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I totally agree Social Media is a very young enterprise and unless the so-called expert is amongst the very few who were early adopters of the 'old' social media of forums, blogging, and bulletin boards they cannot even hope to claim any real expertise as the deep understanding of social media comes from understanding it's history.
It is not all about Facebook or Twitter or YouTube it IS all about understanding they why's and future trends by looking at the history and growth of social networking over time. Personally I was one of those early adopters doing my first course in computers learning DOS as Windows had not even been invented at that time.
I also adopted the internet at an early time in it's Australian history as I found very few people in my immediate circle who wanted to have the kind of scientific and philisophical conversations that I was craving and the early forums, news and bulletin sites all fed that craving along with my early blogs.
Knowing what social media really is and how to move with the future trends just before they trend is only possible when one has the history that comes from growing up with it, you develop a feel for it.
Good observations Gregory although can I say that your article will go over most people heads on the internet as we have all learned a new skill here, to write in a conversational style so all can understand :)
Danny I would have to agree with you on all point and add one, I am not sure if there is such a thing as a social media expert!
Social Media being such an evolving platform that no-one is really an expert! there are however some who know how to play with it well, to use the tools adeptly and to keep up with what's happening and these are the people to watch for.
I am not sure at all that there is any way to measure a social media mavens authority other than in conversions for his or her clients services and/or product in the marketplace as you so rightly point out followers/friends/likers are not necessarily listeners or buyers and this arbitrary measurement is no guarantee that they are successful or that you ought to hire them to take on your social media.
Perhaps if brand awareness is your only outcome, but for most businesses this is only the first outcome.
BTW- great post!
Thank you for your kind comment Debbie as a social media strategist, I see so many businesses still not really understanding the power of social media and how it can reduce their costs yes raise brand awareness and advocacy!
The real shame is that they are missing out on so much now and in the future, the time to start using social media is now - I happen to have a small window into the future of social media and WOW! is all I can say, what's coming next is HUGE and now is the time to start to build your following.