The more blogs, articles, and tweets I read, the more I am seeing people described as experts. Often this is self-proclaimed, but not always.
The Oxford Dictionary describes an expert as:
“a person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area”
Some of these people are legitimately experts. They know huge amounts about their field and can be very informative and interesting. Sadly, this is not always the case.
I am finding more and more that the people who make the most noise are being classed as experts (again, often by themselves). The travesty is that others listen, because as is the rule of the playground – He who shouts loudest will be listened to.
These people post vast quantities of drivel, quoting or misquoting real experts, making huge leaps of assumption and just generally writing for the sake of hearing their own voice and hoping others will hear it as well. Oh and yes, I am aware of the irony of that last one!
However, such is the way with any medium that allows freedom of expression. People can proclaim himself or herself experts on this subject or that and no one challenges them. They are not having to produce their nuggets of wisdom face to face, so can spend time writing as many buzz phrases as possible to capture as much search engine traffic as possible.
The irony of this post aside, there is a serious point here. If people are listening to the loudest voice and taking note, the quieter, potentially more knowledgeable voices go unheard. We are missing the real experts because they may not know how to play the system. They may not be good with social media or the online world. They may actually write articles for print or even books or not at all.
That being the case, you should always look deeper than the surface with some of these loud experts. Look into the message they are preaching and at least see if they have the facts right if nothing else.
Personally, I write because I enjoy it. If people find what I have written interesting, then great. If not, then I hope they didn’t waste to much time reading!
So, here is the thing. I am free to write things that you may read, in the same way as you are free to read what you like. But, in my case I am not doing it for personal gain. I am not claiming to be an expert in anything.
I am not saying we should limit the freedom that all of this technology offers us, I just feel people should be more willing to question these experts.
As my Father in Law often says to my wife:
“Just because you have the right to say something, it doesn’t make it right to say it.”