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Some Things You Should Never Call Yourself

Irony: seems like people who call themselves experts, gurus, mavens, and inspirational speakers usually aren’t.

Have you ever been inspired by a self-proclaimed inspirational speaker? I haven’t. I’ve been inspired by authors, writers, researchers, teachers, founders, entrepreneurs, poets, even, lately, by Presidents. But they don’t call themselves inspirational speakers.

The greatest collection of inspirational speakers I know of is at Hundreds of people, many of them, maybe even most of them, inspirational, but not one carries that particular label around. That’s not what their name tags ever say.

Yesterday I read this on PR Workbench by Jack Monson:

Self-described Social Media Experts beware!

If you call yourself a social media expert, the rest of us will soon see that you’re saying nothing.

And then, in this second post following up, this:

Don’t misunderstand – there are many true social media experts out there. The best of them do not need to call themselves experts; their clients and peers are doing that for them.

That seems clear to me. Do you agree?

(Photo credit: Original cc by Memekiller on Flickr, modified)


  • I Don’t Have to Show You No Stinkin Labels says:

    […] Social media, Weblogs, Writing Labels, and labels. Two days ago I complained here about self-proclaimed “experts” and “gurus.” And today I realize that I do […]

  • Martin Lindeskog says:

    I call myself Martin Lindeskog! 🙂 I am a “trader in matter & spirit” and if you have to pinpoint me down and give me a label, how about a “social media enthusiast”?

    All the Best,

    Martin Lindeskog – American in spirit

    P.S. Brian O’Kane: What do you call mainstream media journalists nowadays? 😉

  • Bronson Harrington says:

    Brian O’Kane – that’s a funny story indeed. Ouch!

    “Silicon Snake Oil Peddler” is also too long for headlines Tim.

  • Brian O'Kane says:

    Tim, Charles Handy tells the story of how excited he was when he was first reported in the media as a “guru” but soon deflated when a journalist friend explained that the only reason editors called people gurus was because they couldn’t fit “charlatan” in a headline!

    • Tim Berry says:

      Brian, I’m laughing, that’s a great story! Thanks! Tim (can I use the phrase LOL in a blog comment, I wonder … )

  • andrewnim says:

    This has been talked about a few times on twitter, its possible that those who do not claim it are too busy being it for their clients. Its like being a parent, your kids will tell you if you where any good!

  • Some Things You Should Never Call Yourself says:

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