Searching for social media experts

I just read an article in Adweek about Ford hiring Scott Monty in its quest to grapple with and implement the monolith that is… trumpets please… social media. While reading the piece I couldn’t help but wonder outloud just how social media experts became social media experts in  a space so relatively fresh in our collective marketing, media and PR consciousness. Not that Scott is not one, but this thought came to me after reading that Ford ran 50 candidates through the gauntlet before choosing Scott. 

Which begs my first of many questions: Though they chose a good person, who made the final decision, and what was it based upon? Who were the other 50 and why were they not chosen? I know that there is always a bit of subjectiveness to this process but I think, given the “newness” of the space, that it had to be absolutely fascinating to see how the whole thing went down. I do have to give some credit to Ford for stepping up, now more than ever, and especially given the state of the economy and the auto industry in particular. Somebody, somewhere, within that organization had the foresight to get to a decision maker and say, “we need to grab onto the beanstalk that is social media.

Some other questions I had and I’m sure other likeminded organizations are probabaly grappling with are:

Do we, they become expert like from writing it so much that we begin to understand how it works? Do experts, or are experts people who have implemented  a or some social media campaigns of any scale, successfully or unsuccessfully? What is the criteria? Are they IT people? marketing experts?  PR experts? What determines the experts title as the “expert”. Who determines it? Their peers? The  nascent industry itself?

I do think that longevity in the space that is and has been marketing, PR and even IT/internet/marketing, certainly is a determining factor. Why? Well think about it, when we all got into the business of what we do, what we did then is certainly not what we do now. Our jobs, titles and positions have all evolved. They have morphed into what the public and our bosses have demanded, expected and required us to learn, on the fly. And currently for some of us, that is all things social media related.

With that being said, when I write about the top 30 social media evangelists, I write from a position of referring to these people time and time again about social media topics that are hot. I mention them because they have their fingers on the collective pulse of their clients, their usage of bleeding edge technology to leverage brands, and their willingness to share their experiences. I call them experts, because their names and their blogs come up in conversations, they are constantly pushing out valuable information, and they are essentially practicing what they are preaching. And I find myself going back to “them” because clients and what I do and we do on a day to day basis, requires that I learn fast and implement faster.

Funny thing though, even the experts are wondering who the real experts are!

And if you really want to know the truth. Social media has to be a “practice what you preach model”. Why? You can’t be successfull in the space by being quiet and stealthy. it’s all about the sharing and exchanging of information without pretense. That’s right, the conversation. 

But to be successfull in the space, it is eventually going to boil down to those who do and those who did and not those who have heard and those who say.

All I do know is that the expert does not or should not call himself the expert. I can’t place the quote but:

Anyone who has to tell you that they are “the man”, ain’t “the man…”

3 thoughts on “Searching for social media experts

  1. Great post! I think this qualifies you as an expert in social media…

  2. You raise an interesting point: who’s to say who knows the most in this field? What I can tell you from Ford’s perspective is that they know their business extremely well and realized that social media & digital communications is an area that’s going to be key to the company’s success over the long haul.

    I believe that there are no experts and many experts at the same time – that is, things move so quickly that knowledge is outdated almost as soon as you acquire it and there’s almost no time to get up to speed on everything, yet there are those who understand trends and human behavior and who have a solid enough grasp on business and communications strategy to make sense of it.

    Like any developing field, what we know now will be dwarfed by what we know next year. The best any company can do is to find a talented and smart individual who is willing to work within a matrix organization by teaching, persuading and leading others.

  3. Monty, here’s the takeaway from what you have said and which is what I would like others to take away from it. Teaching, persuading and leading others is tantamount to being successful not only within any large medium or small business but it’s also what determines what orgs. will be successfull. If the old school business model exists then how on earth can you retain great people?

    The great ones go where they can learn, teach, grow and persuade and be enriched by the experience. Thus, There has never been a better opportunity within these companies for the companies to actually empower not only the customer but also the employee through social media.

    If not the expert, then perhaps the next big thing. The person who gets it! Thanks for stopping by!


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