Many bloggers and those “Internet gurus” are alike in one respect – they often hold viewpoints which don’t quite match up with the rest of us. Indeed, you might think that much of what is written online is somewhat extreme in its position. Take, for instance, making money online. You will find countless blogs and websites explaining some rather dubious ways of getting your “list” and milking it until it is dry.
Sure it works; but how sustainable is it? Often such people have to keep building new lists in new areas because they have got all they can from their first list. It seems that such people have rather extreme views on business compared with the rest of us, who probably believe it is down to building relationships and maintaining them for the long term.
The problem is, if you take a snapshot of the Internet on almost any subject what you will get is a feeling that the extreme viewpoint is the most common one. Now, researchers at Ohio State University have explained this phenomenon. It seems that people with extreme views are much more willing to share their ideas in public. People who hold mainstream viewpoints are less willing to publicly declare them.
The result is that online what we see as the most common viewpoint on a subject is probably the extreme position. Indeed, as the extreme views take hold, those who subscribe to those positions are encouraged to believe that their view is the right one. The Internet is acting as a confirmatory system of extreme viewpoints to those who hold such views.
So, what does this mean for your business and your online activity? It suggests two things. Firstly, always check out the ideas you read about online. Don’t take the apparently common view to be the right one – think about it and analyse it carefully for your own particular circumstances. Secondly, and more simply, just take everything you read online with that proverbial “pinch of salt”. Almost always, your “gut instinct” is the right one. If you think a view is extreme, it probably is. If you think those commonplace Internet business “gurus” are not your kind of business people, then you are probably right.
In other words – don’t believe everything you read online…!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+