The “Online Guru” Epidemic

You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it: the countless Instagram or Twitter profiles that preach their ways of living and “hacks” as if they are long lost messages from God. They all have a workout routine, nutrition plan, way to make money or even just a way of living that is obviously far superior to anything else, and you’d be a fool to not heed their cautions and take their advice.

It’s always something along the lines of “purchase my online course if you want to have a better life than your current shitty one” or “stop eating insert food or you will ruin your muscles and health” It’s not that these statements or ideas are wrong – I’m sure people do benefit from some of these courses, and some of these nutrition ideas – but they are rather stated in an absolute mindset with no room for nuance. What they preach may work for some, but it may not work for all. It’s a “my way is superior to your way” attitude, and I’ve seen it appear more and more in everyday social media posts. These “guru” types seem to be more concerned with being a preacher that knows it all rather than an individual who understands all sides of a coin.

I get it – this type of advertising and speaking is more popular to the public eye. You’re more likely to click on a page that captures your attention, and being extreme is what captures eyes. Saying something reasonable like “some individuals have been shown to benefit from a low carb diet” gets way less attention than saying “EVERYONE needs to cut carbs out and start eating only animal based protein!” It’s more fun this way, speaking in absolutes. And speaking in absolutes makes you seem confident, and people buy confidence. But is it sending the right message, a true and honest one?

I believe people have become a bit more gullible by these tactics. They buy a service or follow an individual for information that they can easily find online for free (or is sometimes completely false), or they take anything someone says for face value due to the fancy items they show off or the fit body they sculpted. I’m not exempt either; I’m slightly embarrassed by certain accounts I’ve followed in the past or programs I’ve bought, thinking I was learning something completely new that the average “normie” wouldn’t understand, only to realize I’ve been swindled by words and pictures.

This isn’t to say that every online coach, guru, or influencer is like this. They’re are some genuine people out there, providing genuine services to people. But they are truly not the majority. They are a small minority that often gets overlooked because they’re not necessarily trying to sell you something, but rather truly educate you with rationale and nuance. True facts and reasoning are not sexy, they are sometimes boring. And so, it’s a lot more fun to follow and consume from the individuals who exaggerate and appear extreme.

We need to really start thinking for ourselves, no one else can do it for us. Really consider who the people are that you trust or follow online. With the rapid rise of social media, anyone can become an “expert” nowadays. You need no credentials or expertise, just a huge following of people who enjoy your social media posts. You don’t even have to talk or introduce yourself to someone, just create a video that goes viral and captures the attention of many by making eye-catching content, and you win their trust and money. That’s scary, to say the least.

My friends, there are a variety of answers and ways of life for everyone. What works for me, may not work for you, and vice versa. Take in any information that you want, and pay for any services that you feel inclined towards online. But just remember to be cautious of wholeheartedly trusting people who you have never met, and who speak only in absolutes. Weigh your options out carefully, and always check a variety of opinions and resources. Don’t get too consumed by the experts of social media, or should I say, the experts of the algorithm.

Stay rooted, my friends.

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