One day I had an extensive conversation with my friends about nutrition. We are all kind of gym rats so we often talk about exercise and nutrition. One of my friends had a totally different diet plan than me, she took inspiration from Googling, I did my ‘research’ on Instagram. When I came home I scrolled on Facebook to find a few shared articles of self-proclaimed researchers about some opinions about the Covid vaccine. In my mind I – with little knowledge about medicine or biochemistry – started battling the claims made in the articles. “Whatever” I thought while opening YouTube, quickly I ran into true crime video’s, pedophile hunter video’s and other amateur criminology stuff. Being a criminology student, I sighed and opened TikTok. “If you can not sit still while listeling to this sound, you have ADHD!” popped up on my screen. That is when it hit me, how come everyone, including myself, has become an ‘expert’ on everything?
In our modern day society the creation, distribution and application of information is easier and quicker than ever before. With TikTok having about 1 billion active users, Instagram having 1,4 billion users, and YouTube even having more than 2 billion active users, an insane amount of people create and consume content (information) every day. Our information society gives everyone a chance to share their ideas and information. With information being more accessible and more quickly distributed than ever, people who would have never known anything about certain topics suddenly have access to limitless amounts of knowledge. And with that, amateurs have turned into the new ‘experts’.
Because of this development, experts have found more and more people challenging their expertise, a prime example is the idea that vaccines cause childhood autism because one study (which has been revoked for years) claimed this was the case, despite overwhelming medical evidence showing no link. Some individuals take it upon themselves to spread misinformation. An example is the self-diagnose trend on TikTok. In these videos, creators claim to be able to diagnose others or themselves – while having no relevant academic background – by using sounds or images in to determine whether you might have a certain disorder. Sure, some people do not have the time nor the funds for a therapist, but to say “You have ADHD/autism/DID if you cringe at this sound.” Is simply not right. Note that the video below has 2.6 millions like at the time of writing this, and how many people might believe they have ADHD because of these kind of videos.
An easy fix fort his problem would be for people to fall back a little bit more and let the experts with academic backgrounds lead the conversation. However, with the current speed and accessibility of information it might not be right or desirable for individuals become sole amateurs again. I would love to hear your opnion on this, should the amateurs stay amateurs and let the experts be the experts, or is it good thing everyone can be an expert on everything because of the internet?
Disclaimer: I am not saying trying to say people are not allowed to have opinions, beliefs or question what they think is right/real. Any topic that you are interested in or you feel like you know a lot about will logically dominate your conversations and I encourage everyone to think for themselves.
Ellinor. (2019, december 16). How come everyone’s an expert according to their writings on social media? http://www.thenurslingthing.se/babywearing/experts-social-media/
Hsu, J. (2009, march 4). Modern Problem: Everyone’s an Expert. https://www.livescience.com/9616-modern-problem-expert.html
Morford, M. (2020, september 25). Everyone’s an expert. https://www.tacomadailyindex.com/blog/everyones-an-expert/2448035/
Williams, B. (2019). When everyone is an expert on everything… https://www.fluxtrends.com/when-everyone-is-an-expert-on-everything/