It’s Either Í Know Nothing’ or ‘Let Me Tell Y ou How It Is’

I’m nervous. I’m nervous because on Friday I am going to stand up in front of dozens of people in the travel business and make a speech. It won’t be a real speech, not like a politician speech, it will be a presentation. It will be about search engines and how people can make their websites do better. It’s at the Boston Globe Travel Show at the Seaport on the harbor downtown. My travel agent audience will even get two continuing ed credits for being there.

There isn’t a good reason for me to be nervous. It’s just that…well, what I’m afraid of is something that is endemic to the computer and web world. What happens is that there is always a smart alec in the back of the room who pops up and questions what you’re saying. I remember teaching a class at the cafe about photography….for novices. And of course, I get a guy in the class who knows much more than me…I kept thinking, ‘why did you take this class, anyway, if you’re so smart?!’ I do much better when I am in front of novices.

But another funny thing about the web and computers, I’ve found that people will go out of their way to demonstrate their ignorance and complete lack of understanding. They wear it proudly, like a badge. Í am absolutely clueless,’ they will tell me. “I don’t know the first thing about my computer.” These kinds of people can be big stars in other fields, yet they wilt in front of a monitor, banging their hands down in frustration and impatience over easy tasks.

So maybe this crowd of travel professionals will be like the latter, and let me tell them all I know. I do know a lot about this topic, and I’ve presented on the same subject in DC a few years ago. Just hope that there isn’t a wiseguy know-it-all in the crowd who will try to make me look bad.