Social Media Experts or Hammer Gurus?

9 Apr



Self-described Social Media Experts beware!


If you call yourself a social media expert, the rest of us will soon see that you’re saying nothing.



Social media is just…media…channels…tools. It’s a means to deliver your message to your audience. This is true whether you’re a PR person for a coffee shop, a salesperson for an office supply chain, or a fund-raiser for a local charity.

Carpenters are carpenters, not Hammer Gurus. Cowboys are cowboys, not rope & fence kings. Drummers are drummers, not drumstick and cymbal experts. Sure, they know a lot about those tools of their trade, but tool expertise alone won’t make get them hired or help their client. The quality of the work they produce with those tools will.


Thanks to Albert Maruggi and Kevin Dugan for listening to my rant earlier this week on this topic! 


9 Responses to “Social Media Experts or Hammer Gurus?”

  1. Angela Jeffrey April 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    Clever boy! Congrats on your new blog. Some good tips here. I agree with you on social media – its a channel, not brain surgery. However, we do need to define metrics that make sense for measurement, and they are not the same as for traditional media. Anyway, nice to see you in cyberspace.

  2. Tressa Robbins April 9, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    Good post, Jack – I’m still laughing. It’s funny because it’s SO true! The more things change, the more they stay the same (someone smart said that). Social media is simply a new opportunity / channel, nothing more.

    Looking forward to seeing you in NYC at the Media Relations Summit!


  3. Gini Dietrich April 9, 2009 at 4:56 pm #

    I COULD NOT AGREE MORE! @jeffmello and I had this same conversation on Monday. Not only are they tools, but it’s WAY TOO EARLY for anyone to be an expert on the way we’re using the Web to communicate.

  4. sj April 9, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    You *know* I agree with you 🙂

    Likewise, I feel overtweeted quite a bit with “read this! read that!” links so frequently that it’s starting to make me zone out, and I have a voracious media appetite.

    I find Tweets much more interesting when they’re truly blurbs about what’s going on, rather than a 30 character book report.

    Kudos, my friend.

  5. Maddie Forrester April 13, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    I have to agree with Gini Dietrich, but don’t you think that social media only has “experts” because it’s still (can you believe it?) so new? There’s still a high wha? factor. Knowing a little goes a long way.

    But you’re right. Soon, “social media experts” will be just like the rest of us – when we all are using this medium as just another medium.

    Also, thanks to Angela for mentioning measurement! I actually don’t think that the metrics for social media are fundamentally THAT different from those for traditional media, though – figure out what’s being said and by whom. Set a benchmark, track, rinse and repeat.

  6. Brad May 13, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    I definitely agree that social media is simply another channel for media, another tool to be used. However I don’t know if I buy your analogy with carpenters and drummers etc. Simply because many of those career examples do specialize in one tool or method over others and that expertise does lead to them getting hired and to what role they fill in the overall work being done. Some carpenters are experts with drywall and other are experts at wood working and building cabinets; and some drummers are experts on kettle drums, steal drums, drum sets, or the snare.

    I think the same is true with Media, some can specialize in Social Media, others Print and others TV. Would you hire a firm that specialized in print advertising or direct mail to make a 30 second Superbowl ad? I think it is perfectly acceptable for people to be and market themselves as experts with a tool or channel, the problem is that there are SO MANY people calling themselves social media experts just because they have a twitter account!


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