Experts & Gurus No, Professionals Yes

When I first opened Shankmann’s rant entitled “Why I Will Never, Ever Hire a ‘Social Media Expert,’” I vowed not to dignify it with a response or a link…. D’oh!

I’m no social media expert, but as an SEO professional I know what is like to work ethnically and methodically in an industry with a sometimes-shoddy reputation. Like social media, SEO has its fly-by-nights and pretenders, but it also has experienced professionals with real results to boast. Instead of tearing down an industry, we need to educate businesses on what constitutes expertise in an industry.

Hint: It’s not calling yourself an “expert.” On that point I agree with Shankmann. You would never expect to make a friend by walking up and saying that you’re super cool, because friendship is in the actions you take. You have to prove you’re super cool and friend-worthy. It’s the same with social media, SEO and every other profession. Prove your expertise, don’t claim it on a business card. Ick.

So what constitutes proof? Results. Period. We’re talking results that matter, here. Not the creation of a Twitter account or acquisition of x number of Facebook friends. Those are nifty, but they don’t pay the bills. Show me results in engagement, brand recognition, traffic generation, sales, referrals — whatever the true goal of the campaign was, the goal that contributes to the business’ bottom line.

The true value a social media professional brings to the table is found in his creativity, his network, and his ability to plan and execute all the details of the campaign to contribute actual business value in the business’ marketing mix.

Which brings me to the second point on which I agree with Shankmann: Social media is not a stand-alone, bolt-on project to mark of your list. Like all marketing channels it has to be integrated with the overall marketing strategies and plans to be successful.

Social media is like every other marketing discipline — anyone can do it, but few do it really well. I can send out emails to a list, but that does not make me an email marketing expert. I can dump keywords into AdWords, but that doesn’t make me a paid search expert. I can whip up a nifty banner in Photoshop but that doesn’t make me a graphic designer. Seriously, people, only proven results would convince you of expertise in any of these areas, not a business card merrily proclaiming “Expert.” If you don’t apply that same common sense to working with social media consultants… Well, that’s just a bad business decision.

Do I cringe when I see the title of guru or expert? You bet. Do I wish “experts” would stop overpromising and underdelivering because it tarnishes our industries and makes it harder for true professionals to do what they do best? Absolutely. But if businesses continue to hire on hype rather than meaningful expertise and demonstrated results, who’s really to blame?

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Merging CSV files Using the Command Line

When slogging brute-force through masses of keyword research, I tend to download everything from Google Keyword Tool to .csv files for easier filtering in Microsoft Excel 2010. After much gnashing of teeth and trying ineffective XLS scripts, I stumbled across a beautifully simple way to merge .csv files using the Windows Command Line (AKA the C Prompt).

Let’s say I have downloaded 3 .csv files (file-A.csv, file-B.csv and file-C.csv) and I want to quickly merge them.

Simply open the command line by typing the word “run” into your Windows Start Menu, or execute the cmd.exe file at C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe. A black window will open like a portal into 1985.

Next, direct the command line to the directory that contains the individual .csv files you want to merge. The command line begins in the C:\Windows\System32\ directory. I keep an empty folder at C:\merge for this purpose so I don’t accidentally merge other files. So all I need to do is type “CD merge” to ask the command line to kindly switch to my C:\merge directory.

Next, the copying. Type “Copy *.csv merged.csv” to copy all .csv files in that directory into a single file called “merged.csv.” You can call the file anything you want: Actually, I usually call it “1.csv” instead of “merged.csv” because it’s fast.

Here’s what the whole process looks like:

Windows Command Line

And you’re done. Open C:\merge\merged.csv (or whatever you called it), dedupe it and you’re ready to filter out the wheat from the chaff in Microsoft Excel 2010. Enjoy!

A hot tip from my cool friend Don Schantz:

Another handy tip to go with this is that if your files are in another folder with a long path name, you can drag the folder name from your Explorer address bar directly into the command prompt window after typing CD , and it will fill it in with the necessary quotes. Yes, drag and drop into a DOS command line.

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Musings on The Danger of Algorithms

I have a love/less-love relationship with algorithms. Yes, you choose what content to consume, but algorithms choose the pool you get to choose from. Mostly I love algorithms — professionally they’re the reason I’m employed, and personally they help me weed through the overwhelming amount of information that floods my life. But I do often wonder and occasionally worry about what I’m NOT seeing that I should.

Interesting TED video on algorithms and the control they wield via The Next Web: The Danger of Algorithms. The speaker is Eli Pariser,’s Board President, a co-founder of, and the author of The Filter Bubble.

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.