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The Trouble With The Global Village Is All The Village Idiots

The Trouble With The Global Village Is All The Village Idiots

The Internet is the greatest invention of all time, however, there are a few drawbacks with it.

For starters, we have to deal with information overload.  There are now over a Billion websites.  That’s a lot of content.  Some of it is great – but most of it is terrible.

You also have a constant risk of malware and computer viruses, not to mention a feeling of isolation from looking at everyone else being so happy on social media, which goes hand-in-hand with depression, on top of obesity from sitting on your backside all day.

Then there is all the internet-based crime, like stealing personal information or someone else’s intellectual property.

But the one thing which riles me about the internet more than anything else is the sheer volume of noise created by idiots.

I think YouTube takes the crown for garbage comments.  This is best illustrated by Adam Buxton in the video below.  This is worth a watch if you have a couple of minutes spare:

There are far too many people online who pass comment purely because they can.  There’s no ‘mute’ button for these idiots.  And this really pisses me off.

A recent example was when I joined a free online discussion group for entrepreneurs about how to grow your personal brand online.  I thought this would be valuable.  I thought I could learn something from “other like-minded individuals”.

How wrong I was.  For every valuable comment there was a landslide of crap coming from the fingertips of imbeciles who didn’t know the first thing about internet marketing, or business (or, in some cases, life in general).  The group was full of self-proclaimed ‘experts’ who would build a single page website stating how amazing they were at something then believe it gives them a solid basis on which to offer consultancy to people who know even less than they do.

Admittedly some of the people in the group did know what they were talking about (albeit the minority) but many of these were narcissistic.  They viewed being in the group as an opportunity to preach about how brilliant they were.  Others (these may have been the smart ones) provided links to their own websites, obviously trying to herd the idiots in the group into handing over money.  Is there a word for herding idiots?  If not there should be.

Anyway, I’m by no means an expert, but I built my first website in 1998 and I’ve managed the web presence of my business from nothing – literally nothing back in 1999 – to the highly tuned business-generating tool it is today.  Chemicals.co.uk has sold millions of pounds worth of products and The Chemical Blog generates over 70,000 visitors a month.

I’ve worked with agencies, designers, developers, SEO’s, social media experts, personal branding consultants, business consultants and just about every other person you could possibly imagine where I can contract in services to bridge any gaps in my company’s knowledge.  And I employ a team of people in our Marketing Department.  Yet, despite these facts, I would never claim to be an ‘expert’ because I am constantly learning and there is still a huge amount I don’t know.

So I left the group because it was complete bollocks.

Then…

I saw a different group.  And everything changed!

Unlike the previous group (which was free to join) access to the new group was given only to people who paid $97 for an online course.  I wanted to do the course anyway, so joining the group was a bonus.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much.

Again, how wrong I was!  I was blown away by the quality of the conversation in the new group.  $97 may not sound like much but it’s unbelievable the difference a Barrier To Entry can make.  The conversation was positive, engaging and full of ideas from a community of experienced, friendly, supportive people.  There wasn’t any noise from idiots.  The group was (and still is) a fantastic place to be involved and I am constantly getting ideas to improve my business as a result of being in it.

I am completely sold on the concept of paying to join online communities.  This has got me thinking about social media – Facebook would be much better if it weren’t for all the adverts – but that won’t happen because Facebook’s business model is advertising.  It’s only a matter of time until ad-free social channels come of age.  I wonder if Facebook will regret saying “It’s free and always will be” on their home page?

There is a theory called Godwin’s Law which states that “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches”.  This, I have no doubt, applies on a sliding scale where it is more likely to occur in conversations without Barriers To Entry than those with.

I will leave with one of my favourite quotes.  It’s the title of this post:

The trouble with the global village is all the global village idiots.

– Paul Ginsparg

Rant over.  Thank you.

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