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Expertise and The View from Below

Questions?
Questions? (Photo credit: Valerie Everett)

(This post was created as an experiment using the WPMU Prefill Post Templates plugin).

I answered (well, tried to answer anyway) a question posed in a LinkedIn Social Media group today. The question was basically, “If starting from scratch, what would you need (equipment, software, etc) to grow a big Social Media presence online”?

In my initial response I asked for more details – like what kind of business, where they were at already, stuff like that. The original poster replied and said he was asking from a “completely non-technical” point of view. In other words, he was trying to look up and see the peak from way down in the valley.

That’s somewhat problematic for me. I have been on the cutting-edge of technology for 30+ years. How can I possibly look at the question from the standpoint of, “I know nothing about technology. Explain it all to me”.

This got me to thinking. I can still remember when, as a very young child, I would look at printed words on a page and see nothing more than squiggly hieroglyphics. We would play games and try to “pretend” we were writing real words, but of course had no idea what we were really doing. Occasionally, an older kid would look at what we wrote and say, “Hey, that looks just like an ‘F'”, but of course, it was still just a squiggle.

Then, after I learned what all those squiggles really meant in school, and practiced reading them, some sort of change happened in my brain. I switched from “seeing squiggles” to seeing “words and phrases”. Now, it is impossible for me to look at a printed word and not see what the word “is”. It’s automatic, and unless I break my skull and suffer a brain injury while cycling, it’s probably un-learnable.

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If you are reading this, the same exact thing happened to you. I dare you to try to look at a printed word and not see what the word is. I think it’s impossible (unless you’re drunk or on drugs).

The same thing happens when you become an expert at something – like using technology. You reach a point where the skills you’ve acquired are imprinted so deeply into your brain that it becomes impossible to see things in a non-technical way.

Back to the LinkedIn thread. My final comment was basically some very non-specific recommendations regarding equipment and software, and an apology that I could not be more specific. Hopefully he’ll get some comments from some folks who are still climbing the mountain.

Website of the Day

I’ve been following a couple categories on Quora for some time now. I really like it. Unlike other Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers it seems to attract people with more expertise. I was especially intrigued by this question and the replies it got.

Quotes of the Day

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Chuckles

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