Over the past few years a plethora of Social Media Experts* have cropped up and their tweets, posts, podcasts etc serve up a cacophony of advice and pontification.
Here’s a few of my thoughts on the matter, from the perspective of someone who sees herself as an apprentice on a learning journey.
Anyone who claims to be an expert in social media is probably talking through their hat.
Social media has been with us for only a few years. Expertise is not developed overnight.
Deep knowledge is founded on a basis of research and experience. Lessons learned, especially from failure and pushing of known boundaries, are key to development of expertise.
But research has shown that expertise in a particular field is achieved over many years of research and practice. Since social media has been with us for such a short time it is unlikely that any of us have gleaned more than primitive insights as yet.
As Wikipedia notes:
Some characteristics of the development of an expert have been found to include
- At a minimum usually 10 years of consistent practice, sometimes more for certain fields
- A characterization of this practice as “deliberate practice”, which forces the practitioner to come up with new ways to encourage and enable themselves to reach new levels of performance
- An early phase of learning which is characterized by enjoyment, excitement, and participation without outcome-related goals
- The ability to rearrange or construct a higher dimension of creativity. Due to such familiarity or advanced knowledge experts can develop more abstract perspectives of their concepts and/or performances.
Some people may have expertise in other areas that gives them unique insights into the possibilities inherent in social media. They may be able to fast track the development of expertise in social media by building on their previous knowledge and experience.
Further, social media is just media and communications on a new platform. I’m not quite sure if that fact privileges social media in some special way?
Rather it seems that what we are undergoing is experimentation with the new media publishing platforms – from hard copy to soft copy, from television to online, etc.
This is no different from the platform change that ensued with the move from radio to television. I wonder if there were a bunch of Television Media Experts running around back in those days too? And I suspect that those experts of olden times would have known just as much as the average Social Media Expert today.
Perhaps rather than being social media experts we are social media learners? If indeed social media is a real thing we should even consider in and of itself (but that is a topic for another day)?
* Updated: OzDJ also reminded me of the various “social media ‘luminaries’, ‘mavens’, ‘gurus’ et al”