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I just read this post, "Everyone Is An Expert" which is a response to this one from Ciera Design, "Growing Your Blog By Positioning Yourself As An Expert".
The Ciera Design post talks about how you can boost your blog by blogging what you are passionate about, and allowing yourself to be an "expert" in the field. Sophie's response on "Everyone Is An Expert" talked about how things are becoming over-saturated and how people calling themselves experts is dangerous.
Sophie continued to say how we're all responsible for the advice we publish and how we present ourselves to others. And on the other end, we're also responsible for how we absorb information. We need to be responsible consumers of information.
The commenters on Sophie's post agreed wholeheartedly, myself included. But now that I think about it, I hear the "remember the grey area!" side of my brain kicking in.
In this world, everyone is in different stages of knowledge. It's an obvious statement but it's important to remember.
For example, while I hardly know anything about illustration, I've had more "success" than the guy who has never published one of his drawings anywhere. I am more "experienced" than the gal who is scared to put pencil to paper.
Does this give me an avenue to give advice on illustration? Yes. Does it give me a right to call myself an expert? Hell no. I'm the first to admit I'm far from being an expert. But I'm further along than some.
And a lot of you are in the exact same position.
Same goes for everything else I've ever given advice on in this blog. Same goes for anything anyone else who has ever given advice on their own sites.
The main difference is how you position yourself.
So I agree with Sophie's article "Everyone Is An Expert" but I also want to clarify. I think a lot of people who are giving advice are doing so because they know they have more experience than the newbie, and want to help. It doesn't mean that everyone giving advice considers themselves an expert.
Does this mean we should stop giving advice if we're not an expert? No. As long as we share valuable and real knowledge, we're contributing to the greater good of the community.
We just have to remember that most people are in that fuzzy grey area and take it all with healthy skepticism. But that shouldn't stop us from learning and spreading knowledge when we can.