April 19, 2010

All Opinions Are Not Equal: Food Critics

I make money as an advertising writer. And unfortunately, writing is something that anyone can do. And I strictly mean this from a "technical" standpoint. You can hold a pen. You write e-mails. And therefore, many people/companies think they don't need an expert in this field, forgetting that it's not just words that inspire action, but the right ones.

Likewise, those who eat 3 meals a day too often fancy themselves as food critics. You're not. Just like watching movies doesn't make you a film critic, and just like driving a car doesn't help you understand what's under the hood.

So, don't pretend to be one. Stop recommending chain restaurants. Stop trying to have an opinion. Just say, I'm easily satisfied, and I like pretty much everything.

Because that's ok, it just doesn't help the rest of us discover our next local "find".


Jason Jamnik said...

Would you say the same rules apply to music? Can I have my opinions on what songs sound good and tell my friends they should listen to them?

Eric Olsen said...

I guess it's a 2-part post.

One part of me wants you to be much more careful about making recommendations, because of how seriously people take them.

Secondly, I want you to start ignoring some of your friend's opinions after a couple of strikes - music included.

Unknown said...

I love your two part rule. Part one is great because of a) how upset some people get if you do not follow their recommendation, and b) how they use other peoples recommendations to assert how right they are ("But s0-and-so agrees, so I must be right).

Part two is a great rule of thumb. I'm happy to follow recommendations from people I know, but if they keep recommending things that, after trying, I would not recommend, there has to be a point of "no more".

Unknown said...

Having said that, I think there is a difference in some of the examples you used.

I believe any one can be a film or food critic - that job, to my mind, is just what you do & do not like & telling people about it. I watch "At The Movies" with the "expert critics' - doesn't mean I will agree with them. Just means they have an outlet for their opinion.

However, knowing how a car works is a field of expertise. Just like your writing. You can write & I can write, but I couldn't do what you do, because it takes study & time to learn.

Eric Olsen said...

But, that is precisely the point of my post. Movies and food don't fall out of this category simply because many people experience them.

Expertise is something entirely different.

Anonymous said...

What's with all the telling people what they should and shouldn't do/say/think posts lately? I know its your blog and you have free reign to say whatever you want but dont you think its a little arrogant and condescending? Are you really saying someone has to be paid for something to be proficient at it? If that were true there would not be a typo in your first paragraph.

Eric Olsen said...

thanks for your feedback. i don't want this to be "my" blog. i want this to be a place that challenges those who want to grow. So, I typically write about things that have recently challenged me. I am indeed trying to teach, but only from what I am currently learning.

I believe that social awareness is a very strong suit, and for some of us, it doesn't come naturally, so we need to learn it, one post at a time.

Unknown said...

"Movies and food don't fall out of this category simply because many people experience them."

No I think they fall out because the comments people make about them are opinions, NOT expertise. It's just that some people believe they HAVE expertise in them. What expertise is there in telling someone what food or movies they like?

I don't think people should stop giving their opinions. I think they should stop believing that you are wrong if you do not agree with those opinions.

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