The term “Social Media Expert” is bandied about so much these days you have to wonder what is a Social Media Expert – and what qualifies one to be labeled as such – and further if everyone is a Social Media Expert – maybe it’s a title that’s lost it’s meaning or value, since everyone can’t all be Social Media Experts can they?
The devaluation of this term has been discussed in other blogs, most notably on the article in Open Wire called “You’re NOT a Social Media Expert, you idiot” where the author Joel Mackey sets new definition criteria for determining what truly makes one a Social Media Expert.
Joel defines 5 categories of true Social Media Experts:
- Authority Experts – Those who are able to transition their thought leadership from another arena to Social Media. His examples include : @joelcomm, @guykawasaki, @jimmyfallon, @aplusk
- The Power User Expert – Someone whose gotten to the top of one social media platform and sets their sites on another. Usually are early adopters: @zaibatsu, @mrbabyman @LouieBaur @stejules
- Content Creation Social Media Experts: Those who report on trends and current themes are are able to disseminate that information effectively across the internet and social media platforms. @murnahan, @mayhemstudios, @jessenewhart, @szetela, @fantomaster
- Natural Social Media Experts: Social People who are great connectors online : @AlohaArleen, @BuzzEdition, @MariSmith
- Social Media Salesmen: Internet Marketers putting out a one way content stream: (you can visit the original article for his examples)
Just like being canonized as a saint, elected class president, or named People Magazine’s sexiest man of the year – I don’t think Social Media Expert is actually a label one can apply to themselves. Rather it’s a label that’s applied given or more rightly earned by sharing your passion for social media, showing innovation and thought leadership. Being creative with your social media usage and in the most social sense – open and sharing with your information, insights and ultimately results.
Results not in the sense of pay-per-click marketing of click-through rates, impressions and user views. But rather, measured in the quality of the 2 way communication, comments, replies and overall engagement of both the expert and the audience.
It’s the user community that grows around these individuals – those of us who read their blogs, subscribe to the feeds, link to them and generally subscribe to their thought stream and appreciate their viewpoint.
In Sept 2008 (which feels like eons ago in internet time/space) ReadWriteWeb identified these 7 Social Media Consultants that Deliver Tangible Value – I think these serve as an excellent example of who some of the true experts or thought leaders are.
- Chris Brogan
- Jeremiah Owyang
- Charlene Li
- Dawn Foster
- Dosh Dosh
- Gary Vaynerchuck
- Nancy White
I guess the next question is – what should we call them? Since we collectively are the ones who are responsible for the number of Twitter Followers, Technorati Authority and Google Page Rank – we should come up with a title to bestow upon these social media luminaries of the moment. If the title “Social Media Expert” has been worn out by the hordes of them suddenly around – do we come up with a new name, or put them in categories that define exactly what type of expert. So let’s hear it – what do you think true social media experts should be called?