Only Six More Years Until I Get to be an “Expert!”

So, I’m surfing the net, as I do, the other day, and I came across this interesting essay: The 10 Year Rule to Become an Expert. In it, the author quotes an American psychologist and writer, Dr. Jane Piirto: “Any person,” she claims, “must have been working in a domain for a minimum of 10 years in order to achieve international recognition.” She calls this “the 10 year rule.”

I’ve written about this topic in the past, but it came up for me again recently while interacting with a colleague from Ontario on Facebook:

She linked to this post: You Are Not a Social Media Expert

So, I thought I’d do some research.

Here’s how Wikipedia defines Expert (and if Wikipedia isn’t an expert, then I don’t know who is!):

  • At a minimum usually 10 years of consistent practice, sometimes more for certain fields
  • A characterization of this practice as “deliberate practice”, which forces the practitioner to come up with new ways to encourage and enable themselves to reach new levels of performance
  • An early phase of learning which is characterized by enjoyment, excitement, and participation without outcome-related goals
  • The ability to rearrange or construct a higher dimension of creativity. Due to such familiarity or advanced knowledge experts can develop more abstract perspectives of their concepts and/or performances.

The truth of the matter is, Social Media has only barely been around for 10 years, itself. Friendster was launched in 2002, and MySpace in 2003. Thanks to a currently Oscar-nominated film, we all know about the humble beginnings of Facebook in 2004.

It’s a crazy world, and if you look at Wikipedia’s definition, you could argue that we are still in “an early phase of learning which is characterized by enjoyment, excitement, and participation without outcome-related goals.” Proving the metrics of social media marketing is still a bit of a challenge–we are certainly making progress there, but it’s still difficult. Also, I think I see many people still loving social media and using it without really knowing what the goal is, other than having fun and being a part of it.

What do you think? Do social media “experts” exist?


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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 4

  1. Yes, I think they do and I don’t think time is the only judge of whether someone is an expert. The depth of knowledge is more important than that.

    Does this mean that a mother who as 9 children over nine years (as many used to do years ago) is not an expert at being a mother of infants until she has her 10th? I DON’T THINK SO.

    What is more the issue is people who call themselves experts when they aren’t and this seems to be especially bad in the social media sphere. The good news is, even if we used the ten year rule, by the time social media really been around ten years, it won’t need experts. All fields seem to attract people who want to call themselves “experts” at the beginning but then once the field become ubiquitous, it’s kind of irrelevant.

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