Dear Malcolm Gladwell: Can I Call Myself an “Expert” Now?

Last weekend was The Wellness Show. I have been working with them for the last 7 or 8 years, doing both their traditional PR and also building up their social media channels from scratch, bit by bit.

When I got to the show on Friday morning and claimed my badge that would give me access to the show all weekend, it said “Social Media Marketing Guru.”

I asked the owner of the show why she chose to put that on my badge, as opposed to “Manager” or something of the like. She admitted it was more of a joke than anything, which is fine with me.

But the whole question of whether or not to call yourself an “expert” is one I’ve struggled with over the last 9 years since I fell into this world of social media marketing. Truthfully, this world is rife with “experts.” There’s no accountability or governing body in this world, so basically anyone with a Twitter account can hang out a shingle and call themselves an expert.

I’ve always been of the opinion that you never call yourself an expert. If someone else calls you that, its okay, but I would never refer to myself as an “expert,” or a “guru” or whatever.

Malcolm Galdwell, in his book Outliers, says that it takes 10 years, or 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in your field.


I just wrote my 1,000th post on this blog.

Yup, it’s true. I wrote my first blog post on October 1, 2008. Since then, my blog has gone through a lot of changes; it moved from WordPress to a self-hosted site, and I’ve changed the look of it several times. I’ve changed the scope of it, too. It started out being a blog about marketing techniques for artists, but has since then grown into something bigger, and become much more focussed on social media marketing.

It’s an accomplishment for sure.

But the question remains… can I call myself an expert now?? Malcolm?? Hello???

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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.

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