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Tuesday, 07 July 2009
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Social Media Expert: No Experience Necessary
Don't Use the "E" Word
Experience Gap

By Michael Neubarth

The come-ons are everywhere-social media experts urging you to sign up now to unlock the secrets of social media success.

A typical example:

"Want to launch a revolutionary, buzz-building social media-based marketing campaign? You're in the right place. As blog strategists, we develop revolutionary blog-based marketing programs and high-yield blog advertising campaigns that make marketing fun, generate great buzz, build your brand, and make you a respected part of the social media community."

Indeed, there is no shortage of social media experts promising to help companies create killer social media campaigns that will rake in riches. They have sprouted up like dandelions.

And there's the rub. A backlash has erupted against social media experts by those who see them as a growing horde of hustlers, pretenders, imposters, and charlatans.

The following sampling of headlines from across the Web reflects the ire and contempt being unleashed upon social media experts:

  • "Invasion of the Social Media Experts"
  • "What's it take to be a social media expert? Not much, apparently"
  • "Is There Really Such a Thing as a Social Media Expert"
  • "Here an expert, there an expert…everywhere an expert"
  • "Could Your Social Media "Expert" be a Fake?"
  • "Will the real social media expert please stand up?"
  • "You're NOT a social media expert, you idiot"
  • " Social Media 'Experts' are the Cancer of Twitter (and Must Be Stopped)"
  • "7 ways to spot a social media snake oil salesperson"
  • "Top 25 Ways to Tell if Your Social Media Expert Is a Carpetbagger"

Deriding social media experts has become something of a sport. Diatribes on blogs are studded with humorous illustrations portraying social media experts as flesh-eating zombies and vampires.

Says Michael Pinto on

"Social media and SEO 'experts' aren't human anymore (i.e. they're undead) so you should feel no guilt at all in shooting them - in fact it can be an act of pleasure once you get use to it."

His remedy:

"I realized that the only solution is to lure the entire population of social media and SEO experts to an island and for President Obama to authorize the dropping of a nuclear weapon."

Says webaddict on the Open Press Wire blog:

"It seems Twitter has fostered an extreme steroid fed bacterial growth of social media experts, social media gurus and super follower magnates."

Says atomicpoet:

"These guys are 21st century snake oil salesmen, and they need to go back to the armpit of the internet from whence they came!"

Hey You, Get Off My Cloud

It is not just the general public who are attacking social media experts. Professional marketers who consider themselves to be the true social media experts are attacking those they see as upstarts and interlopers.

Says Ike Pigott on Media Bullseye:

"They hopped on board the Consultancy Express, went straight to the head of the line, and now want to tell you how to talk to people at all of the stops they skipped."

Likewise, says Leigh Durst, who bills herself as a "20 Year Marketing, New Media Veteran:"

"There are SO MANY snake oil salesmen out there calling themselves experts that it's unfortunate. It also makes me madder than a wet hen to see them speaking at conferences and grabbing client work undeserved!"

Says Michael Gray on his Graywolf's SEO Blog:

"I understand shameless promotion is part of the gig, and I engage in it myself, but I do wonder how many people who claim to be social media experts have any clue what they are doing."

Says Lisa Hoffman on her New Media Lisa blog:

"The true experts are dismissing the title, while the just-add-water 'experts' are scamming people into believing they know the way to social media salvation."

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