The Internet Marketing Quest Revealed: How to Be a Social Media Guru Part II

by John Zajaros on June 13, 2009

The debate continues into what constitutes a social media expert or “guru?” Internet marketing, in all of its manifestations is incomplete without including a social media strategy. As Internet marketing and in fact all online business changes, social media marketing is one of the fastest growing facets of entrepreneurship. What defines an expert is one of the central debates in all of Internet marketing. This article is Part III in a series on social media and Part II into this specific debate.

What qualifies an individual as an expert, mentor, coach or, my least favorite of all terms, a guru? It’s a funny thing, almost dialectic, of sorts. A thesis, an antithesis, leading to a synthesis. On one end we have the newbie expert (there’s an oxymoron!), the poser, the wanna-be faking it until they make it. This individual is clearly the thesis, positioned at one end of a spectrum with no clear rules or boundaries. On the other end, we have the indignant, self-righteous, perhaps justifiably so, true expert, the expert who feels he or she has earned his stripes on the field of battle, so to speak, and cannot believe all these wanna-bes and posers are running around here and there attempting to dispense knowledge only HE (notice the caps) should be privileged enough to share! On the middle ground, the ground no one wants to inhabit for too long, neither newbie nor guru, a no-man’s land with absolutely no power or credibility, no chance of making it and no chance or being heard, stand the vast multitudes. A transitionary state from newbie to guru no one wants to be stuck in for too long.

There is a conundrum here, a puzzle to beat all puzzles. How do you get from thesis to antithesis, how do we reconcile the two and come to a synthesis? I know this analogy is a stretch…but work with me here. It is kind of like the kid with a lot of moxie but no experience, you just know he has it, that intangible it everyone wishes they have just a small amount of. You know he’ll make a heck of a salesman but he has no experience, plenty of street smarts but no actual nuts and bolts experience to back up his application into the bigs. Do you hire him? If so, what sort of accounts does he work on until ready for the mythic 7Figureland client? Do you throw him right in and have him consulting with your prize accounts or do you place him under someone else’s wing and allow him to shut up and listen, learn, and perhaps role play a bit until he is ready to get his feet wet.

On the other hand you have a nice young couple, just had their first child, he has a great job, perhaps just out of the Army as a first lieutenant, but they have no credit and little savings. Are you going to lend them money? No actual credit experience, just a lot of promise! In both instances, we have people who, given the right opportunity and the right set of circumstances, may prove themselves worthy of the trust they need, and perhaps deserve, to rise to the appropriate station or level…or just get that new house!

So, what does this have to do with social media, LinkedIn, dialectics, and conundrums?

Glad you asked! It’s really very simple.

How do you get from A to Z without going through the rest of the alphabet?

How do you get experience without someone allowing you to play at actually being a salesman?

How did the ball player get to the minors, much less the big league, The Show?

How do you buy your dream house if you can’t get a signature loan or your first credit card?

How many baseball players never, not ever, make it out of the minors?

How many college football players never go pro but end up coaches, or life insurance salesmen from Lima, Ohio? Sorry Lima life insurance salesmen!

How many coaches are there at all levels?

What makes one coach NCAA Division One stuff and another a DIII coach barely winning a game? Ha! If you can answer that in ten words or less we can all retire!

The fact is, there is no simple answer and there is no right or wrong path, no clear-cut, proven highway to becoming a social media expert either, because, in my humble opinion, there are no experts!

Get that?

There are no real experts!

This is all too new, it’s kind of like spending 4 years at a prestigious university to learn how to write in C or how to use reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in DNA processing, and you find out that as soon as you have mastered the technique, the language, it has all changed, evolved into something altogether new and different. Thankfully for a lot of DNA scientists, they haven’t experienced that quite yet, at least not to any level they can’t keep up with and adjust to, and they are a pretty bright group, so they will adapt. C on the other hand? Well…

And that brings me to my final point. Bet you thought I would never get here! Many of the wanna-bes learning to spread their wings on Twitter and facebook and the other social media platforms, at least the ones who stick, the people who aren’t part in the 60% who quit, because 60% of the people quit everything, they are learning, they are playing little league on their way to the bigs…maybe. And, just like any newbie knows, the best way to learn something is to teach it! In teaching others, a social media experiment of sorts is taking place. How great is it that these people are practicing on each other? The strong are rising to the top and the weak, quitting (the 60% again). All the time, the strong are sharpening their skills, not on some 7 figure client but on each other, to the benefit of whom?

Yup! All of us!

We all benefit from this laboratory, this social media and social media marketing (an oxymoron) experiment.

Are there casualties? Some, but not many! You see, people are a lot smarter than most other people give them credit for being, at least when it comes to sniffing out a phony, a false prophet, a wanna-be-but-not-quite-guru. And yes, there are a lot of phonies…but there are also a lot of very bright people cutting their teeth and spreading their wings, you gotta love these little clich├ęs, while all the time doing it in a social media marketing laboratory, and not on some 5 star, 7 figure client. They learn, they grow, they prosper, they quit, they evolve, they adapt, and they learn some more! Sounds like it’s right up my alley, sounds like evolution and natural selection at work in a social medium…

Sounds like life!

Professor John P. J. Zajaros, Sr.
Skype: johnzajaros1

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Myatt June 13, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Hi John: I enjoyed your thoughts on this subject, most of which I concur with. However, even though social media is a new discipline there are indeed a few true experts among the masses of posers. You might be interested in reading:

Best wishes John


JohnZajaros June 16, 2009 at 10:47 am


Thanks so much for the comment and for the reference! Great article, by the way!
Echoes some of the same thoughts I have expressed here and in videos at:

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I would say the only area I take issue at all, and it is a qualification more than an issue,
is that I know some "experts" who really don't have a clue, and a few novices, not
yet published, teaching, lecturing who are quite versed in social media. As noted
in the article, perhaps they simply haven't had the opportunity or the inclination to
monetize their knowledge yet.

As an emerging area of specialization, and certainly there is enough of a pie for everyone to have a share, there is no doubt room for varying degrees of "expertise." Of course, with the caveat – "Buyer Beware!" – when it comes to the poser and the outright phony!

Thanks again Mike! It is a pleasure having you contribute your insight here! Stop any time!



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