We live in the age of crowdsourcing. Technology not only makes it easier to reach out to people beyond your circle of friends and family, but to ask them for advice. It's great when you want honest opinions about whether or not an outfit makes you look like a Bangkok lady boy in clown makeup. But is it good for nuanced, grey-area decisioneering? After all, it's crowds who have elected villains to public office, made terrible movies box office successes and popularized jeggings.
Receiving advice makes us less responsible for the outcomes of a decision. You and your trusted friend (or Twitter follower) are more or less in it together. That's not always particularly healthy, but it makes coping with a problem easier. Tougher decisions requiring greater deliberation sometimes makes us hustle harder to outside counsel.
Romantic relationships comprise one of the toughest, most charged and grayest decision areas of our lives. The stakes are so high that many of us can't pull the trigger, one way or another, on our own. We ask our friends, family members, hair stylists, video store clerks and sensual masseuses for help. Maybe the advice is passable, because they've been hearing our end of the drama for ages. And if we're lucky, they know our opposite number well enough to see the situation for what it really is. Top 10 Twitters To Follow For Love Advice
But giving advice isn't always as Solomon-esque as we'd like to think. Advice can be a form of empathetic nostalgia. Sometimes the giver drops too much of his or her own experiences, fears and prejudices into a situation. The advice is then suited for the giver, rather than the person actually needing advice.
And then there's the issue of asking virtual strangers for help. Their advice would have to be more objective, because they don't know the situation. You probably don't really know where they're coming from, either. But does that make for better or just less-informed advice?
Is it worth it to ask people you don't know for relationship advice? Can it be worthwhile if you don't know their backgrounds, and they don't know your significant other? Do we crave advice so we can lay blame someone else if things don't work out?
This week, Alice suspects Timmy is up to no good and asks for help on Twitter. Like us on Facebook to check it out and offer your advice to Alice, if you feel like it.