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Online Credibility

In this day and age of FREE advice, suggestions & tutorials on the web....how does one go about determining what's valid and what should be disregarded?

I can't tell you how many times I've heard......"The internet is full of bad advice and information".

Unfortunately, it's true!

There is an incredible amount of misdirection & incompetence....some deliberate, some not.

So what's the answer? What's a poor site surfing seeker of information to do?

The answer is simple.

We need to become more discriminating consumers. We have to force ourselves to examine & evaluate our sources of information.

 

The biggest obstacle to validation is also one of the biggest advantages to operating online.....anonymity!

The internet offers the perfect opportunity to pretend, or to function in relative obscurity.

As long as we talk a good game, we can masquerade as whoever or whatever we chose.

While there are valid reasons for wishing to hide one's online identity, there are at least as many questionable ones.

That being the case, internet trust should be earned, not given indiscriminately.

 

For musician/songwriters, the internet can be an incredibly useful tool. Sites like Songstuff.com provide an environment for people with similar interests to learn and interact. They also serve as a breeding ground for posers. Over the past 7+ years, I've gotten to know some great people! Unfortunately, not everyone fits into that category. Some choose to present themselves as more than they actually are. Often, it takes a while to figure out who's who, but that's a necessary part of the process.

 

So, how does one go about verifying online credibility?

Well hopefully, the individual in question has made that a simple task.

I'll use myself as an example.

  • I have little need or desire to mask my internet persona. In a nutshell, what you see is what you get! My name is Tom Hoffman.....I chose the Songstuff member name "tunesmithth" because my primary website is tune-smith.com and my initials are TH. I deliberately avoid exaggerating my musical credentials. What credentials I do claim, are easily verified.
  • The "About Me" section of my Songstuff member profile is detailed, historically accurate & publically available. It refers to me by actual name and member name, as does my "Tips & Tidbits" blog. It also provides a link to the Metro St. Louis Historical Site http://www.stlmusicyesterdays.com/Nickels.htm. You'll find my name listed near the top.
  • My Songstuff member signature, which displays at the bottom of every post I make, includes 6 links.....3 Youtube channels, my Facebook personal profile, tune-smith.com and "Tips & Tidbits". All clickable & readily available for examination.
  • Provided on those sites are 20+ original mp3s, ringtones, drum tutorials / demonstrations, guitar demonstrations, music videos, published articles, photos, etc.
  • The Library of Congress website is searchable by song title, or registrant name. Either will yield a history of copyright registrations for Tom Hoffman. They're a matter of public record.
  • What I never list on the internet is my exact date of birth, where I went to school, political preference, religious affiliation, etc. Identity thieves, data collection entities & special interest groups are the primary beneficiaries of details like that.

 

So....given that I've provided all the resources necessary to make an assessment of my musical qualifications, does that mean you should trust my online advice?

In a word, NO!

But it does mean that I've done my part.

All I can do is make the information available. It's your responsibility to research, evaluate & decide who to place your trust in!

No one can do that for you and you shouldn't want them to. After all, you're the one who will pay the price for being wrong.

 

When it comes to my own online interactions, I operate by a simple rule. Unless you've done your part, I'll probably disregard your advice. Sorry, but if I can't verify that you're qualified to offer me the advice, I won't be taking it seriously! I'll respond courteously, thanking you for your insights. I simply won't act on them! Why would I? If you're a relative stranger and you haven't bothered to provide some sort of qualifying credentials, how would you expect anyone to take you seriously?

In fact....shame on anyone who does!

 

So where does that leave the individual who's bound and determined to maintain online anonymity?

As I mentioned earlier, there are legitimate reasons for choosing to do so. Unfortunately, those reasons don't outweigh our need to verify.

Bottom line....if people aren't in a position to supply something, they can't be taken seriously!

Life's a trade-off.

People who truly have the need to operate anonymously should be willing to recognize the limitations imposed by that.

Fair or not, it's impossible to "consider the source" when that source is a nameless, faceless internet entity :blush:

 

Do yourself a favor.....take the time to learn something about folks who offer you online advice & information.

If you don't, there's a pretty good chance it'll be worth exactly what you paid for it ........NOTHING

As always, comments and feedback are welcome.

 

Tom Hoffman

Songstuff member profile

http://www.tune-smith.com

http://www.youtube.com/user/DrumStuffTH



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Appreciate that a lot John!

Honestly, it's tough to write something like this. Hopefully I skirted the edges enough to avoid offending anyone specific, or coming across as too self-serving. Guess I'll find out...eh?

Thanks again!

Tom

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Online Credibility

 

Nice oxymoron. 

 

Yeah, the truth is out there LOL, but it's given the same weight as all the falsehoods. And it will only get worse. More and more sites will gladly take money from people that want a story (i.e. advertisement) posted for them. The credibility of the Internet won't be higher than it is at this exact moment for a long, long time. As more people get hacked and intruded upon by the internet, more and more people will slowly become cautious from the sting. As far as credible content, that is what happens when everyone is put on the same level of the playing field. BillyJoeJimBob's blog about how wiping your ass with sponges will make you live longer ends up in searches right along with the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other "once upon a time" big and credible companies. Not saying that's good or bad, I'm just saying that's how BS gets slipped in with credible content. 

 

My real name is Randy but around here I go by Just1L.

On Reverbnation my name is BuffaloWayneJohnsonRhetoricallySpeaking

You can find me at:

www.MyrealnameisRandybutaroundhereIgobyJust1LOnReverbnationmynameisBuffaloWayneJohnsonRhetoricallySpeaking.com

 

Be mindful of typos and it IS case sensitive. :)

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Damndest thing Randy....can't seem to get those links to work!

Pasted 'em into my browser & everything. LOL

 

Do appreciate the comments though!

 

Tom

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BTW - The article doesn't mention this, but as an add-on comment, it may help avoid future misunderstandings.

I do realize that I'm an extreme example of online openness. My life happens to be structured in a way that makes this possible. I'm not suggesting that everyone should be like me....offering this many online resources for examination.

What I am suggesting is this....you have to provide something !

"How much" will depend on the specific individual and the surrounding circumstances.

 

Tom

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Great post, Tom!

 

To My Fellow Songstuffers:

 

I'm pretty guarded with my identity and privacy online.  I think I have good reasons for being so, and in any event, it's my choice.  I'm not here pretending to be someone I'm not.  I like to think that I can earn some "credibility" in your mind solely by what I contribute here on Songstuff - with both my work and my opinions - even if I don't volunteer much else about me.  But, there is no doubt that Tom's advice is very wise advice indeed.  So, if you will be suspicious of me or think I'm "a poser" who shouldn't be taken seriously because I'm guarded - if what I'm willing to share isn't enough to earn your consideration - so be it.  I can live with that, and respect you for it.  I don't mind a bit if you ignore me.  I'm ignored all the time by people who do know me, and know me really well.  In fact, there just may be a correlation there. ;)  Truth be told, the glimpses you might get of me here on Songstuff are, I think, glimpses of the real me - much more so than who I have to appear to be day-to-day in "the real world."  That's where I really feel like "a poser."  In my music, and here where I share it, is where I feel much freer to just be myself.  Anyway . . .

 

Here's Posin' For Ya!

 

:)

David

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....appreciate your time and comments Mr. David!

Comments are helpful on a couple different levels. They let me know that people actually read these articles and they provide a way to further develop/clarify what I was trying to say. Honestly, if I put everything into the articles, they'd be so long that no one would ever read them. LOL

Situations similar to yours were what I was trying to allow for in putting this article together. There are folks who have a genuine need for privacy and you're absolutely correct in pointing out that online transparency is an individual choice. That being said, don't sell yourself short! In my opinion, your online expectations are realistic and you're transparent enough for the topics I see you chime in on.

  • You spend a great deal of time reviewing (critiquing) both lyrics and recorded works. From what I've experienced, your advice is generally sound. More importantly, if other members wish to check your musical credentials, you've provided enough to make that possible. You've posted plenty of your own songs and lyrics here, gotten to know most of the long-time board members pretty well, and make a good selection of original music available on your public Soundcloud site. In my mind, that's more than enough for someone to decide if they should take your advice seriously. You've done your part!
  • Many of the other topics you advise on concern legal technicalities...copyright law, asset protection, etc. For the most part, when I've seen you post on these kinds of questions, you include outside reference sources in your responses. Again....in my opinion, that's the way to go about. You're not asking folks to simply take your word. You've provided the means by which they can....and should, check it out for themselves. Nothing wrong or questionable about that!

As long as you don't present yourself as an expert on subjects like "How to make a million in the music industry", I think you're operating on solid ground. BTW - you won't see me posting on topics of that nature either! :shifty:

 

Truth be told, the glimpses you might get of me here on Songstuff are, I think, glimpses of the real me - much more so than who I have to appear to be day-to-day in "the real world." That's where I really feel like "a poser." In my music, and here where I share it, is where I feel much freer to just be myself.

 

 

Nothing wrong with the above statement. We both know that, in "The Real World" of business (*didn't think I missed that reference, did ya'?), the emphasis has to be on doing what works. The parts of ourselves that don't move us closer to that goal, we try our best to leave at home....where they won't jump up and bite us in the ass. Ya' know? Here, we have the opportunity to be ourselves. Here, I'm not concerned about what someone may want me to say, or what may be in my best interest to say. I simply worry about giving the best, most honest answer I can provide and let the chips fall where they may. Some feel that makes me a bit of an asshole, but like I said, what you see is what you get.

Thanks again!

Tom

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Thanks for your insight Tom, and of course everyone else's thoughts.

 

From my own perspective I find it to be a difficult balance between telling all and possibly coming across as a braggart, and just giving enough information so that people can check me out further if they so wish. Many of my friends in the music business don't even show their photo or give any links or information on their profile except for their title or position in a company. 

 

I am now getting on in years (67) and am beyond worrying too much about anything. I've done my apprenticeship via the school of hard knocks since the age of 15 and prefer to help younger people whenever I can spare the time.

 

http://www.midaskingproductions.com/raymond-fry.html

 

Edited by Ray888
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Many of my friends in the music business don't even show their photo or give any links or information on their profile except for their title or position in a company. 

 

Yeah, everyone views these things differently.

As for your friends who offer no clue about who they are, it's absolutely their right to do so. 

I simply won't be taking their advice. ;) 

 

...appreciate the read & comment !

 

Tom

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 I find it to be a difficult balance between telling all and possibly coming across as a braggart, and just giving enough information so that people can check me out further if they so wish.

 

Honestly, I feel you've done a pretty good job of it Ray.

Within hours of you joining Songstuff, I paid a visit to your website. Providing that link as part of your profile made that simple. The information contained on that site, along with what you provided here on Songstuff made me very comfortable with who you are and that you speak from experience.

 

That being said, I do know what you mean!

Though my musical credentials pale in comparison to yours, it was years before I was willing to publically share details of how tunesmithth came to be.

As you said, there's a thin line between putting it out there & bragging about it. :blush: 

But in the end, I decided that truth was truth...all I could really do was put the information out there. How that information's perceived is beyond our control.

The fact that much of what I am musically came after the age of 40 simply is what it is...that's how it happened. It's certainly not the norm...& I get that to some, it comes across like fabricated BS. But personally, I take a certain amount of pride in the fact that I was able to do it. For someone like myself, if I can't take some pride in my accomplishments, what the hell's the point?

It's not as if I'm in it for the fame & fortune, ya' know? ^_^ 

 

Tom

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5 hours ago, tunesmithth said:

 

Yeah, everyone views these things differently.

As for your friends who offer no clue about who they are, it's absolutely their right to do so. 

I simply won't be taking their advice. ;) 

 

...appreciate the read & comment !

 

Tom

Not all of my friends are so cagey, I think that the ones who are light on their profile don't wish to be inundated with calls or emails because they have to deal with enough as it is. 

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1 hour ago, tunesmithth said:

 

Honestly, I feel you've done a pretty good job of it Ray.

Within hours of you joining Songstuff, I paid a visit to your website. Providing that link as part of your profile made that simple. The information contained on that site, along with what you provided here on Songstuff made me very comfortable with who you are and that you speak from experience.

 

That being said, I do know what you mean!

Though my musical credentials pale in comparison to yours, it was years before I was willing to publically share details of how tunesmithth came to be.

As you said, there's a thin line between putting it out there & bragging about it. :blush: 

But in the end, I decided that truth was truth...all I could really do was put the information out there. How that information's perceived is beyond our control.

The fact that much of what I am musically came after the age of 40 simply is what it is...that's how it happened. It's certainly not the norm...& I get that to some, it comes across like fabricated BS. But personally, I take a certain amount of pride in the fact that I was able to do it. For someone like myself, if I can't take some pride in my accomplishments, what the hell's the point?

It's not as if I'm in it for the fame & fortune, ya' know? ^_^ 

 

Tom

Hey Tom,

If I have learnt anything over the years it is the fact that the past is the past and we are only as good as what we create today.

 

There are many who have amazing past records but were unable to keep up to date with the changes that today's music demands and I have to admit that I am one of them. Today I don't have the drive that I once had and I create for the sake of creating. I'm just lucky enough to have some composers and producers who still like what I do, and as long as that is the case I will be writing till the day I die.

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