I had to laugh hysterically (and groan) today when someone described a blogger as “world-reknown expert on WordPress”. The blogger had been blogging for 4 months. I know personally that they had no PHP, WordPress, or web design experience prior to beginning blogging. Now that they have the title “expert”, there is no telling who will believe that claim.
A few weeks ago I ran across an “SEO Expert” described as an “everyone-must-read expert”. I checked them out and trust me, this person knows nothing about SEO other than old rehashed tips that were out of date 5 years ago. The underlying code of their blog was designed with Word in tables. That doesn’t set a good example as an SEO expert, does it?
Another “top notch expert”, this time using the term themselves on his blog (in big capital letters), had no About or Contact page on his blog. There was no information on who this person was, other than a lot of “I know this better than anyone, so you better listen to me and my advice” in his posts. I don’t know what justifies him as an expert, how long he’s been an expert, or even what field he is an expert in. Nothing but sensationalized pontification about how much of an expert he is and why we should buy whatever it is he is selling.
We all run across bloggers claiming to be experts in their subject, or other bloggers writing about these people and calling them “experts”. What makes them an expert?
What you consider an expert? What are the characteristics that make a personal qualified to be called an expert? When you are blogging about an expert, do you know for a fact they are “thee expert”, or because their blog told you? How did it tell you? Did you verify the facts?
According to the Dictionary, expert is defined as:
- A person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority.
- Military – the highest rating in rifle marksmanship, above that of marksman and sharpshooter, and a person who has achieved such a rating.
- Possessing special skill or knowledge; trained by practice; skillful or skilled.
- Pertaining to, coming from, or characteristic of an expert: expert work; expert advice.
The definition doesn’t quantify what really defines an expert. What does?
When you hear of a doctor or lawyer as an “expert in his field”, you have an idea of what it took to get to that “expert” qualification. There are many professions with experts in them, and we are totally comfortable agreeing with their titles. But what about experts in the blogosphere?
Anyone can start a blog today. They can make up all kinds of expertise and powerful sounding resumes and descriptions for their “expertise”. They can come up with highfalutin titles and synonyms for “expert” like “master” and “leader”.
How do you know if they are telling the truth? Where is the proof of their expertise?
If you are talking with someone considered an expert, you can often tell by the sound of their voice and body language, as well as what they say and how they say it, if they really know what they are talking about. But what are the clues in a blog? Are there clues you can spot that identifies this person as not really be the expert they claim to be?
When you see “expert” with a blog, what do you need to know in order to believe they are really an expert?
Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on Lorelle on WordPress.
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.