Everything I know today that’s worth anything I learned on the internetz.
I Googled heroin addiction today. Not because I’m an addict or trying to become one or need to treat one. But I have a meeting with actual addiction experts about a prospective gig and I want to become an expert. Really fast. A few Googles later and pow! I know all about heroin addiction.
Or at least I think I do.
That’s how a lot of stuff seems to works today. Expertise is Googled. Experience is proclaimed on Facebook and Twitter. Gravitas is accumulated on Linkedin. Actual expertise and experience are devalued in favor of almost-instant knowing.
I see it in our branding and marketing work a lot, especially in the copy end of things. Read one or two articles on effective copy writing and bam! Clients and managers are telling me what to write. Or clients want me to do what their competition did, only different. But, because of the net, I know my optimal time for writing.
Seriously, I once had a copy meeting with a health care client, a global client, and the guy shoves a BMW brochure at me and says, “I want to look and sound like that!”
Fortunately I understood, from experience, what he really wanted (premium tone) and was prepared to deliver it. However, to save some money he elected to have a sales underling write the copy, which he lifted almost verbatim from the BMW brochure. As a sales underling, he was not a copy expert, but thought he was. He did not take the time to learn about grammar and plagiarism and other important stuff that goes into being at least a moderately effective writer.
He drove a BMW, so that explained a portion of his expertise, I guess.
Anyway, I’m never going to truly understand heroin addiction as the result of an internet search. To really know and understand anything, especially something as complex as addiction, one must spend time. Go where the addicts are. Talk to real experts. In person. More than one. Trust their knowledge.
Or just use this.
I also don’t trust many published authors and bloggers online. Lots of this content, especially in the branding and marketing world, is simply fundamental knowledge regurgitated from one site to feed another.
I guess my point is the knowledge a lot of people want from me today I find online. The knowledge I want for myself and to share for the benefit of my clients, I’ve gone out and earned or I go out and get.
The internetz are incredible for selling and buying porn, shoes, hats, outfits, cheap music (artists should get paid more for), hotels and flights (though I still think I get a better deal when I call an airline), sports, images, email, sharing tmi, grading my students, ingesting media and finding all kinds of writing.
Don’t get me wrong. I use the internetz every day. Can’t work without it or acquire and share the information and content I live on. But I insist, often to my detriment, that most real knowledge lies beyond the web.