Internet Experts

I’m a knowledge junkie. I love being a student and don’t ever want to stop learning. I love acquiring knowledge from other people and if possible experience it. That was the most fascinating part of working as a consultant and working with process improvement. It was my job to learn how something worked and then see what technology made it better. It was geared towards document imaging and workflow and it made me learn a lot about how some aspects of the insurance, health care and automotive industries operate.

My Dad worked for Pepsi down in Colombia. He was the general auditor and I got to spend a lot of time in the bottling plant. I have taken tours and even did a couple of research paper on how the sugar got from the field to the bottle. I learned quite a bit about how that company operated and was even allowed to do data entry when I was very young… it was a green screen computer, but darn it I was working with a computer!

I know a lot of “experts” on their jobs, but a trend that I dislike about the internet is that now people think that reading wikipedia or something online makes them an “expert.”

Sure I do the same thing sometimes when I find a subject I know little about, but I always think of it as my opinion on a subject and not a fact. Not enough to call someone else a liar or wrong because the internet told me so.

The word expert is defined in webster as

– having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.

Most of the time when I am going to talk about a quote, I put it first… this time I want to put it right in the middle… mostly because Tom Hopkins gives a couple of great quotes on this subject.

“An expert is someone who knows a lot about the past.”
– Tom Hopkins

“I never take advice from anyone more messed up than I am”
– Tom Hopkins

A while back someone said something about one of their close friends and just that single instance made me think twice about the advice I took from others. The person said, “I like that person a lot, but I would never take their advice.” I looked back and I had seen myself and some of my friends taking advice from people that were nowhere we wanted to be. They were not great moral compasses in our young lives or anything, but still they were “experts” in life telling us how to live and they did not have anything we really wanted in life.

The internet makes a lot of people experts, and in politics, religion and other subjects that were never brought up at the dinner table now everyone is an “expert.” We all talk about the economy, law and finances like we actually know something about. I think that is great, we should be interested and willing to learn. Why I don’t get is calling someone else wrong when you have nothing to back you up in the form of experience.

I wish I was more into drama, but high school was so long ago and I just don’t like to argue if I am not going to learn anything from it. Sometimes though I want to just tell people, you are so wrong is not even funny… but heck, they might be an internet expert.

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