Thursday, June 30, 2011


Social media, Twitter and Facebook to be specific, don't interest me much. But since I like to pretend to pay attention to what is going on in the world, (at least a little bit) and these are kind of ground zero in a rapidly evolving social revolution of sorts, it seemed reasonable to poke around in the cyber-hood.

There may be places where people are starting up real revolutions that involve teargas, bullets and toppling tyrants; but I haven't found anything near so interesting. For the most part it seems a place of mundane exchanges, a bit of fun, occasional humor, and the odd inside joke. There is one little twist though; everyone, it seems, thinks they are an expert on whatever subject strikes their fancy.

An assumption that can't possibly be true. In a society as complex and fractured as is this one, the fact is most of us are not expert in anything. Usually we manage to be quasi-competent in some more-or-less routine task; then we trade hours doing that task for a modest income. In cyber-space though, everyone seems to know all there is to know about foreign policy, military tactics, economics, history, philosophy...and managing sports teams. It is all harmless really, except when someone parlays talk into gaining a position or assuming a responsibility that actually requires some expertise.

Maybe that's why I like flying, motorcycle riding, and now sailing, as much as I do. Anyone can claim to be an expert in these disciplines, but if the claim doesn't match the ability it is likely the claimant will suffer a quick and completely natural demise. One need not be expert one's self to spot the posers, they are the dead ones.

Of course true experts do come a cropper while flying, riding and sailing. There are real risks involved in taking on sky, sea, and gravity, and on any given day anyone can run out of the thing we call "luck". But the faker with a pocket full of boast tends to come up empty handed in very short order, thus relieving the rest of us from having to suffer their nonsense for long.

Too bad economics and politics don't work the same way.

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