Recently, a social media practitioner mentioned that no one is really an expert in social media. True, except that gray or white hair does matter in any industry, especially in marketing and branding.
I read a great story of Mr Michael Zone, 90 years young, who graduated with a high school diploma on December 8, 2011 (source: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/dec/09/90-year-old-veteran-high-school-graduation-caps-li/). And in 2009, Ms Gennie Kocourek, 53 years young then, graduated with a medical degree (source: http://www.med.wisc.edu/news-events/news/gennie-kocourek-a-new-md-at-age-53/898). These are just 2 stories out of many, many similar stories, of inspirational people who braved advancing years, to earn knowledge in both mainstream and non-traditional means. Clearly, age is never the impediment to gaining knowledge.
Conversely, a clean slate is just that – clean. You can be brilliant, but without the prerequisite experience gained from the battlefield of life and its many turns, you would clearly lack the same insights and depth of someone much older, who has been here and done that.
So yes, no one can be truly an expert or a “guru” in many of the contemporary technological fields, since areas such as social media, is fluidly evolving, with new technologies being launched, existing technologies or companies going away, technologies being acquired and re-positioned, and so on. The competition for similar technologies is fierce, with stalwarts fighting tooth and nail with new entrants. There is no standstill, and therefore, everyday practitioners such as us, carry on learning, carry on doing.
When you look for a social media practitioner, do remember that social media is merely a technology enabler. It is not a business tool that delivers results by itself. You need practitioners who have sufficient gray and white hair behind them to understand business dynamics, the psychology of people, and busness processes, and perhaps even the various geographical sensitivities, to help you gauge the best way forward using social media. Just having a social media account would be pointless in delivering business results if you don’t have an advisory partner who can bring to the table, business, marketing and branding expertise and experience gained from the real battlefields out there.
So, while all of us are learners everyday, acknowledge that real world experience is what can help transform your business forward, marrying technologies with real world demands.
Dr Seamus Phan is the Head of Content and CTO at McGallen & Bolden. He is an expert in branding, marketing, communication, leadership training, crisis management, and entrepreneurship. This article may appear concurrently on his blog. Connect on LinkedIn. ©1984-2018 Seamus Phan et al. All rights reserved.