So many people claim to be experts in their field, it’s almost the case that if that’s the job/role you do then you are an expert. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more noticeable to me that being employed to do a role doesn’t necessarily make you an expert.

This past week, I attended a business event that consisted of a lot of stalls and ‘experts’ all promoting themselves and their business. Among the industries represented were I.T specialists and cybercrime prevention organisations. Most of my work is done online so I was interested in talking to the ‘experts’ to see what they had to offer. The first I.T people I talked to were very knowledgeable and helpful. They gave me loads of advice and suggestions as to what software I should invest in. I’m a bit of a cynic, I always think they are getting paid to recommend products so I take recommendations with a pinch of salt.

Half an hour later, I came across another I.T organisation. Again, they chatted to me about the dangers I could face online, what software I should be using and which ones to avoid. BUT……Hold the phone! They were telling me to avoid the software that the first ‘experts’ had been raving about. I told ‘expert’ no. 2 about the conflicting info and he said ‘they obviously don’t know what they are talking about’. Well, I have two things to say about that. 1. I believe in professional courtesy and don’t like that kind of negative competition. 2. I don’t understand how two companies in exactly the same field can have such wide-ranging views on the same software. The stuff they were disagreeing about were facts. Not wishy-washy grey areas but factual I.T info.

I left the event more confused about I.T issues than I was when I went in. So much contradictory information! I’m going to stick to the FREE antivirus software and email provider that was recommended to me by my very knowledgeable I.T manager friend and save myself the effort of trying to decipher who was right!

I think we need to be wary of people who call themselves an ‘expert’. For example, I call myself an expert in social media because I’ve been immersed in it for four years, I’ve learned my trade by making mistakes along the way. I dislike anyone saying they are an ‘expert’ after completing a four-week course online. They would have no working knowledge of having to leapfrog over a changed algorithm or of figuring out which social media platforms play nice with the others. This all comes from experience and unfortunately, I have recently encountered a lot of ‘experts’ who aren’t quite there yet. Overuse of ‘expert’ is devaluing the word, so much so that I am starting to not trust it.