“Whatever you believe / You might be wrong.” — Paul Thorn
When I was in college, I was part of a small group of journalism students who took classes that were basically about the Internet. This was 2005 or so. Journalism on the Internet wasn’t new, but it was for journalism schools.
Anyway, we spent a lot of time in class talking about things that seem funny now. Was Facebook journalism? Was blogging?
Again: It was 2005.
But one thing was made very clear to me by my professors, and by pretty much every professional person I knew: We had to be careful about what we posted online. If we weren’t vigilant, we’d never get a job in the real journalism world!
Yesterday, my current employer hired a guy whose Twitter handle is @WeedDude.
Yep. That’s me. RT @stevekovach: BuzzFeed hires guy who goes by “weed dude.” I’m serious.
— Weed Dude (@weeddude) January 29, 2013
And then there’s stuff like this:
My new friend Jake describes himself as: “Illustrator, Musician, Underwear Removal Services.”
— James Victore (@JamesVictore) January 29, 2013
If you’d like a window into my life, @samfbiddle just messaged me a picture of human on dino oral sex, so.
— ”Leslie Horn” (@LesHorn) January 28, 2013
Pro tip: when you and two of your friends go to the bathroom together, best not to carry on a conversation between stalls.
— Ross Neumann (@rossneumann) January 29, 2013
after I took the SAT they thought I had a math learning disability, and now I go on TV to talk about the stock market, WHOS LAUGHING NOW MOM
— Sam Biddle (@samfbiddle) January 25, 2013
And here’s a presentation that the CEO of my company likes to give at conferences. It includes this slide:
And I could go on and on. Just know: All of that comes from respected, professional, important people who make stuff in our world.
Point is: Whatever the experts are telling you, there’s a good chance they’re wrong. Seven years ago, every professional journalist in the world would’ve told you that professionalism came first. That keeping the appearance of seriousness mattered.
It turned out that they were wrong. Newspapers might’ve been built for professional-looking/sounding reporters, but the web is a wonderful place where strange/eccentric/bizarre people flourish. Weirdness is celebrated here.
Anyway, if someone tells you something’s for certain, there’s a good chance they’re wrong. Don’t blindly accept the advice of experts. Question them. Challenge them.