What started out as a post on the Masculine Geek newsletter turned into a post here. I’ve fleshed it out a little bit more here, but you should go and sign up for the newsletter there if you haven’t. You’re missing out if you don’t.
Okay guys, this is a little “tongue-in-cheek,” but then again, not really.
I’m sitting here listening to a guy talk about the coronavirus while I’m typing this, wondering what the deal is with the coronavirus. Is it a big deal? Is it a “natural phenomenon?” Is it a biological weapon that got loose? I wonder if we will ever know, and does it really even matter?
Point is, the guy I’m listening to right now, I know nothing about this guy. He’s a random asshole on the internet. He mentioned his credentials, but are they real? Do they even matter? (In this particular circumstance, I would say that his credentials DO in fact matter.) Credentials can be manufactured, see “diploma mill.” Credentials can be made up with nothing but an imagination and a half decent printer, and that’s if you want to print something out and hang it on the wall. Otherwise you can keep it as a handy PDF to distribute as needed.
Most people, and I’ve been guilty of this myself, are lazy. They don’t take the time to do the research to find out if a set of credentials are in fact, legitimate.
We live in a day and age of information overload. It’s not that there isn’t enough information available, it’s that we have too much information available. We are literally swamped with information and not all of it is accurate or even true. The internet is awesome make no doubt, but it is a double-edged sword as well. While it’s easier now than ever to “reach out and touch someone,” you need to keep in mind who some of those “someone’s” are.
I have a general rule of thumb when it comes to people on the internet, and that is, they are all “random asshole’s on the internet.” Until I meet them, preferably face-to-face, but at a bare minimum, a video call/conference, whatever you want to call it, is what is in order for me to move them from “random asshole” to something above and beyond “random asshole.”
I’ve met Vince, TJ, and Aaron face to face as well as several other guys. They aren’t random assholes. They may still be assholes, but they aren’t random anymore. They are guys who walk the walk and talk the talk. When they say something I tend to listen to them and give what they say some weight. That’s because I’ve actually gotten to know them. You should strive to do the same thing.
Even with me.
Right now, if I haven’t met you in some form, I’m just a random asshole on the internet running my mouth. I could be completely full of shit and have no idea what I’m talking about, and it would be to your detriment to take what I say and run with it.
Keep this in mind when you are dealing with anyone, especially on the internet. You don’t know them from a hole in the ground and whatever they are saying and/or selling could be complete garbage that will end up only hurting you. It’s okay to be skeptical, in fact, I consider a healthy dose of skepticism to be normal and healthy. Too many people today are far too willing and eager to jump on somebody’s bandwagon simply because that person either looked good, or they liked what they had to say.
Another thing to keep in mind:
You see it all the time. Guys who are constantly posting on social media, whether it’s because that’s how they earn their living, or because they are attention seeking whores, or simply because they are bored and have nothing better to do with their lives. You see them spouting off all the time. That doesn’t mean that they know what they are talking about. However, you get comfortable seeing them running their mouths. You get used to them, they become a part of the background of your daily routine. And then they say or do something that grabs your attention. Maybe you liked what they said or did. Next thing you know, you’re buying their program and repeating their mantras and you became one of their biggest fans.
That’s all well and good if what you are getting from them is good for you and you are getting value out of it. But then again, maybe it’s not good for you, but you are too close to it to see it. You can’t see the forest because of all the trees. You’ve become too invested.
While familiarity can breed contempt, it can also breed comfort. Many affairs start out in the workplace simply because of proximity, common goals, and familiarity. There’s a certain level of comfort there and arousal can be generated from it.
The guy spouting off all the time on the internet can be creating that sense of comfort and familiarity as well. Maybe it’s intentional, maybe not, but you need to be aware of it and keep it in mind when dealing with them.
It’s easy to want to take short-cuts in our thinking. We do it all the time. In fact, if we had to critically think about every single thing that we want to do, we would either end up completely exhausted from just getting out of bed and using the bathroom in the morning, or we would probably end up going crazy. It’s easy to listen to someone that actually knows what they are talking about because they have proven it time and time again. Nothing wrong with that.
It’s also easy to take that short-cut and hand it off to some random person on the internet simply because they are saying what we want to hear or because they dress a certain way, or because we consider them attractive. Or because they remind us of someone that we like and trust. These are the times that we really need to slow down and use our critical thinking skills and say to ourselves, “Hey, this is just some random asshole on the internet. Maybe I need to look into this some more before going all in.”
Better that way than learning the lesson the hard way.