I think it’s pretty simple.
Hard Work and Dedication
It’s unfair to just write someone off because they use the word expert in their title. I understand there are a lot of people claiming to be experts and they have ultimately tainted the title, but it’s still a fair title. Chris Brogan even wrote a post awhile ago discussing his criteria for a Social Media Expert and why he removed expert from his title on his “about” page.
What Is An Expert?
Being an expert in anything requires proper guidance and a lot of time. Some research by K. Anders Ericsson, Michael J. Prietula, and Edward T. Cokely stated:
“.. even the most gifted performers need a minimum of ten years (or 10,000 hours) of intense training before they win international competitions. In some fields the apprenticeship is longer: It now takes most elite musicians 15 to 25 years of steady practice, on average, before they succeed at the international level.” – The Making of an Expert, p4.
Not just that, you also need to maintain a high level of expertise over time and deliver consistent positive results.
Luck also plays a large role as time and proper instruction cost money. Wealthier families are more likely to invest in their child’s schooling therefor logging their needed practice time early on in their lives.
I also think a large part of being an expert at something requires a certain curiosity and drive that not everyone possesses. Most people give up way before they get close to the number of hours needed to master anything.
So Are All These Social Media Gurus and Web Experts The Real Deal?
Well if you’re going to take the 10,000 hour rule literally, it’s very possible. This field is unique in that most of the true experts and pioneers are all somewhat accessible via the Internet. This eliminates the luck component of the expert formula by creating access to needed information with little to no cost.
I have been making websites since 1999. Even if i had only spent 6 hours a day on my computer tinkering I would have reached my 10,000 hours within 5 years. Granted, some newer areas of interest haven’t even been around for 10 years, but aren’t these technologies mostly just advancements of existing ones. When the game changes the expert should be on top of their game.
So go ahead and call yourself an expert if you think you’ve put in your time. I wont criticize you, just back it up with excellence.
- Photo by akakumo