This post comes from Susan Murphy. It’s a nice follow-on from my post about what makes a social media guru.
Like Danny, people who brag about the fact that they are social media “experts” or “gurus” often irk me. Calling yourself an expert or a guru does not automatically make you one.
After all, guru status is a lot to live up to. Imagine having to spend every day on the top of a mountain, prophesying about the awesome wonders of social media, keeping your believers continuously captivated, as they hang on your every word.
That’s a lot of pressure!
I thought it might be amusing (well, for me, anyway) to put together a list, in the style of “You Know You’re a Redneck When…” by Jeff Foxworthy. So, Danny has kindly provided me with a forum to do that (Thanks Danny!). Here goes…
You know you’re NOT a social media guru when…
- Your Twitter profile description says “Social Media Expert Guy” but your profile picture is of you with no shirt on.
- Your blog’s About page would win the Buzzword Bingo jackpot every time.
- Your “Areas of Expertise” list is 3 pages long.
- You regularly throw flaming Tweets out at anyone and everyone who “Qwits” you.
- You think that the best way to “reach out” to your public is to send mass unsolicited emails about your new startup/podcast/e-book/insert-product-here.
- Your signal to noise ratio is equivalent to trying to listen to a Norah Jones song on your iPod during a Limp Bizkit concert.
- All of your online profiles talk about your expertise in social media but your blog is about the crazy antics of your 12 cats.
- Your “10 Things You Must Do to Get Into Social Media” list mentions Facebook, Flickr and Twitter in at least 9 of the steps.
The reality is, those that call themselves gurus ultimately seem less credible in the eyes of others. This often becomes apparent once their followers start to ask them to do real work. Suddenly, they are unable to live up to the high expectations they’ve created. Like not being able to provide any real, tangible value. Or, not being able to back up their claims or expertise.
The point is, these people call themselves experts expecting that the title alone will make them experts. If what they are really after is that elusive “guru” status, they will probably never get it.
However, by engaging with people on a human level, building their audience by making genuine connections and, perhaps most importantly, being open to continuous learning and growth, they will more than likely have other people singing their praises before long (and with much less effort, I might add). In the end, it’s not about being the best at social media; it’s about just being genuinely involved in social media.
It’s when others start to call you an expert and a guru that you’ll know you’re doing something right.
* Susan Murphy is a partner at Jester Creative Inc, a new media production company based in Ottawa, Ontario. She blogs about social media and life in general at Suzemuse. Susan can be found on Twitter as @SuzeMuse.