Thursday 3 January 2013
And no, I’m not referring to ‘tool’ as that ‘special’ friend you have who is, well, an imbecile. If you had a plumbing problem in your house, you’d call a plumber. If you had some issue with the electrics, you’d hire an electrician to fix it. Got a court date? You get a lawyer. You need to nail a couple of planks of wood together you’d use a hammer not a loaf of bread. Right? God, I hope you’d use a hammer not a loaf of bread . . . What I’m getting at here is that you’d employ, hire, utilise the correct tool for the job. It’s common sense. So what baffles me is this: if you needed work done in the area of Social Media and you weren’t confident or capable of doing it yourself, wouldn’t you hire a Social Media professional? Hopefully you answered yes to that question. Common. Sense.
Herein lies my . . . problem. Why the hell are there so bloody many people, who are not Social Media professionals, giving advice on best practice in Social Media? My Twitter stream is filled to the brim with writers, artists, mums, dads, teenagers, dancers, singers, doctors, teachers, chefs, you bloody well name the profession, all giving advice on how to best employ Social Media. My Facebook newsfeed is the same. My G+ circles are also fast following this line.
There are people in this world who are Social Media professionals – they set up profiles and accounts, create websites and pages and blogs, manage Social Media accounts for brands and individuals, and some of them (albeit a small number, I’m sure) actually bother to experiment and test out different platforms, tools, and apps in order to have firsthand knowledge of these things. But, all of a sudden, there are a bunch of people who aren’t Social Media professionals, who seem to believe that they are masters of SoMe and are giving out SoMe advice.
Now, it’s true that probably more than a few of these non-SoMe professionals know more than the ‘experts’ (a term that I use loosely because the ever-changing nature of Social Media kinda means that one can’t ever really be an expert because one should be perpetually learning and updating one’s knowledge of the field . . . but that’s just my opinion). However, you’re not a doctor simply because you happen to have access to a copy of Gray’s Anatomy . . . the medical textbook, people, not the TV show . . . although, I guess the same could apply to someone who has viewed the show . . . still doesn’t make them a doctor. Hence, regurgitating some spiel written by a SoMe professional doesn’t qualify you to offer Social Media advice.
It is true that, on a few occasions, I have proffered my thoughts with regards to Social Media – this being one of those times. It must also be said that I am absolutely upfront about the fact that I am not a Social Media professional. I discuss the field only in terms of things that tick me off, or the way that I choose to use Social Media. How does this differ from what I am currently writing about?
Well, I have never claimed to be a professional, nor do I believe that I have ever led anyone else to infer from my posts that I know a flipping thing about Social Media. But the posts that I have read of late, written by people who list their profession as something other than Social Media consultant/manager/coach/etc, have all attempted to persuade me that the authors of the posts know what they’re talking about, that they’ve had some sort of training in Social Media, that this is what they do for a job when they’re not writing or dancing or doctoring or philosophising or posing. And the fact of the matter is this: they are not involved in Social Media in a professional capacity other than utilising SoMe to promote their movie/book/play/art/photography/themselves. That does not make you a professional. It does not mean that you’re qualified to give other people Social Media advice.
All of this leads me to wonder how the people in these other professions would feel if a Social Media professional wrote an article on someone else’s area of work. For example, if you were a novelist and you wrote a post or two telling people how best to use Social Media, exactly how would you feel reading a post by a SoMe professional discussing best novel writing practice, or explaining to the world everything you did wrong in your novel? I’m pretty sure you’d be pissed and comment rather rudely on that article.
So, I write again, if you’re in need of Social Media advice, get in touch with a trusted professional in that field.
N.B. The subject of this post has been irritating me for some while, and it seems to me that for some people, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. It allows them an inflated sense of self, and they appear to think that they know it all. But think of my lil rant in this way: do you really want a plumber sticking his fingers in your mouth to fix your toothache after he’s fixed your neighbour’s toilet? Didn’t think so. The same principle applies to Social Media – get the right professional to do the job. But again, I know very little about Social Media, other than how I choose to utilise it.