As I get ready to leave town in only a few hours for our annual family cruise, I find myself pushing yet another writing deadline. I don’t know about you, but I am one hell of a procrastinator. As the day winds down (it’s 5 AM here, and that is a typical end of my day), I find myself riddled with anxiety wondering what in the hell I am going to write about. And then—as if God himself put it in front of me (God and I are tight like that)—I stumble upon a social media post where, predictably, someone is going ALL CAPS to emphasize their expert opinion on something nutrition related. Thank you, God. I owe you one (kinda).

Opinions are everywhere, and nowhere are opinions shared with such bravado and expertness (it’s a real word, look it up) than on social media. I started to wonder how or why we feel we absolutely must let everyone in on what we think. Why do we feel that people want our opinions? Why do we have this undeniable urge to give our opinions, especially when our opinions aren’t solicited? Rarely do people give their opinion on a topic after someone asks. Why? Probably because people are too focused on giving opinions instead of asking for them.

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Opinions are a part of social interaction and there is nothing inherently wrong with someone voicing their position on a topic. There is a huge difference, though, between giving an opinion and giving an opinion that has credibility. The problem, if I may opine, is that too many people do not understand that credibility is not given by the person who opines; credibility is given by others. Too many people are giving credibility to their own opinions and then get butt-hurt when they receive no acknowledgment of credibility. At this point, you would think that this would be a giant neon sign stating very clearly that one’s opinion is not credible. Hardly. Instead, it is interpreted that the lack of respect for one’s opinion is merely stupidity or ignorance.


If you are giving nutrition advice and attempting to drive your point home with ALL CAPS, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have credibility. Credibility is essentially given when the person giving the opinion has proved their experience and has a track record of giving solid advice. It is equally important that the opiner (another real word, believe it or not) has walked the walk. To paraphrase, it would behoove you to have attained “shreddedness” (okay, this admittedly is not a real word) either with yourself or many clients in the past if you are giving matter-of-fact nutrition advice on how to get shredded.

Credibility is earned, not granted based on posting in ALL CAPS or in a condescending tone. Some of the most credible people I know in our industry have rarely, if ever, given advice using either of those two delivery tools. It should be considered a red flag if you see either of these methods being used. And don't give credit to minions posting things like, “I always love how you keep it real” or “Everything you post is dead nuts, man." Minions (read: nut huggers) don’t qualify your posts as credible. Your mom might think you are a super genius (said in Wyle E. Coyote’s voice while filling carrots with nitroglycerin), but that doesn’t make it true. My teenage kids think I’m the dumbest son of a bitch on the planet, but that isn’t entirely true, either. However, I digress.

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The point I am trying to make here is that it would be great if people would understand that they can’t give themselves credibility and that a little humility in their posts would likely make their opinions better received. Is that going to happen? JaJaJaJa (Hispanic laugh). Hell no it won’t. We live in a digital age where people are convinced that their opinions—fueled by their egos—are credible. It is entirely too easy to opine in front of a keyboard instead of face-to-face. Think about it, when was the last time someone was confrontational and matter-of-fact with you about a topic, knowing that you may know more about that topic than they do? Never? Exactly. But in the internet world, we tend to sometimes forget that we aren’t just talking to people that might not have a clue; we might be overheard by someone that actually does know what the hell they are talking about.

The answer? There isn’t one. Basically, the internet will continue to allow those with little to no credibility spew opinions until their fingers (or thumbs, if they are posting from their phone) hurt. It is so rampant that those who actually are credible don’t want to even be bothered by the confrontation and simply move on with a subtle head shake and smirk.

The rest of us? We have to sift through the bullshit and attempt to figure out whether someone is full of shit or not — in a world where the bullshitters can be quite convincing. Get used to it; it’s the internet. Hell, for all you know, I’m full of shit, too. I would ask you to respect my opinion, but that isn’t for me to decide. Just Sayin’.

Photo credit: lkeskinen ©