There is No Wizard of Oz


Photo credit: ISD 191 Performing Arts Programs on Flickr

I was thinking the other day about how we perceive others on the internet.

When we meet people in person, there’s something vulnerable about it—we can really see the person, look into their eyes and hear their voice. You can shake hands and see their smile and get a feel for what they’re like. We develop connections this way that we can’t do online.

Because online people seem untouchable. There’s a barrier between you and everyone else out there—a screen that stands between that personal connection. Even with video chatting and vlogs it’s not the same thing—sure you can see and hear the person, but you can’t shake hands. You can get a feel for the vibe they’re sending off or pick up on the little mannerisms the camera didn’t catch.

So it’s only natural, I suppose, that we sometimes view those online as something magical. I don’t necessarily mean random Facebook or Twitter friends (although I suppose the same could apply in certain cases), I mean bloggers. The ones that have developed some sort of authority in their field. The ones that give tips and tricks and people ask advice from. Those guys.

I want to clear the air. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you with upmost certainty that there isn’t a Wizard of Oz here, and I have a feeling he doesn’t live behind other blogger pages, either. Because regardless of what they write about, most bloggers aren’t masterminds and geniuses in their fields—they’re normal people with quirks and favorite TV shows and they make mistakes and they’re learning along the way just like you and me.

They’re normal people.

No, I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak from experience and as a blogger, I can tell you I’m learning right here along with you. I’m learning when I’m writing my posts, I’m learning when I’m attacking the manuscript in crazy #wordmongering sessions, I’m learning when I read other blogs and random books and tumbling sheer internet randomness.

There is no Wizard of Oz. At least, not here.

I say this because occasionally I get an e-mail. Not just any e-mail though, an e-mail from one of you amazing people. And sometimes I read these e-mails and it’s something really nice and I get all smiley and happy and throw hugs around like it’s nobody’s business.

But sometimes I get an e-mail that asks for advice and honestly? I’m not qualified to give advice. So I don’t. And it’s not because I don’t care and it’s not because I don’t think it’s worth my time or anything like that, it’s because I’m just like you. Learning. And I don’t have all the answers, nor will I pretend to.

Because like you, I’m figuring things out and learning along the way and the only difference between you and me is that I sit down and write about some of the things I’ve figured out three times a week. That’s it.

So if you ever write me an e-mail with advice-like questions and I don’t answer, I hope you know I’m not ignoring you. I hope you know that it’s not that I don’t care. I hope you know that I just don’t have the answers and I wish I could help, but sometimes I can’t.

And that’s all I have to say on the matter.

23 comments:

K.D. McCrite said...

This was a lovely post, written with gentle truth. Thank you.

Ava Jae said...

Of course! It was something I felt I had to put out there. I'm glad to have said it. 

Daphne said...

I'm really sorry to say that this sounds like a bit of a cop out. If people SEE you as qualified then you should give them an answer. I get dozens of emails every week and I answer every one of them! If I feel I don't have the expertise to answer them, then I point them to another source.  That just seems like basic courtesy to me. 

Ava Jae said...

I do answer most of the e-mails I get, but there have been certain ones that ask for way more than I can answer. I won't go into detail, but if it's a simple question about blogging or writing I'll do my best to answer. When it starts to go into something deeper, that's when I don't feel I'm the right person to ask. I suppose it's a matter of opinion. 

Daniel Swensen said...

From the content of your blog, it kind of seems like you give advice all the time!

Conventional blogging wisdom tells us to speak with authority, because who wants to read someone talk about how they have no clue in the world what they're doing? Well, I'm sure someone does.

Ava Jae said...

lol that almost sounds like a comedy. In all seriousness, I blog about what I figure out along the way and I suppose it comes out like advice. But I blog about the things I've already figured out--nearly always writing things and sometimes things related to social media. When I get e-mails that ask for more than that, that's when this post comes into play. 

J. A. Bennett said...

I agree, but I think if someone asks for your opinion you should give it to them. You can tell them you aren't an expert, but your advice still may ring true. We are all learning together and sometimes it helps to pick other people's brains.

Don't get offended, but I think your really smart and if someone wants help from you, and you don't know the answer you should tell them that. I've gotten question before, and I look up things and give people websites that I think they might find useful, but I pretend like I know everything, becasue even most published authors don't know everything, they only know the same things we do -- what they've learned along the way.

Okay, rant over. I only say this becasue I think your really talented and you share your knowledge on here and it helps people so they like to hear from you. Thant is all :)

Ava Jae said...

Firstly, I'm totally not offended. Input is always appreciated. :) 

I actually agree with you in most cases, and I do usually try to answer questions I get via e-mail, but occasionally I get questions that veer beyond writerly/social media/blogging things and that's when I no longer feel comfortable answering. Hope that makes sense. 

Rainy Kaye said...

I think it would be most acceptable if you reply the e-mail telling them you don't feel qualified. But I also don't think people perceiving someone as qualified makes you qualified. If that were the case, I'd be treating people as a doctor just because I began (then quit) nursing school.

David Brown said...

I think that's part of the beauty of the blogosphere, is that we're exploring this journey of life together. Thanks for being honest. I think it's important that readers not take every blog as an authoritative source, in any case.

Rainy Kaye said...

Everyone has their limit of what they can and cannot accurately give advice on, and the only problem is when people don't realize they aren't qualified. No wizard here either. The only reason I'm behind the curtain is I got tangled up in them. ;) <3

Ava Jae said...

You've pretty much summed up what I was trying to get at. Do let me know how the untangling goes. :)

Rainy Kaye said...

It's warm and cozy in the curtains. Think I'll stay :)

Rich Guy Miller said...

Great blog post! It's so honest. Just this last weekend my wife and I snuggled into a viewing of the Wizard of Oz. It inspired me, but not the way it did as a child. Yes, I am fifty years older and although I am still learning (thank God for that!), the timeless message of the movie seems to be that there is no place like home. So I blogged about what is home. http://wp.me/p1vQrM-ct I hope it helps people during the holidays if "home for the holidays" even if it isn't all the Wizard said it would be.

J. A. Bennett said...

Totally, I wouldn't answer those either :)

Susi said...

It's good to know that there are honest people like you out there. I feel the same way about learning from what others write. I love reading your blog. It's just one of those that really speaks to me and I feel I learn something every time I read one of your posts. So thanks. Have a great day!!! :)

Ava Jae said...

Warm and cozy, eh? Maybe I should get some curtains for myself...

Ava Jae said...

I actually haven't seen The Wizard of Oz in a while (in fact, I'm relatively sure the last time I watched it was on a laser disk). The concept of the wizard however seemed an appropriate metaphor. 

Ava Jae said...

Thanks so much, Susi! I really try to be honest and remain as genuine as I possibly can, so this is something I felt I needed to get out. I'm really glad you're enjoying my blog and I hope you continue to do so. Thanks so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it! 

Hope your holidays are wonderful! :)

JFeijten said...

It's obvious that what you wrote is true. Everyone knows there's that barrier when you meet people online and I guess we also all know that bloggers aren't famous writers (unless it's Neil Gaiman's blog) or scientists who know everything. They are just like everyone else. However, the way you brought that obvious truth to life on your blog was truly beautiful.  

Ava Jae said...

Thank you so much. :) 

totally free online dating said...

 Thanks! This post contains very significant ideas and facts that every reader should be followed. Great idea indeed.

Ava Jae said...

Thank you! It was a post that I really just wanted to get out there. 

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...