Guru or expert; what’s the difference?

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 07.40.38In a meeting yesterday someone was presented as a social media guru and it got me thinking.

Social media versus economics

Why are people who specialise in social media called gurus while those who specialise in geology are experts? You get management gurus and marketing gurus. But people who know about physics, economics and financial management are experts. What’s the difference?

Guru: A leader or chief (often derogatory) of a religious or spiritual cult. [Collins English Dictionary]

Expert: A person who has extensive skill or knowledge in a particular field. [Collins English Dictionary]

So what does that say about social media versus economics, marketing versus physics?

The impact of the words you use in your copywriting

The different definitions are laden with meaning. Using the term guru in association with social media implies the activity is a black art; saying an economist is an expert means the subject is a science.

What should we take away from this?

Marketing materials

The words you use in your marketing materials have impact. The meanings are implicit as well as explicit.   They are nuanced.

The tone and style of your copywriting also has an effect. For example a passive voice (where things happen to you) has less impact than an active voice (where you cause the effects).

The power of language

The language you use is incredibly powerful. Without even thinking about it you’re communicating a lot about yourself, your culture and approach by what you say and the way you say it; the words you use.

If you would like help in making sure the language you use says what you want it to, give me a call.

[Image courtesy of Shutterstock.]


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By Cathy Connan

I'm an integrative psychotherapist. I help people invest in their wellbeing and live the life they want.