How to Be an Internet Guru

Let’s jump right in. You are bouncing around the Internet reading random articles. This used to be called surfing the Web, a phrase that seems to have gone by the wayside. You see an article about losing weight, quickly and painlessly. You read it. It seems like a miracle. You are enthused.

Out of curiosity you search around the Net for a picture of the author. You find one. It’s a photo of the guy giving a weight loss seminar somewhere. You check the date. The seminar took place a couple of weeks ago. What does the photo of this “expert” reveal? A man with a gut hanging over his pants and a couple of spare chins. What???

Welcome to the world of Internet guru-dom, a place where leading by example often takes a backseat to someone who can talk or write a good line. And yet, these expertise peddlers have followers who swear by the supposed life changing advice they’ve received from these gurus.

I believe there’s something out of kilter when we seek out superfast weight loss diets, instant life change programs, get rich quick schemes and all that kind of stuff. In my opinion, when we do that, we are catering to our personal need for instant gratification, rather than finding programs that can yield safe, lasting results through work over time.

But if giving in to our desire to have everything yesterday were not misplaced enough, I think we are really not thinking when we purchase those kinds of programs from people who, themselves, are not examples of what they are selling. Buying fast weight loss advice from someone perpetually overweight? Where’s the logic in that.

It is one thing to seek out people for their expertise. However, in so many endeavors, we need more than good advice. We need the leadership of someone who is willing to prove the value of that advice through their own example. I think we get into a willing suspension of disbelief when we accept someone as a role model who does not personally represent the goal we are attempting to achieve.

Unfortunately, becoming an Internet guru is not necessarily based on real knowledge, good advice or setting an example. Sometimes, people simply set themselves up in that kind of position because they do a little bit of writing, hand out some information and pick up a following. Does that mean they are giving out sound advice? No.

Most of us are pretty smart, but we also have moments of weakness. It is best to remember that it’s probably easier to become an online know-it-all – doling out questionable solutions to life’s challenges – than it is to accomplish our goals by following bad advice.

Are there knowledgeable people online, who lead by example and who we can learn from? Yes! However, it is up to us to be fully engaged in the process of choosing who to learn from and follow. Buyer beware!

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn /

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