You spent how much on that programme? You need your head read!’
(Friends react as I reveal my spend on online self – improvement)

Using the excuse of research, the past 12 months I’ve immersed myself in various online learning courses and learning experiences. With some of them, as I hit the Pay Pal button I’ve known that seduction and snake-oiling has got me buying garbage.

But the most expensive one was very useful, as much for insights into how web cartels work as it was the direct instruction. Indeed, so much so, that I’ve just signed up for another programme with the same outfit.

Many of these online coaches suggest that you don’t really need to know anything to have a successful online business – you just need to know about online marketing.

There’s no suggestion that a useful expert is someone who immerses themselves in their subject, and then tries to draw parallels for the rest of us. A connecting nerd, if you like. Expertise as it contributes to social progress doesn’t get a look in here…and as for the ‘integrity’ word…well…

Ok. Down from my moral molehill, am not going all earnest here. But even for the most unscrupulous of these online get-rich-quick-dudes, something is changing in how we learn and how we buy learning.

Most of us will seek several takes on any subject online, skipping across from site-to-site. Every time we Google anything we set ourselves on a path to potential learning. We know that a single take on any subject is never the full picture.

Now Gurus keep their knowledge somewhat mysteriously, they hold the secret, the single key truth, the one correct way. They slow down learning as they reveal themselves to us, Pay Pal payment by Pay Pal payment…

But respected experts these days curate, aggregate and share. They knock down barriers and collaborate with experts in similar fields and give us fast and open access to a stream of learning and ideas. They are progress accelerators.

Tempted to become a Guru?

Link on twitter to others you consider to be gurus in your field. Assert some of your most deeply held beliefs as orthodoxies on twitter and experience the reaction…

This inclination need not be your dark secret. We’d work much better together if we openly acknowledged Top Dog syndrome, our drive for superiority and dominance, as described by Alfred Adler.

Falling for a Guru?

Where’s the evidence they have done what they are promising to help you do? Do they give chapter and verse that proves what they deliver and can you talk to previous customers?

If you’ve got half an hour to spare watch How to Call BS on a Social Media Guru from Scott Berkun. It is also a masterclass in how to handle a lively crowd when public speaking.

Please note that we are having a no guru meet-up that is happening on Monday for any WordPress Users in Wales.

Countering our world tipping on its economic axis, I sense we are in a Golden Age as to how each one of us can learn informally and at extraordinary speed, online. Even better if it is possible to meet up live to clarify, add to and exchange further with other Connecting Nerds.

Another confession here. A book review once called me ‘the guru of selling’. But then it was in the Guardian.

By szcz

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