Get Shouty

there is no spoon
October 5, 2010, 2:22 pm
Filed under: Digital Strategy

Jye has asked me to recreate a Coffee Morning rant. I’ll do my best….

We were talking about ‘social media experts’.

Now I no opinion on what people to choose to call themselves  in the workplace. I’m no big fan of titles or labels but  do agree that  it would be very nice if people would curtsy when they’re introduced to you…anyhoo.

The notion I want to explore here is: “Is it possible to be an expert in social media?’

We’re trying to talk about an emergent discipline. We’re all still making up the language as we go. This means there’s a lot of new nonsense, heaps of obscure semantics, and quite a bit of confusion as our taxonomy is not set, we haven’t agreed on the discourse…we’re all still a bit muddled and unordered in our thinking because what (I think) we’re doing is in the Complex and Chaotic realms.

In the light of this my answer on the possibility of expertise is: No.

To add to the verbiage mentioned above, here’s my supporting case. I’m a huge fan of Dave Snowdon’s Cynefin framework which puts forward some really interesting thinking on how to make sense of complex environments

  • It would seem to me that you could only be an expert in systems that are ordered, where cause and effect are repeatable and the relationship between cause and effect can be known
  • This is better explained by Dave himself in his story about how expert fought against the idea of Longitude
  • It would further seem to me that social media sits in the unordered realm, where cause and effect are coherent only in retrospect and where results are unpredictable
  • You couldn’t be an expert in a Complex environment as no good or best practice documentation can be handed over to another practitioner with the guarantee that they will get the same results for any tactic/experiment
  • What I believe you can be is a ‘practitioner with experience’, someone who understands the ‘probe-sense-respond’ agility that is required in this non-linear unpredictable (superfun!) environment
  • There is no frickin’ spoon- try it it will make your life quite a bit easier.

4 Comments so far
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[…] Chatfield has articulated what true expertise meant, but she’s one of few who can – big thanks KFC. We’re trying to talk about an […]

Pingback by » Who are the social media experts? - A Digital Perspective

Nicely put, KC. What might be fun to do is to get a bunch of marketing peeps (even one or two “social media experts”), give them a bunch of labels (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, blogs, wikis, YouTube, CRM, analytics, mail campaigns) and ask them to place each one onto a Cynefin framework map.

I imagine an unholy row would ensue but something useful might come out of that discussion.

Comment by innotecture

that would be fun

Comment by katiechatfield

Excellent points. I think social media is a broad platform and constantly changing. Expertise in using one type of social media does not automatically transfer into all other types.

Comment by Nadja

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