Think You Are An Expert?
Despite what other content creators do or say, it's OK to be wrong now and again, the real tell of a person is how they handle being wrong.
I have long held the belief that anyone who presents themselves as an expert on some social media platform likely isn't. Obviously, there are some exceptions to this rule, but more often than not, anyone that pretends to be an expert is someone you should listen to closely because they are likely about to say something dumb.
Internet experts are all over the place in today's society, there is no escaping it. You see this on Instagram, YouTube, blogs, and even Facebook every day. There is inevitably some person who has succumbed to the dark side of Dunning-Kruger in the comment section that has never vetted a piece of information in their life.
Note: This article was mistakenly pushed to Facebook due to an error while saving the draft.
Everyone Is Wrong Once In A While
I should probably frame how the Defiance DMK 22 video came to be. I often procrastinate certain tasks for one reason or another, often that reason is a huge workload.
In the case of the video that I pulled from the Firearm Rack channel, I had edited the night before, far later than I intended to be awake. In my half asleep stupor, I failed to listen to what I was saying beyond looking for cues to drop B roll footage. The result and allowed a video to be published that did not reflect my feelings about the Defiance DMK 22 as they had changed and had some incorrect information in it.
After thinking about what the right thing to do was for an hour or so after I noticed that the video was utter crap, I decided to remove the video instead of correcting the issues with the first video with a second video in the hopes that someone who saw the first video would see it.
As you might guess, one of the huge pitfalls of video content is the inability to edit the video after it has gone live. At least with written content errors can be corrected after the post has been published. I could only imagine how much bad information made it into the world when all gun content was delivered through print when information was not as easily obtained as it is today.
The only decision that aligned with the mission of Firearm Rack was to pull the video, film a new narrative that was as correct as I can make it and reflected my current feeling about the gun. Anything less would not be up to the standards I have set for myself and other contributors on the blog.
Admitting I Was Wrong
This isn't the first time I have pulled a video that was incorrect. I am not an expert and would correct anyone who might suggest as much with a quickness. What made this pulled video different than some of the others is the short clip I recorded on my cell phone where I explained myself.
That might not seem like that big of a deal, but you have to keep in mind that a content creator admitting they are wrong is taboo.
Almost never do you see someone openly admit that they got something wrong in public, instead, you get quiet edits to an article, stealthy deletion of content, and creators flat out ignoring comments pointing out that the information is incorrect.
The Wesley Crusher Of Guns
I recall a time when I read a comment on the blog I used to work for that called me the Wesley Crusher of guns. The comment was an obvious stab but instead, it spurred me to reflect on gun media types and how they present their self. I spent some time thinking about how I detested false experts and how being honest with one's self about your level of experience can be an asset.
Old gun media has created this expectation that anyone who writes about gun stuff should be an expert or at least present themselves as one. Sure, there are some media folk that I would absolutely consider an expert in segments of the firearm industry that I will talk about in a separate post later this week.
It Is OK TO Be Wrong
Coming to grips with the fact that it is OK to be wrong, it is OK to not know everything was one of the most empowering experiences I have has in my professional life.
I like not being an expert and being the Wesley Crusher of guns, it allows me to stay interested in shooting sports without getting burnt out.
Before the revelation that it is OK to be wrong, I allowed myself to fall into the same trap that other media types had fallen into. Back then I felt that because I was paid to give my opinion about firearms and firearm accessories, obviously I was an expert. I mean, only experts get paid to do something right?
Would you consider the guy at the bank window to be an expert at banking? He gets paid to be a banker, by my previous logic he would be considered an expert. How about your average soldier? They get paid to be good with a gun, again the previous logic would say yes.
Practical experience tells me otherwise. Instead of overvaluing your opinion, be honest with yourself that you just might be wrong.
There Is Nothing Wrong With Entertainment Based Content
The understanding that new media like YouTube, Blogs, and even print magazines can't possibly be wrong is flat out flawed. The reality is, all of these media sources are merely providing an educated opinion about a product, service, or technique using their life experiences as a basis for that opinion.
Most of the media folks operating today shouldn't be regarded as experts, rather they should be thought of as professional opinion formers. Sometimes the foundation of experience that they use when forming opinions has roots in a hobby level background, other times that experience comes from a profession that they once held.
I know that the article was structured clumsily but I hope that you got something out of it. When I tackle topics similar to this it often ends up a bit of a mess.
I hope that after reading this post you do some reflecting on how you handle being incorrect about a fact. Maybe you can find the same freedom in the acceptance of your knowledge level and enjoy the same liberating feeling that I enjoy. If the only thing that you get out of this is that it is OK to be a perpetual student and that being wrong now and again is OK, I consider the time spent smashing my fingers on a keyboard well spent.