Everyone is an Expert.

It used to be that you had to go through years of schooling, and then just as many years of experience, to be considered an expert on a subject. Or, you had to find a professional, make an appointment, take the time to go in to meet them, and have a discussion to obtain their expert opinion and advice on the matter at hand. Today, you simply have to grab your laptop, tablet or smart phone and jump online to find a slew of self-professed experts ready and willing to provide their opinion (and usually for free!). While the rise of social media has provided us with an endless ability to share and discuss with millions of strangers online, it has also opened the flood gates to a wave of individuals who claim expertise where none exists.

Everyone has an opinion, and they want it to be yours too.

From health to wealth, fitness and relationships, legal and moral, there is a plethora of advice available on the World Wide Web telling exactly what you need to be doing to be living your best life. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and are just a few of the platforms available for any Joe (or Jane) Blow to disperse their recommendations.

And that’s not to say that only those doling out the advice are to blame. Sites such as Reddit’s Amitheasshole page allows people to ASK the friendly strangers of the internet to pass judgment on them! The issues that come up are often more entertaining than anything, but every now and again a question will be put forward that clearly required the help or guidance of an actual professional. Antivaxer groups exist to warn of the supposed dangers of vaccinations, a cite information that is without fact or support. Becoming rich is now easier than ever, with someone who claims to have done it, willing to part with their knowledge for a fee. Or, people who know what investment strategy you should be using, even though they know nothing of your goals. And don’t even get me started on fitness. 

How do we filter the good from the bad and should we?

Sometimes people are simply out there looking for an opinion that confirms their own, other times they are in genuine search of help. People have a personal responsibility to seek out information from an appropriate source, but there should also be a responsibility to refrain from preaching a sermon they might not actually know. So what do you think, is this increased accessibility to advice and opinions beneficial, or is social media giving a platform to those who should maybe stay on the sideline?

Facebook: Everyone is an Expert. You can probably be one too! https://bit.ly/2WgtQoS

Twitter: Everyone is an Expert. #Inmyopinion #Imnotanexpertbut https://bit.ly/2WgtQoS

4 thoughts on “Everyone is an Expert.

  1. Hi Rachel,
    I can’t pass this one by without weighing in with my two cents…
    When a child is learning to express their voice (their choice, their opinion), they often spurt out their comment followed by “Right, Mom?” as they wait for that look or nod of approval. As we mature and become more confident in our decisions, we no longer need that reassurance. In regards to social media, perhaps we are still in our ‘infant stage’ and still learning how to express our voices?

  2. You nailed it! Why is it that perfect strangers feel so comfortable in soliciting their advice on how to parent, should we vaccine, how you should spend your time/money the list goes on. In the last few years I have seen an increase in keyboard warriors not surprisingly the use of Social Media has also increased. I have also noticed we are more apt to ask for “friends” recommendations when years ago it was reserved for trusted neighbor, family and maybe a close friend. Coincidence?

  3. Thank you for this wonderful article Rachel!

    I think that to the extent people seek professional, accurate and credible material, the internet is a very positive thing. But social media has created a problematic situation where groups of people conventionally unheard of (or considered extremist) are allowed to express and persuade much more effectively. The rise of anti-vaxxer groups as you pointed out has mostly arisen from the use of social media. Maybe the best way to approach this is to educate people from a young age to be wary of online opinions that lack credibility, because I don’t see us suddenly switching away from social media.

  4. Hi Rachel,
    The subject of your blog is right on point. I like the way that you articulated your points. I feel like you summed up what I have been thinking for quite some time. The question going forward is how does one seek out the true expert with really something that is accurate to say. The other problem with these so called experts is the discussions and comments that get created when their opinions are shared. Sometimes the inaccuracies of the comments can be damaging to the subject or business being discussed.

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