Relationship Advice from Charlie Sheen.
Weight Loss Advice from Santa Claus.
Business Ethics Advice from Bernie Madoff.
As we can probably all agree, all of the above are on the top of my list of advice NONE of us should take.
In many of my recent interactions, I have noticed an abundance of young people taking advice from irrational, unreliable sources simply because they are convenient – and it scares the hell out of me.
We live in a world of instant gratification – look in one place, and be satisfied with the answer; ask the nearest person to you who you think has a clue, and take it as gospel; read something on the internet, and consider it fact-checked and accurate. Because of this, people are increasingly unable to think for themselves, draw their own conclusions, or make educated decisions. Instead, they grab the closest answer and assume it’s the right one.
A recent study by the Local Consumer Review found that, of 2,862 respondents to a 4,500 person survey, 72% of people say that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
People - THIS JUST DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE!
As a species we are blessed (for the most part) with the ability to reason - to look at situations and determine, on our own, if something will help us or harm us - if something makes sense.
I'm not saying not to trust online reviews. I use them all them time when seeking out restaurants, hotels, car rental companies - things that, in the greater scheme of things, are irrelevant to the direction my life is going or my long term happiness or success.
The place where I see a problem is when people make MAJOR, life-changing decisions based on the advice of complete strangers - when someone makes decisions about where to invest, where to send their child to school, or where to start a career without laying eyes on the institution, school, or company for themselves.
I am in the process of determining where to buy a home based on where my family will receive the best education. I will take reviews into account, but I'll be damned if I will decide ANYTHING without visiting all the schools, talking to parents, talking to teachers, and observing for myself. I will never invest a dollar in a company that I have not had the opportunity to get to know personally. I would never decide to work at a company based on positive online reviews and would most certainly never decide NOT to work at a company based on a negative review.
I am posting this to, hopefully, encourage a little bit of free thought and challenge the readers to stray from the pack, don't jump off that cliff with the rest of the lemmings, swim upstream - use the intellect with which you were bestowed. The internet is the last truly free form of expression, and there is neither accountability for one's negative words or validation of one's positive words. The idea of making life-altering decisions based solely on online reviews is reckless at best and moronic at worst. Make your own choices - I dare you.