling myself an expert, that does not require them to make the same choice. There are score, perhaps hundreds or even thousands of people who are capable of teaching others why and how to use social media and it seems to me, they can call themselves "guru" "coach," "expert" or whatever they damned well please. And those who feel that for some reason their timeline seniority allows them to challenge the claim should sit down and shut up.
Let the clients and customers, the students and friends; the attendees and workshop participants determine who is expert and who is not.