I have a bit distracted for the past few days, thinking about a few projects I am working on, as well as trying to create some original content for a client. I have been able to spend a little time reading, though not as much time as I would like. One thing I have noticed recently is that some of the practitioners get a little defensive every once in a while, as well as….well picky when it comes to individual words, and definitions.

One of the people who I had a less that enjoyable experience with recently chose to call me a “Social CRM Troll” – this is the same person who said on Twitter: “When I say it is semantics, I mean that I really think you are wrong, but I do not want to waste my time engaging”. At the heart of the issue, really, is that in addition to the vendors, consultants and analysts are working to build their (our) credibility. I would hope that we can get it done together, not at the expense of one another.

What is in a Word?

Is there a difference between “credibility” and “trust” how about “ownership” versus “control”? What about “influence” and “empowerment” (that is a trick question, lots of good posts on that this past week). Feel free to pick on any one of these, some have their own threads going elsewhere. The set I am picking on today is ‘Knowledge‘ versus ‘Experience‘.

Why? Because too many people are confusing one with the other, and some are actually falling short on both (ie, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and you do not have experience). This post is not directed, in its entirety, at any one individual, so please do not be so ‘vain, to think this blog is about you’. If you see yourself in here, well, hey take something away, from it (I am).

Much of what we are all talking about and doing with respect to Social Media, Social Marketing, Social Selling, Social Business and Social CRM is so new that very very few people can possibly be talking or writing from a position of significant experience. Some people are talking/writing eloquently, in the form of case studies, so we can all learn from the few experiences that do exist.

Taking information provided by others, adding some of their own interpretations and posting a blog, an article, giving a talk or sharing a video. So, here is my question: “Does writing about someone else’s experience provide knowledge”? I am not a philosopher, nor a sociologist, but I wonder about that – call me an intellectual, academic, geek, I can take the hit. I think is important, and valuable, just wondering.

It is the Combination that is Powerful

Which is more dangerous, experience without knowledge, or knowledge without experience? One direction is easy, the book smart, well read individual who is a little green. The other side is a little harder to imagine, but one that I think might actually cause bigger issues. You might think of it as ’street smarts’ or success veiled by serendipity, misinterpreted as knowledge.

I can tell you, from a position of both knowledge and experience, that time spent listening (not waiting to talk) is time well spent. Do not get me wrong, I do get a bit passionate as was the case with a blogger earlier this week. My issue, was his lack of humility. I can admit when I am wrong, (I could be sarcastic and say it does not happen often, but I won’t go there) and my approach is direct, but does not typically start with “Very few people, aside from me” or “you cannot argue with”.

I rely on the combination knowledge and experience to get me through the day. Limitations of one, knowledge, can more easily be made up for by reading, research and learning. Experience is tougher, but you can either bring people in, those whom you trust, to make up a gap, or talk to as many people as you can to see if you can replace a slight lack of experience with more knowledge. I admire the people that work hard, publicly to extend their knowledge (publicly even), as the public sharing can accelerate the process.

I am not saying that will always work, as a matter of fact, it might be downright dangerous in some situations. But, we are all on the journey together. We need bridge builders, not egos and more people willing to consider the possibility that they are not always right. I believe this to be especially true with bloggers. If you really are a blogger, then engagement is more important than your schedule to put up another post. Sorry, I will stand firm on that one.

Too awkward a post for a Wednesday?