“Are You a Social Media Expert?” A Rant on Excellence

“Are you a social media expert?”

That’s not me asking. It was the subject of a message in my inbox this morning.

I’m a lot of things in my life. A social media consultant. A writer. An actor. A cellist. A cook. We all have a long list of things at which we excel. But I’m happy to say there’s not a single thing I do at which I’d call myself an “expert.” Instead, I prefer to be a life-long student. I work constantly to seek out more knowledge. More training. To get better at what I do, every single day.

The definition of an expert is “someone who has a comprehensive or authoritative knowledge or skill in a particular area.” And “knowledge” is defined as “facts, information, or skills.” But there are few things we do that, to me, can be boxed into a nice, clean set of facts, information, or skills. Even more, there’s always someone who can add to what we know. There will always be a Maya Angelou, a Meryl Streep, a Yo-Yo Ma, and an Alice Waters to revere and learn from. And yet I can guarantee that each of these people whom many would call experts in their fields would have the same reaction to the word as I do. Because the one thing that pulls each of them toward excellence is a passion to learn more. To be more.

So in response to the question posed in this morning’s message, I’m proud to answer, “no.” I’m not an expert. At anything. And I hope I never will be. Because to me, considering myself an expert would be the end of learning. The end of striving. The end of becoming more than I am today.

CaroleAnne Hardy is an independent marketing consultant dedicated to helping financial advisors and technology companies create a consistent online voice, and leverage the power of online marketing and social media to drive new business.