Earlier today I posed a question on Twitter about whether anyone calling themselves a "social media expert" should be required to have their own blog or at least contribute to a blog. It was inspired by the recent trend that many people have noticed of everyone who has ever visited a blog claiming that they are an expert on all forms of social media. And as some people noted, it was also a subtle comment on the fact that there are even people that do title themselves as a social media expert (which, by the way, I have never called myself – I prefer to describe myself as a Professional Marketer – or as an Author now that I have a book.)

Regardless, I also promised to make the results of the poll public, so without further ado – here are the updated results through 2pm EST based on the responses received on the first poll, as well as the second edition when the first one hit 100 responses and automatically closed.

Question: Can you be a "social media expert" if you do not have (or contribute to) a blog?

  • Yes – having a blog is optional (61 responses – 51%)
  • No – no blog = not an expert (58 responses – 49%)

These results in themselves were interesting (I actually thought a lot more people would respond "no" but it turned out to be evenly spread), but the reasoning and comments that some responders left were also illuminating. The full list of comments is included as a downloadable PDF as the end of this post, but the responses mostly fell into one of four categories:

  1. Yes, blogs don’t equal social media. Several responders noted that blogs are not the only type of social media and felt that saying you needed a blog in order to understand social media was the same thing as saying you needed to drive one particular brand of car in order to get a driver’s license (or, my favourite analogy from the responses, saying men shouldn’t be gynecologists!).
  2. No, blogs are the cornerstone of social media. Most of the people who responded that it was indeed necessary to have a blog to be an expert reasoned that though blogs are not the only part of social media, they are easily the most visible and therefore can be used as a barometer to see if someone qualifies to be an expert or not.
  3. Yes, people’s blogs are hidden. This was a point of view I didn’t even think of, but sometimes you cannot tell if someone has a blog because they may blog privately or on a corporate intranet. You could argue that this means they do have a blog, so this response should actually go the other way, but it’s an interesting point of view anyway because it forces you to not be so quick to judge.
  4. No, calling yourself an "expert" means you’re a wanker. Many people felt that calling yourself an expert of any type, social media or otherwise, was a sure sign that you actually weren’t. This was something of a non-answer to the actual question, but interesting to note that there was this backlash against the idea of people self identifying themselves as "experts."

Thanks to everyone who participated – all in all, I think it was a successful Friday poll experiment. Maybe I’ll turn this into a weekly series if people find it useful …