How do you know you’re a pro?

I have always, without fail, known that I am a jack of all trades. It’s kind of, oh, I don’t know, apparent? I mean, not to toot my own horn here or anything, but I can do a lot, I take interest in many, many things and I get myself into more than I can handle, sometimes. I’m a self-made pancake (meaning I stretch myself pretty thin).

For instance, as of this moment, I’m working full-time at a nonprofit, I am working on the communications side of a campaign, I’m also working on the marketing/PR/social media side of a small start-up and I just agreed to try to do some publicity research for someone who I’ll never see. That is because I am in Chicago and he is in LA.

How did I start talking about this? Oh, right. I was glancing over my own Twitter feed for once (since I run about 6 for other people) and I noticed that I was listed 31 times. “Wow,” I thought. “People have found their own ways of labeling me. Possibly more than I have.” Among the lists I found Latina Blogger, Sports fan, Interesting people, Chicago peeps, The Arts, Latinos in Social Media, Cubs/Bears fans, Noticias/Politicos, Music and some of those are repeated. Keep in mind that I typically only tweet about things that I find interesting or that I’m passionate about. You’ll find the occasional “This is nonsense” tweet like when I wrote out “Pinky up” when referring to how I was drinking my drink which caused a dear twitter friend of mine to say, “What the hell are you talking about?” People, oddly enough, actually pay attention to things that I say.

Mind you, my boyfriend, in his own way, checks to see who actually reads my tweets by saying something absolutely ridiculous like, “I like big butts and I cannot lie” which caused a small stir about my followers and made me smile. And honestly, I can see why people are listing me in these labels. I do understand it because well, I am every one of those labels. I live in Chicago, am an avid Cubs and Bears fan who writes blogs (obviously), likes to paint and draw, listens to too much music, pays attention to politics and am a writer. See? They were dead on. Incredible how some people learn to know you from just 140 characters or less. I suppose this follows along with what Louis Pagan wrote about earlier; talking about the people you meet through social media.

But more than that, I want to talk about the fact that people now-a-days are doing so much. So, how do you know when you have expertise in an area? For example, in the ever-changing world of social media and digital evolutions, can you really be a social media expert? I checked out this job posting once that said, “Social Media Expert: Must know more than just posting on Facebook status.” Well, what more is there? Do they mean understanding Facebook Fan Pages, using the advertisement opportunities of impressions and studying the fact that Fan Pages don’t rank as high as Facebook events on Google searches? For that matter, knowing that they don’t rank as high as Twitter? I mean, what does it take to know Facebook? Ten year olds are getting in on the action now. I mean, bullying has moved from the playground to MySpace and Facebook. In the ever-changing dynamic world of fads, the internet and marketing, how do you know you’re an expert?

OK, now what about music? I see some blogs on music that absolutely suck. I mean, they don’t know what they’re talking about and as they continue on you find out that “this is actually the first time I’m hearing this band” or something to that extent. When compared to people who have been listening to certain music or an array of music for decades, you realize that you should really listen to a band’s 10 albums before you start writing about how their present album cannot compare. In that area, I wouldn’t consider myself an expert either. I mean, just because I’ve been to a lot of shows, have a crazy infatuation for lyrics and melodies, love to dance salsa and cumbia and have written a bit about bands’ backgrounds doesn’t make me at all an expert. So what does that make me?

I was suggested to a promoter for my knowledge of bands and upon this promoter getting back to me, I told him what I knew about great, underrated, unknown musicians around the country. He thought that was great. Does that make me an expert in music? No. It makes me social. So my question here is, does making you social make you an expert? Does the fact that you know how to use Google and Bing (and understand their differences), are on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, like to go out and listen to music, watch a ton of sports or write a lot of nonsense make you an expert in any of the mentioned fields? No. So what does?

I’ve always had this problem because I’ve always wanted to master something. But I don’t know if it’s the lack of an attention span (which can’t be because I love to read and have the attention span of… well, whatever has a long attention span) to a certain thing or the fact that I get bored with a lot of things or the fact that I can’t stick to one thing but love learning how it affects everything else that is my problem. I like to find connections. I like to find influences, mutual friends and how the puzzle pieces of life fit together. I’m interested, which makes me interesting because I’m like a sponge (or so my boyfriend says). But I’m not a master of anything. In the world of media, which is where I found myself after four years of college and one year in a master’s program, you have to be confident, self-assured and somewhat cocky. Seriously. You have to act like you really know what you’re talking about, even though in reality, media itself is the giant monster that lives under your bed along with his cousin that lives in your closet. And not only can those monsters change color but they also change texture and level of emotion. That is the media. Not to mention that for the last, oh, I don’t know five years it’s been going through some grand revolution, evolution and genocide (I say that because of newspapers and paper publications being flushed down the drain).

I’m waiting for everything to calm down in the media world, although it doesn’t look like it’s going to. Not to mention that everyone and their momma, especially in the Latino realm, are going into marketing. Why? Because everyone finally caught wind of what is going on in this country and many others caught wind of the money makers. What do I mean? I mean the fact that Latinos are the largest growing segment in the United States, are a billion-dollar gold mine and have felt that the mainstream media has not spoken to them. Bam! This means that Latinos are using their skills to cater to companies that need a marketer in the community. “You speak Spanish and you’re brown! You’re hired!” Hey, it’s the way of the world and Latinos are self-starters and entrepreneurs. Rock on, us.

After all of that, I feel that the reasons why we’re jacks of all trades but not a master of one is because the rest of the world is turning us into that. We go where the money is and where we can benefit our community. At least, I do. So expert or not, I may just stick to the fact that I’m an expert on being Latina. And that is all.

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One thought on “How do you know you’re a pro?

  1. A) Ha. Pancake.
    B) Dont try and make it seem like me writing funny stuff on your Twitter or Facebook has a cause :p . And..
    C) An expert is defined by human limitations and our ever quest to expand it. Expertise is like a car. Its new when it came out but it then becomes old. No one is an expert on anything. I mean, Knowledge IS power but it allows no one to bear a crown of any kind. Because in that case we are all expert of something; failure, loss, pain, finance, success, happiness… There is a new “expert “ born every second.

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