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How much of an expert is that expert?

I was looking for work in the writing field a little while ago and I came across a listing that made me pause. Not because I wanted to take the work, but because it was just… I’m not sure how I feel about the listing, or the realization that it is probably more common than I had suspected before.

When we hear about an expert in a field we think the person has a lot of experience with a subject. This is backed up when we see that the person is someone who has published in that field or has a website or blog or social media sites that focus on the topic.

But… what then are we to think when things like this happen?

“I am looking for someone to help with expert/authority development of myself as a thought leader in the eCommerce Strategy and Digital Marketing space.”

That is the first sentence of a job listing posted to a website for freelancers to find work. Could I do the work the person wants done? Yes, but… how ethical would that be? The job listing asks for someone to give assistance with:

  • Article Topic Ideation
  • LinkedIn Article Writing
  • Blog and Article Writing
  • Submission of Written Articles to Prominent Business Publications
  • LinkedIn Network Development
  • LinkedIn Recommendation Management
  • Blog Creation and Management 

So, this person is looking for someone who is able to create a high quality blog for them, come up with ideas and concepts for articles that they then write and submit to prominent business publications for the person, and to make the person look good on LinkedIn and develop for them a network on LinkedIn to establish them as an expert in the field of eCommerce strategy and digital marketing… whether or not they have the actual skills and experience that they are asking for someone else to set up for them.

It just seems a little wrong to me. The person who created the requested appearance of expertise is the real expert, so that inspires the question of just how much of an expert the person who hired them is? The person might be a highly skilled and respected person in the field, I do not know, but if they are – why do they not already have this stuff in place? Maybe they did not have the time while gaining their expertise, or maybe they never thought of such things until recently.

It still leaves me wondering how we could know if the person is, in fact, an expert or if they just decided they would like to be seen as something they are not. I would love for anyone that reads this to share their thoughts. In a time when it is easy to hire someone for pennies to create an illusion of expertise, how do we know that the person we have gone to is truly an expert on the subject we are seeking their expertise on? What options are there when books, blogs, even social media can be ghost written?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments, I would love to hear them.

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