Monday, 23 January 2012


What makes an expert? Is it depth of subject knowledge? Is it the length of a career? Or is it that someone has told you that this person is an expert?

It's more of the last one than a lot of people would like to admit. Experts are experts because someone has told you that they are an expert; and it's usually people like me that do the telling.

Media Expert John Rockley is the one that told you that he's interviewed Gardening, Interior Design, Skin Care, Legal experts, all of them taking calls answering questions and doing the things that experts do. I have to admit that some of them were not experts. They were people who worked in their chosen fields...

That's it...

They had no special qualification to be called an 'expert' they just happened to be people that either I or the production team had spoken to at some point and thought "oh, they'd be good if we ever need a..."

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes an expert in the eyes of the media.

So, how do you go about making yourself into an expert? You may be a social media flitterer RT'ing things from other self proclaimed experts (or people who have a demonstrable knowledge of their subject) building a following on t'interweb and possibly even doing some things that have been on youtube. However, in the eyes of the average person you're no more of an expert than the other serried ranks of tweeters. The conventional media legitimises the claims of 'expert' once you've had the Aston (that name thing on the screen) that says "Social Media Expert" you're just someone who can do their job well.

You become an expert by engaging with the media and you do that by... well, there'd be no point me charging for my services if I gave it all away here... after all, I am an expert.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Who Takes Responsibility?

Recently there has been a focus on the idea of 'Joint Enterprise' particularly when associated with criminal convictions for violent crimes but it's a concept every shrewd business person needs to be aware of.

So what do I mean by 'Joint Enterprise'? It's more than shared responsibility, and it's far more than a post disaster blame storm; it's the concept that product development, public relations, marketing, advertising, sales strategy and everything in between is everyone's responsibility success or failure. 

Take my time with the BBC for example, I saw a number of programme strands that were flawed in thier original concept and under performed in their on air state. I may have had no responsibility for the idea or even be involved in the production, but like the gang member who doesn't call the police I stood by and watched it happen (OK sometimes it was for personal gain, for 'shits and giggles' and probably so that I could enjoy the warm glow of schadenfreude but I can admit that now). 

Is there too much fear in sticking your nose in? Is there a feeling that once a project gets to a certain point then questioning is seen as unhelpful? Do we just want an easy life?

There's been a lot written about the treatment of whistleblowers in the NHS and how staff are afraid to step up and question practice or policy; an enlightened organisation should welcome honest in put from any member of staff. If that person has an area of concern, expertise, or a perspective that's not being taken into account as a stakeholder then it's part of the collective responsibility to listen and it's part of the concept of 'Joint Enterprise' for that person to step up. It's their organisation too...

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