Effective Immediately, I hereby retire as an Aspiring Internet Wellness Guru.
I know this news will shock my dozens of loyal followers. Stay strong.
I realized it’s what’s best for you and me. I must stop sharing very helpful wellness infor-mation with you.
Please stay calm. Understand I’m only doing this to make the world a better place.
We share a world full of unhealthy habits. Habits that are incentivized by well-intended but completely broken economic forces. At the end of the day, we are overconsuming calories and content. We are inactive and confused. We are fat and sick.
This is the reality for most Americans. I hate it. I don’t like watching exploitation. I don’t like seeing people suffer. I want to help.
As a former fat person, I went through all the confusion, exhaustion and frustration of trying to take control of my health. I changed my career to prioritize wellness. Every morning, I study new information on nutrition, food production, herbalism, fitness, men-tal health, longevity and relationship management. These fields of study will remain life-long passions, but as of today, I will no longer share what learn with strangers.
Please remain calm.
I know what you’re thinking: he’s so handsome. He’s spent a decade acquiring so much knowledge. He can help so many people with what he knows. People need help. How could such a handsome guy not help people? Why would retiring from an aspiring inter-net wellness guru be what’s best for the world?
You’re right. I don’t disagree. I am handsome on days when I shower. Up until a few weeks ago, I thought all those thoughts too. I thought I was helping.
Then someone died.
And I started wondering if the death was preventable. This was a healthy person by nearly every measure. A personal trainer. A nutrition expert. A perpetual student of health. Always hungry for information. Hours studying books, watching YouTube lectures and reading websites. This person was confident in their knowledge. They formed strong per-spectives and deep convictions from decades of experience in the wellness industry. How could this person make one critical – and possibly fatal – health-related mistake?
That question haunted me. I would have considered this person a wellness expert. My mind started to reconsider “expertise.” What qualifies a person as an expert? What quali-fies a student to become a teacher?
Before the internet, an expert in health was called a doctor. We measured expertise of health by the very reasonable standard of strenuously studying the entire human body during a decade of school. The human body is too complex for modern science to com-pletely understand, so it makes complete sense that a decade would be the minimum amount of time to become an expert in health.
Need health advice? Seek an expert. Talk to a doctor.
A smart approach in 1999, but not how we do things now.
The internet changed our approach. Need health advice? Seek an expert. Ask Google.*
Then social media changed that approach. Need health advice? Follow a stranger. Consume the content they publish.
The content is mostly unsolicited advice without context for your situation. The stranger is often an attractive and articulate person. Someone confident enough to overshare on a daily basis.
To occupy boredom or observe a stranger’s life, people start to follow this person. Sure this person reads and learns things about health. After all, this person needs inspiration for their content. More content. More followers. Eventually, this person boasts thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers.
This person, with an interest in health, is now a business. Honestly, I like that idea. You can help people while doing what you love.
But there is a problem with this business model. Millions of followers is social proof of an entertaining person, but millions of followers is not a criteria for expertise.
We don’t recognize this distinction. We let the most popular people shape our conversa-tions. Information is a popularity contest. The truth no longer belongs to context. The truth belongs to the most viral messages.
How did we create a world where we have both internet wellness gurus and doctors? Doctors are wellness gurus. Why did make we nondoctor wellness gurus a thing? What value do they really offer?
So I started thinking, maybe we need less time listening to popular strangers. More time listening to doctors.
Of course, not every doctor will have answers for you. Talk to more than one doctor if you need to, but we should invest more trust in doctors. Remember, these are people who in-vested at least a decade of their life and money to achieve a deep understanding of the body.
I know. I know. I know. Doctors are expensive to talk to. Internet wellness gurus are free.
You’re right. But think about the quality of free things compared to the quality of things you pay for. Free stuff is rarely valuable. Your valuables are things you bought. This sug-gests the value of a doctor’s information. Not all doctors are expensive either. There are plenty of doctors providing free information. Even if they’re not as pretty, even if they don’t share information while revealing a ripped physique, we should still listen to them.
Your health is valuable. Pay for quality information. Listen to doctors.
Thanks for staying calm. Although, I can feel the disappointment. I’m a people pleaser. I hate disappointing you, but l must do what’s best for both of us.
I will no longer continue my career as an aspiring internet wellness guru.
*Asking Google health questions is also the fastest way to appreciate the fragility of hu-man life. It’s a horrible approach for hypochondriacs and people prone to panic attacks. No matter what question you start with, if you ask Google a question about your health, and then proceed to click down the rabbit hole, eventually the answers always become a deadly outcome. Google with caution.
Also published on Medium.