A common idiom is "Don't judge a book by its cover" but I think that in this modern age this needs to rehashed into "Don't judge words by their author."

How often do we look at the author before we read an article or blog post? And how does this impact the way we absorb it? Studies have been done[1] to show that the same words coming from two different people, one a professor and one an average Joe, are interpreted differently: the professor is trusted while the average Joe is not. This can be expanded to any source of information, anything from a book to a YouTube video. In the past, these sources of information were concentrated - not everyone could write a book, but now anyone can start a blog to spread their thoughts and opinions.

In such a world, it's becoming increasingly important to come up with our own opinions and facts and applying a "trusted" filter may just be the shortcut we developed to not actually have to think about what we read. We need to be aware that knowing who the author is exposes the author's biases but it also creates biases in the reader.

Try reading something before looking at who wrote it and see if changes how you read. If you can control yourself, don't even look for the author after reading the piece.

[1] I'll try to look these up and update the post.


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