A popular and often self-proclaimed title commonly used to define individuals “in the know” is the word guru. The word congers up a variety of images ranging from an old man sitting on a mountain top with the answers to the meaning of life to a person who has spent a lifetime in their chosen field learning all there is to learn and who now shares their insight and wisdom with their peers and with those who have chosen to follow in their footsteps.
To understand my take on what the term guru means today, lets first start with the official definition of a guru:
Noun - (in Hinduism and Buddhism) A spiritual teacher, esp. one who imparts initiation (Oxford Dictionary).
Yet, today this term is being applied to people of all ages, who yesterday didn’t know what a meta tag was and today call themselves a SEO’s Guru or someone who signed-up for a Facebook account last month and calls themselves a Social Marketing Guru.
Over the past 3 years or so, the title of guru has been evoked so much that not only has it lost its luster, but when I people and many others hear that term now, we envision something completely opposite to the “spiritual teacher”. When occasionally when someone try to bestow that title on me, I deflect it and prefer something similar to experienced or subject matter expert.
During a recent TwitterChat, I was pressed to come up with my definition of what the term “guru” implied to me. I quickly thought of it as an acronym and tweet out the following:
G.U.R.U. = Great Uneducated Retarded Unit
This tweet garnered lots of attention and retweets. I pondered the tweet overnight and the next morning I came up with and tweeted out:
G.U.R.U. = Grossly Untrained Retarded Unaccountable
Of course in the on-line social world today, others responded with their own meanings. Here are three of the best:
G.U.R.U. = Greatly Underestimates Real Understanding (Louise DiCarlo @LovelyLu)
G.U.R.U. = Greatly Unverified Rhetoric (and) Unashamed (Dave Kragenbrink @dkragen)
G.U.R.U. = Grossly Under-qualified Really Unimaginative (Matthew Shepherd G+)
Which one do you like best? Do you have your own? Please share!