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Getting Advice Online And Everyone Is An Expert

Apr 22, 2008
In today's day and age, technology rules the roost. Gone are the days of heading to the barbershop or to the corner store for a bit of business or personal advice. With the Internet, a myriad of advice is available. The key to it all is sifting through the useless advice to get to the really helpful stuff.

The first thing to realize is that everybody is an expert online. With so much information available in a variety of sources, most people consider themselves to be rather well read if they've had the chance to peruse a website or an online encyclopaedia. The information available online is often not tested or scrutinized by the proper authorities, however, leading to a concept known in some circles as truth by popularity.

Truth by popularity refers to the idea that something's esteem influences its factuality. This is often the main policy behind many online reference sources. Many people seek advice or information from online references, but there is nothing keeping the information in these open-source publications accurate.

To combat the experts online, do independent research and use trustworthy sources. Anyone can give or get advice online, but the reliability of that advice depends on the source. Instead of simply throwing caution to the wind and trusting a public-run reference, use real references from people who know what they're talking about.

Part of what makes the online community a great place to seek advice is that everybody has a story to tell. This can lead to some lovely experiences with people, but it can also lead to biases and generalizations. Sifting through the personal stories to find something of use can be a challenge, especially when most people are convinced that their stereotypes are correct.

Along with the stories come the prejudices and biases within. Some individuals will temper their "advice" with large amounts of intolerance or generality. It is not unusual to experience bigotry, homophobia, and other damaging prejudices online when seeking advice or information.

Sorting through the prejudices of individuals when seeking advice online can be scary. It takes a great deal of patience to get to the heart of the matter. Some advice and information should be immediately discarded, especially if it contains racist or prejudicial annotations.

Avoiding the awful advice is probably the biggest part of getting advice online. But finding the good advice needs to follow. Seeking the experts online can be tricky. Like any good book, though, the experts should have references and qualifications. Seeking medical advice from "badmothertrucker69" might not be fitting, but heading to an online health magazine should provide more complete advice.

Finding the experts isn't too hard, but finding veracity in their accounts can be tricky. For this reason, it's probably a good idea to seek out two or more sources. If the sources concur on the counsel, the advice is probably sound. If there are varying accounts, however, it may be time to raise some eyebrows.

Advice experts tend to write for highly regarded publications online. A simple search engine can help shed some light on the more upright websites. From there, appropriate advice can be sought. Finding advice online needn't be too intricate, but with the amount of information and the assortment of so-called experts, finding correct advice can be a rough task.

Like anything in life, part of finding something meaningful involves the exploration. If the search is flawed, the advice will be flawed. By checking sources, using proper references, and putting aside the bad advice, the search for good advice on the Internet need not be the search for the Holy Grail.
About the Author
Andy West is a writer for Karen's View and Website Advisor.
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