We can all agree that it’s important to distinguish between real experts and those posing to be experts. People look to experts for advice on any number of subjects.
I remember sitting in class at the University of Texas where I majored in Government, and looked over one of my professor’s accomplishments. He was a Harvard grad, wrote dozens of articles which had been published, and even co-authored a book on a subject he was expert on. The one thing missing from this list of accomplishments was any actual experience in politics, government, or international relations. He was a student ALL of his life. His ideas and points of views were all molded by other people’s experiences. He may have known more than most people about politics and how government technically works, but does he really have the authority to call himself an expert if he’s never spent any time in the field? Is he familiar with the nuances that goes into every day decision making, or is he going off a hunch?
In my field today where my company sits at the bleeding edge of the intersection between social and commerce, I am surrounded by so called experts. They are experts of web 2.0, social media, and any other term you can think of that’ll make a Twitter lover salivate. Yet you ask one of these experts how to effectively create a program that will drive sales through social applications, and you will get answers that are far more chimerical than actionable.
I’m sure everybody has had experience with these types, but we’ve also all been fooled by them. Next time you talk to somebody who mentions they’re an expert, dig beneath the surface; you never know what you might find. Remember that false expertise is usually hidden behind the cloak of broad generalizations and limited experiences.
Sean Hannity, so-called Economics expert, who never graduated college and has been in radio his entire career