Who Needs Experts?

Who Needs Experts?

I have been getting the sense more and more these days that there tends to be less and less of a premium placed on someone who is an expert. Coincidentally, I ran across a blog Post by a Mike Lehr, called the “12 Most Important Unspoken Truths about Experts”. His Blog is called “The 12 Most…”, and you’ll find quite a few posts where he packages things into nice little bundles of a dozen. The link to his post is http://12most.com/2011/07/11/12-important-unspoken-truths-experts/

His blog post is interesting, although I think in many ways, people will misinterpret much of what he says and it will just create more fuel for the fodder of the DIY fires.

Perhaps we bump heads mostly at his last item, #12.

His number 12 explains that the easiest way to become an expert is to call yourself one. I think he’s quite serious. However for many reading his blog, this tends to fuel the fire for much of what I’ve been saying about the internet not being any great repository for truth, but being a place where perceptions rein as King and Queen. I see this sort of posturing as “expert” happening all the time. Individuals who pop up in June in the beginner groups, asking all kinds of rather basic questions, will 3 months later be the ones giving the advice, often perhaps not much more than a cut and paste of the answer they received a short time earlier. Internet time tends to work differently too, whereby somebody might say in March of 2009 that they are just embarking upon a career in XYZ. Later we see posts in January of 2010 where the individual is discussing their “5 years in the business”. By May of 2011, they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary as whatever it is they say they are.

Sadly though, calling oneself an expert can work. As an an expert, you’re generally not looking to impress other experts, you really just have to fool those that don’t know any better. And along the way this group of fake experts tends to all come together and converge at various points and may in fact support one another.

These experts are generally more concerned with telling people what they think they WANT to hear, rather than making any effort to tell them what they may NEED to hear. Thus attempts to “blow the whistle” on these fake experts are often met by resistance by the other fake experts they have managed to align themselves with, as well as a vast sea of people who represent those who don’t know any better, and will come to the rescue of the fake expert.

The internet’s version of the snake oil salesman, the traveling medicine show, the three card Monte game and the Ponzi scheme all rolled into one.

There is no truth, only perception.

Sadly, often the real experts, who aren’t slick or cool or able to tell people what they want to hear, tend to not be valued much. Their kind of information is often seen as that which one should be able to get for free by doing a simple Google search. And how does one who has actually spent, in some cases, a lifetime dedicated to their craft, their profession and the people they serve, get noticed?

I had a discussion with an author of a best-selling book on Social Media, where I posed a question of her as to whether it made more sense for a person who had adequate knowledge in a particular field to spend time money and energy on improving their craft and/ or skills set or whether that money, time and energy was best spent on web presence and SEO.

Her response was quick and decisive and indicated that in her opinion there were many people who were rather mediocre at what they did, yet managed to make extraordinary amounts of money due to their web presence and SEO.

It seems that we live in a day and age where people are willing to pay the premium to buy tap water in a bottle, perhaps simply wanting to believe it to be of better quality. And with the economy the way it is, causing depression and sadness, we often fall for
the great looking website and the good looking “expert”, who might offer us hope in the form of a $5 bottle of elixir. Once you learn about the bent corner of the queen “trick” in three card Monte, it’s usually too late and you’ve lost your money.

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