It’s not far-fetched to say that the internet has changed our lives in dramatic ways. But regardless of what you use it for in “The age of information” the internet has revolutionised information both in terms of what is available and also how easily information of all sorts is now accessible.
I previously wrote about why jobs are not safe any longer and how as little as a generation ago it was common to spend a decade or more with one employer.
Today the work ‘battlespace’ space has shifted. Temporary workers are becoming the norm and time within a position can be limited to months.
Related: Why Jobs aren’t safe anymore and neither are you
However it is not just the workspace that has changed over the last generation. The creation & proliferation of information has never been easier and more available.
A generation ago, if a curious mind wanted to learn about anything new then the hunt for the information needed was arguably a much harder process.
I can still remember having to search through encyclopedia and nothing was more frustrating than not finding what you were looking for. This meant trips to the library or having to hunt for other cheap sources of readily available information. When that failed you asked someone else while completely failing to realise that they might not know either! [Insert cascading problems here]. Asking people was an act of faith.
When you did go looking, not only did you need to know what you were looking for, but you needed to know where to look.
The internet has changed everything. Wikipedia not only can give you nearly anything and everything you want, but also gives you the references to double check. And let’s not forget those juggernauts of information such as Google and YouTube.
However all of this information comes with a hidden downside.
A generation ago, when information of all sorts was ‘hard to get to’ the information out there was good quality.
Information had to be scrutinised and reviewed before it was allowed to go public. Today … anyone with a phone can post an expert opinion (I am aware of the irony here)
Nowhere is this more visible than in the fitness industry. Make no mistake there are experts out there. There are people who know how to give you the ‘body of your dreams’ even if the process is not sustainable, but they know and understand the science behind it.
An example of this are body building competitors. The results are epic, but not sustainable. In fact bodybuilding is a nutritional extreme sport that most people simply cannot support, let alone afford!
There are also genuine experts who understand the metabolic process, the impact of hormones and hormonal manipulation as well as macro and micro nutrition in order to create sustainable results.
However you only need to go as far as Facebook (Irony) or Instagram to find someone who claims that bacon milkshakes are the secret to the body of your dreams.
No research, no science, just marketing and a hundred thousand followers for instant validity.
Short attentions spans
Right or wrong the information age has given anyone and everyone a potential platform not only to look at and gain access to information, but the means to cultivate and promote ‘misinformation.’
Due to the massive amounts of information that are generated on a global level each day, we have also become ruthlessly efficient at filtering out information despite being bad at filtering bad info!
Considering how time poor we are, and how desperately we want answers to our problems, we have become very good and extremely efficient at disregarding highly detailed accurate information and choosing to follow an attractive YouTube video that promises a quick fix.
Why would you seriously want to look through research papers to understand how stress can make you fat when you can get a ‘Eco friendly vegan low calorie diet shake’ recipe from YouTube in under 3 minutes, complete with an Nutri bullet unboxing?
I say this because most readers probably won’t have gotten this far.
Related: How long should a lesson be?
Gaining Authority – The importance of teaching
When everyone out there with a sliver of motivation can easily produce high quality misinformation it has never been harder for an educator to break through the noise and succeed.
In fact it’s so difficult quite often the best people with the most knowledge who are capable of providing the highest value are the ones that suffer the most. In fact the best practitioners are the ones who get beaten by someone who knows nothing other than how to self-promote.
Once again in the fitness industry approximately 50% of women are on a diet on any given day, and 95% of diets fail within 5 years.
In fact the product / program success rates are so poor, coupled with searching for a quick fix, that women will try 130 diets in their lifetime. You don’t need to be a genius to see how dangerous misinformation can be and the damage that it can do.
But there is hope.
Not only for the clients, but also for those rare experts out there who have real answers to real world problems. And that comes down to teaching what you know.
Love it or hate it, today’s biggest authorities are the ones with the most likes or followers, but there is one currency that beats the brains out of Likes and follows each time, and that is knowledge and results. And this is why to truly stand out today, being a provider of an education is more critical than ever before. This is why you need to treat what you know as a business!
Related: Why being an educator means you have no competition
When everyone is capable of producing information or misinformation before distributing it on social media (irony) so easily; as a true high value source of information being an educator is how you can stand out and get ahead.
Make no mistake you’ll be in fierce competition! Your audience will be hard to find. Most will only be interested in the next quick failure. However once your knowledge starts to change lives, the tide will turn your way.