Advice is like a cup of water, anyone can give it away, but you had better know where it comes from before you drink it!

Yesterday I became involved in a very strange, very interesting conversation on Facebook.  A Facebook friends had ask a question about a product and no one seemed to be responding.  She then asked how come no one responded and it started a huge number of comments about online advice, forums and the quality of information on Facebook.    Online advice, whether through Facebook, forums or other online resources has a few basic drawbacks which you always must think about when asking for advice.  When people ask for advice, they would hope the photographers who names everyone would recognize, the speakers, authors and super successful studio owners to answer those questions.  Unfortunately, the number of questions that we get directly and indirectly is very hard to keep up with, considering we are very busy people (speaking, writing books, running busy studio or all of the above.).  But for the most part, I think most of us try to be as accessible as we can be.

In this conversation yesterday the quality of information on Facebook became an issue and a few pay-forums we listed as better resources for getting advice and direction.  I have read some of the advice Facebook and other forums and it is what you would expect, some good and some completely stupid.  Online advice from people you barely know is for the most part a, “user beware” situation and a great deal of common sense must be used in taking it.  You want the News and just the un-bias facts about current events, you don’t go through blogs of independent bloggers, you watch the network news.  While bloggers give us a huge amount of useful information, you are getting someones opinion or take on the facts and not the facts presented without bias for you to make your own decision.  The same is true for any advice online or offline, always question the advice you get.

Even professional speakers and authors give advice that should be sent through the “common-sense filter”.  I can’t count the number of programs I have been to which the speaker shows an idea that has every photographer in the audience completely excited and then follows by saying, “You don’t sell many of these but they sure are fun to take”.  Following that advice you had better get used to saying, “steak and lobster are sure pretty to look at, cause you won’t have the money to actually buy them!”  In everything I write, I always tell people to take the ideas they like and try them, take the ideas you don’t and throw them away.  A good idea might not be a good idea for you, in your situation and what works in my studio, with my skill and style, in my area, might not be the right fit for you!  Again, this is just common sense and knowing where the cup of water comes from before taking a drink!

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~ by jeffsmithbooks on May 2, 2010.

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