Monday, January 6, 2014

See For Yourself

Opinions. Oh, opinions. Everyone has one. Most people love to give them.

It used to be that an opinion was somewhat of a commodity. Before the internet (oh my gosh do I sound old or what?), opinions came from "credible sources." Whether that be in a newspaper, on a news broadcast, in a magazine, an opinion in media was at least LESS rare than it is now. This made hearing opinions kind of interesting, and it also caused people to kind of trust opinions of credible critics. Some people even made their livelihoods on being a critic (and some still do).

These days, anyone with internet access and a social media account can tell the world what they think of anything and everything. There are reviews enough to drown yourself in if you feel like it. There are stars being flung back and forth faster than ninjas throw shuriken. News articles or opinion pieces get shared faster than people can fact check. Stuff goes viral, which is a rather disturbing term if you really think about it. Before you can even see an episode of your favorite show, people a few time zones ahead will be telling you how they felt about the show and possibly spoiling it for you.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm kind of on opinion overload.

Don't worry, I'm aware of the certain irony that comes in writing an opinion piece on opinions, but I just can't help myself.

Frankly, I'm a little tired of hearing people say something along the lines of, "Oh, I heard that fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-media-you-want wasn't that great/over-hyped." If you start digging after this statement, you quickly find that they saw someone on a social media site saying this. Thus they have decided to adopt the opinion without seeing for themselves if they share it. As a creator, this makes me sad because some people may not pick up my work though they may ultimately like it. As a FAN, this makes me sad because people might be missing out on something awesome just because a friend said they didn't like it (or maybe not even a friend but an acquaintance or someone clever they follow on social media).

Here's the thing: I don't like everything my friends like.

It's true! And you know what? Not all of them like what I like. Some of my friends think I'm downright nuts for watching as much Kdrama as I do, and I can't get any of them to watch anime or not laugh when I say pro-gaming is awesome. Yes, my closest friends DO NOT share these common interests with me. And I'm not so much into some of their favorite things, either. I have a friend who loves country music, and one who buys all things Batman, and more than a few who like to run for pleasure (I mean, what?).

While I respect my friends' opinions, I'm also very aware that I might not share them. And that is OKAY. Friends all having to like the same things (and hate the same things) is something we should all put away in, like, grade school.

I'm not saying opinions are bad, just…I really encourage people to see for themselves. If you're excited about a movie, don't let other bad opinions stop you. Just because some people "weren't impressed," doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. In our ever-increasing critical society, it's hard to just ENJOY something, I know. It feels like the whole internet wants to challenge your enjoyment and tell you it's stupid.

But remember this—when it comes to consuming media, it's YOUR opinion that matters most in what you view, read, and listen to. You are allowed to love stuff other people might not. You shouldn't take a "I wasn't impressed by this book/movie/song/TV show" as the final verdict—you might feel totally different.

It's hard to erase all those opinions if you consume a lot of social media, to go into something with an open mind or even excitement, but I always end up enjoying something more when I do.

So, you know, the next time you hear an opinion, maybe decide to see for yourself anyway.


  1. Love, love, love this post. What a good reminder! Thanks!

  2. Interesting thoughts (and yes, the irony of writing an opinion piece on opinions is pretty awesome ^^). I think it's good to remind people that it's okay to like different things, regardless of what others think.

    On the other hand, I really like having access to all these different opinions online. Free time is limited these days, and I'm glad to be warned off spending time or money on a book/movie I won't like. Granted, I'm very picky about reading posts/reviews and try to only "listen" to people whose tastes in those media are similar to mine; even those I take with a heavy helping of salt. Of course, I'm probably the most critical person I know, so it's more that they have to watch out for my reviews. ;)

  3. Once fully formed, my opinions can be pretty strong; but in their developmental stages, they're highly susceptible to outside influence. So if I'm pretty sure I want to view/read/whatever a thing, I try to avoid taking in anyone's opinion on it until my own have been given half-a-chance to grow independently. /After/ I've more or less decided my own feelings on the matter, I'm happy to compare and contrast them with others', when it's too late to totally sour me or raise my expectations to unrealistic heights. (:

  4. I'm in this phase where I don't take anybody's opinions seriously, including my own. I don't get offended easily and I love arguing because I get to see someone else's pov.
    As far as media goes, I wish people would only post opinions on things they watch/read/listen to themselves. When someone criticizes a book they haven't read I feel like a parent feeding a toddler spinach. "How do you know you hate it if you won't try it?"

  5. Funny, my own post this morning relates to this in a tangential way. Not only are we allowing people to tell us what's what, we're allowing Facebook and Amazon and every other place to tell us what we like by 'suggesting' things.

  6. Great post! I have a lot of hobbies and things I enjoy that many of friends do not. Doesnt stop me :)

  7. I do this with books a lot! :) Sometimes my friends will say a book sucks...but I love the premise so much I still go after it. I can't not! What if I miss an awesome book? I still value and respect my friends' opinions. I'm just happy to make my own too. Awesome post!

  8. Great post! I always try to like the things my friends like, and most of the time, I don't. lol I've learned being myself and trying things out for myself is best.

  9. I do read reviews and all, but ultimately if I'm really excited about a movie or book, I just can't help checking it out!