Since the birth of the internet, it has never been easier for people to share information and advice with one another. For the most part, this is great! We now have access to nearly every topic imaginable at the click of a button. However, the credibility of this information is uncertain at best. Always remember to do your research and don’t believe everything you hear!
Celebrity authority is one of the most common ways that questionable advice is disseminated. This phenomenon occurs when someone you admire or respect (e.g. a celebrity, icon, or guru) shares knowledge that you instantly believe due to his/her status.
Blindly following celebrity advice can be dangerous though! Make sure that you understand the celebrity’s motives and assess his/her credibility. There are some general criteria I like to use to vet shared information.
- What is the motive?
- Does he/she have a trustworthy track record?
- Is this person an expert in this subject?
Understand the Motive
There is always a reason why someone is recommending a certain product or service. Does this person genuinely want to help? Is there a partnership or commission involved? Maybe a combination of the two?
Sometimes, advice is 100% genuine. The celebrity or guru truly wants to help his/her followers. Other times, a product or service may be recommended solely due to affiliate commissions or partnership agreements.
Always take any advice with a grain of salt. If someone recommends product A, make sure to understand why. Read product A reviews and also check out products B and C.
No matter who you’re taking advice from, it’s always a good idea to do some additional research before taking action. The amount of research needed is at your own discretion. Typically, an authority with a greater level of trustworthiness and credibility will warrant less research from the follower.
Check the Track Record
If you religiously follow the advice of a particular person, chances are that he/she has a trustworthy track record. Meaning that each time you have followed his/her advice, the outcome has been favorable for you. However, this is not always the case.
Let’s say that someone recommended product A, but after ordering the product and doing some research, you figure out that product B was the best choice by far! Maybe the recommendation was an honest mistake, or perhaps there was an ulterior motive.
A clean track record certainly helps credibility, but always be sure to do your own research as well!
Expert or Not?
This one really grinds my gears. Before taking advice from ANYONE, make sure that they are an expert in their field. Check to see if their recommendations actually work. Has the authority implemented the advice in his/her own life and how did it go?
You probably shouldn’t take financial advice from the guy who lives paycheck to paycheck. That’s like following a weight loss program prepared by a sumo wrestler or taking singing lessons from someone who’s tone deaf.
Now don’t get me wrong, the people mentioned above COULD have great advice to share, but it’s certainly easier to believe when the success is proven.
Next time you find yourself taking stock tips from Oprah, stop and think! Is she really an expert in this subject?
I really wanted to share this post because since I’ve gotten into the world of blogging, I’ve certainly seen some questionable advice given to readers.
Unfortunately, certain products may be recommended due to higher commissions or partnership agreements. Opinion-driven advice may yield unfavorable results. Or, advice/information could just be flat out wrong.
Personally, I only promote products or services I use and believe in. But hey! Don’t take my word at face value. That would completely contradict the tenets of this article. Instead, assess my credibility by testing my advice and weighing the alternatives.
I can’t control who you listen to and whether or not you act on their advice. I am also not saying to do nothing at all! But please be wary before you take any type of action!
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