There is a person who I know via the Internet who is known for extremely accurate gun/gear/videogame/training/combat/warload information. He and I have some of the same contacts within our networks. He mentioned something about his daily carry weapon in a conversation. Due to that conversation I copied the weapon and its configuration.
A popular instructor is known for detailed AAR’s on forums to the point that people base their equipment load outs, weapon setups, and choices of weapons – without attending his classes. I read nothing but good reviews and the subject matter was pertinent to the skill sets I was interested. I followed his advice on guns and gear and even hosted him for several courses to teach.
A forum member posted a video highlight reel of a training course and facility. I have some friends who know the main guy at the facility. I heard tremendously positive reviews about the training from multiple reputable sources. I traveled. I attended the training. I have returned for multiple attendances and I am working on being an instructor there.
All of these examples are positive influences from social media or forums. Unfortunately this is not always the case when following info found in a forum or in social media. These are powerful mediums. They can cause you to spend a lot of money, but in a good way if you are using them right.
How do you figure out who to listen to?
-Background – does this person have a background in the subject matter they are discussing?
-Networking – do people you respect within your network respect them?
-Logic – does the information provided make sense?
-Conflict – has the source’s information conflicted with itself?
-Signal to noise ratio – is there sufficient information on the topic you are studying or is there more off topic shenanigans?
All of these factors alone are not enough. Fact checking and verifying is always a good idea, no matter the source.
Now, getting that carry weapon was done pretty much blind. Roland already is a known vetted entity and I was willing to take the chance. Since that conversation and getting mine – the concept seems to have become quite popular. We have even nicknamed the configuration the “Roland Special.”