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LIFESTYLE                     Useless Information

It would seem that the world has changed considerably since social media made its grand entrance. Although there were some earlier signs of it in the form of newsgroups that allowed people to post their opinions, it really took hold in the early to mid-2000s with Myspace and Facebook.

In the years that have followed, we have embraced social media as a part of our lives. For some it’s a hobby, something to give us an escape from the day to day, to catch up or reconnect with old friends and family or, for me, a platform to make people smile or perhaps inspire them to look at the world in a different way.

For a lot of poor lost souls, it has become the be all to end all, the place they receive their news (mostly poorly written fake news, but news nevertheless). The virtual world where they get to be braver than they are in real life. The domain where they get to be rude to people without getting a punch in the mouth. If all that isn’t bad enough, it has become, to these unfortunates, the place they go to get advice from complete strangers with no qualifications or experience in their self-proclaimed ‘fields of expertise’.

Some of the questions I see people post on Bookface pages looking for advice makes me question how they actually made it to an age high enough to use a computer. The answers they receive to their requests for wisdom give me every emotion from fear to amazement to heartfelt laughter – but rarely comfort.

Seriously people, do you think when you ask on a page about camping a question like “what can I do to stop my caravan swaying?”, that you are going to have an industry expert waiting to give you sound, credible advice?

Let me spell it out for you, here’s your average expert: he’s a keyboard warrior keen to portray himself with endless experience towing caravans all over the country. He once stayed in an onsite caravan at a beachside park and hopes to one day put a towbar on his car. He’s not sure how he will actually react when the ‘tail starts wagging the dog’ as he tows his dream rig down a steep mountain range, but is supremely confident that his advice to you will see him climb another rung or two in the forum’s pecking order.

Now I know I’ve painted a rather negative picture of your newfound mentor and remember before you jump on your keyboard to explain how very wrong I was to describe you as that expert, that I did say ‘average’. You may well be far better informed than him but let me assure you, there are plenty well less qualified than our nincompoop that will be more than happy to let you know that the secret to stopping that bad boy from dancing is to leave the roof hatch open and focus on pushing the throttle through the floor. [Sic, mate! – Ed.]

I’ll give you a tip: get away from the screen, find a fire, one far away from social media, one that has many, many years of experience sitting around it. Then ask the question, listen to the answers, look at the person delivering it, and decide which to take. You may not still get the best advice but at least you can see who’s giving it to you and at least you will have spent a night around the fire with good people.

“Some of the questions I see people post on Bookface pages looking for advice makes me question how they actually made it to an age high enough to use a computer”

ALL THE RIGHT QUESTIONS.

BUT THE ANSWERS?

It would seem that the world has changed considerably since social media made its grand entrance. Although there were some earlier signs of it in the form of newsgroups that allowed people to post their opinions, it really took hold in the early to mid-2000s with Myspace and Facebook.

In the years that have followed, we have embraced social media as a part of our lives. For some it’s a hobby, something to give us an escape from the day to day, to catch up or reconnect with old friends and family or, for me, a platform to make people smile or perhaps inspire them to look at the world in a different way.

For a lot of poor lost souls, it has become the be all to end all, the place they receive their news (mostly poorly written fake news, but news nevertheless). The virtual world where they get to be braver than they are in real life. The domain where they get to be rude to people without getting a punch in the mouth. If all that isn’t bad enough, it has become, to these unfortunates, the place they go to get advice from complete strangers with no qualifications or experience in their self-proclaimed ‘fields of expertise’.

Some of the questions I see people post on Bookface pages looking for advice makes me question how they actually made it to an age high enough to use a computer. The answers they receive to their requests for wisdom give me every emotion from fear to amazement to heartfelt laughter – but rarely comfort.

Seriously people, do you think when you ask on a page about camping a question like “what can I do to stop my caravan swaying?”, that you are going to have an industry expert waiting to give you sound, credible advice?

Let me spell it out for you, here’s your average expert: he’s a keyboard warrior keen to portray himself with endless experience towing caravans all over the country. He once stayed in an onsite caravan at a beachside park and hopes to one day put a towbar on his car. He’s not sure how he will actually react when the ‘tail starts wagging the dog’ as he tows his dream rig down a steep mountain range, but is supremely confident that his advice to you will see him climb another rung or two in the forum’s pecking order.

Now I know I’ve painted a rather negative picture of your newfound mentor and remember before you jump on your keyboard to explain how very wrong I was to describe you as that expert, that I did say ‘average’. You may well be far better informed than him but let me assure you, there are plenty well less qualified than our nincompoop that will be more than happy to let you know that the secret to stopping that bad boy from dancing is to leave the roof hatch open and focus on pushing the throttle through the floor. [Sic, mate! – Ed.]

I’ll give you a tip: get away from the screen, find a fire, one far away from social media, one that has many, many years of experience sitting around it. Then ask the question, listen to the answers, look at the person delivering it, and decide which to take. You may not still get the best advice but at least you can see who’s giving it to you and at least you will have spent a night around the fire with good people.

“Some of the questions I see people post on Bookface pages looking for advice makes me question how they actually made it to an age high enough to use a computer”

ALL THE RIGHT QUESTIONS.

BUT THE ANSWERS?

LIFESTYLE                     Useless Information