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As I sit here wondering what makes someone an “expert” in his or her field, I am left wondering why I shouldn’t just slap that title onto my name. See I do not have a college degree, nor is Social Media my area of expertise. But I will tell you that I know how to use it, run it and whatever else “it” like there is no tomorrow.
Everyday, I am on Facebook and LinkedIn connecting with friends, business acquaintances and family. Everyday I am on one of the many Social Networking sites I am a part of weather it be to visit, socialize or contribute I am there. I Stumble, Digg, Tweet and use Technorati like it is going out of style. Am I an expert? Probably not in the eyes of many but in mine I am (okay maybe not an expert but I damn sure know what I am doing. And I am in no way putting down those that are social media experts and have a degree).
And it didn’t take a college degree to do that. I believe that anyone has the capacity to learn by doing and should be given a chance at those big titles. I say chance because if you can see that I put forth an effort to mold myself to what you need/want why should a degree matter?
I am among thousands of women who have chosen to stay at home and raise their children. Is it because that was my choice and that makes me a stupid person or one not worth the risk? I think not. It’s just running into those closed minded people that hinder my success.
When you can have a conversation with someone about social media and you look at them and they have this look of not knowing what you are talking about, then that makes me feel like an expert.
I have been passed up for a job promoting a company in the social aspect, not once but twice and both times I was told it was because I didn’t have a degree. I am interested in finding out what others think on this topic. Am I thinking along the wrong lines? Which would you choose, someone who has her feet in social media every single day or someone with a piece of paper, but doesn’t even know what Twitter is? (Great reference to Twitter on Brothers & Sisters a couple of weeks ago too).
I'm shocked that they didn't hire you because you don't have a degree since there is no such thing as a social marketing major. Were they expecting you to have one in journalism or marketing maybe? Heck, if they did the math, they'd find out that social media, let alone the Internet, didn't exist when I was in college.
The best thing you can do is gain experience using social media for a business or organization. However, you may have to do that for free or next to nothing as a volunteer for a non-profit or an intern. See what organizations near you could use a good blog, Ning site, Facebook page or Twitter account and offer your services for free. Having that experience will outshine not having a degree.
"Which would you choose, someone who has her feet in social media every single day or someone with a piece of paper, but doesn’t even know what Twitter is? (Great reference to Twitter on Brothers & Sisters a couple of weeks ago too)."
Coming from an HR background (early in my corporate career), I would have to say "neither". There are so many people in social media that have both a degree and relevant social media experience.
I know that it's probably not the answer you want to hear, but if something keeps coming up as an "issue", you might want to rethink the types of job you're applying for and/or consider getting a degree. (If money is an issue, ”Project Working Mom…and Dads, Too!” awards full-ride scholarships to working moms and dads so they can go back to college without going into debt.)
Life is a confidence game and success depends on how well you market yourself. I can tell that you doubt that you are an expert and that is coming across in your interviews. Walk around in the world knowing that you are an expert, and be reassured of that belief every time you hear someone ask a naive question about blogging. Once you believe you are an expert everyone else will too. I get paid to talk about internet stuff and I'm just a stay-at-home mom blogger like you. But when I get interviewed to be paid for my expertise, I walk in like I own the joint. Be the pied piper. Everyone is looking for a leader. Own it! No more timidity. Fly your freak flag and get down with your bad self. :-)