John Bergquist, a fellow social media professional for whom I have a high professional and personal regard recently published a blog post suggesting that the title of "social media expert" is overstated if we consider his observation:
"Social Media is such a new frontier that there really is no way that someone could honestly claim to fully understand it. It is constantly changing, and rules of the game are continually being remade and broken."
John compares good social media consultants to guides who provide knowledge, a sense of safety and confidence. I couldn't agree more.
So how do we select a qualified guide? I though it would be fun to take a look at Lewis and Clark (I love Oregon) and ask why would I be willing to explore a new frontier with these guys?
- Some visible wear and tear - I feel better seeing unhidden signs of prior missteps and failure. Perhaps even worn with a sense of pride. I want to know that my guide has faced the unexpected, survived and is better because of it.
- Packs, guns and knives - I want to see a collection of useful tools and gear. I may not understand what everything does, but I want to know that my guide is not under-equipped.
- Buckskin clothing - In this case it is a sign that my guide has foraged from a similar environment that we are about to enter. It is just more evidence that my guide has operated in a similar environment before.
- Other guides - I like seeing that my guide doesn't travel alone and is connected with other guides from whom he can learn and receive help from. Honestly, I take on look at Sacagawea and I feel better about the expedition.
- A variety of skills, perspectives and approach - Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea could not have been more different. Did you know that Clark wasn't even of proper rank to co-lead the expedition with Lewis? I like knowing that Clark isn't guiding us simply based on some unrelated title or rank.
Does that apply to confidently selecting a social media guide? I like to think it does.
Lets face it. The barrier to entry for being a "social media expert" is somewhere between puberty and a free Facebook page. Here are a few posts I think are good reading for both guide seekers and professional guides.
- Social Media Consultant or Snake Oil Salesman (by Dawn Foster of Oregon)
- 10 Questions to Evaluate a Social Media Expert
- Social Media Snake Oil
What do you think? What criteria would you use to select a guide? For social media or otherwise.