Friday, January 05, 2007

Get your video watched by billions!

I'm growing increasingly impatient with AOL. Or at least, the folks that AOL has in charge of content. Seems that, of late, if they're not (stupidly and illogically) trying to implant doubt in your mind about some aspect of your life that you shouldn't be worrying about, they're (stupidly and illogically) trying to reassure you about something you shouldn't be reassured about. Earlier this week AOL went back to headlining its feature on "signs you're heading for divorce," whose flaws and fallacies we covered in a previous blog. (I guess they figured, hey, what better way to start the new year than by making perfectly happy subscribers second-guess their marriages.) Today now, a top feature is "You Don't Need School to Succeed," which, when you click through, provides a half-dozen examples of celebrities who "made it" without going to college. Gee, another brilliant idea from AOL: Why not try to talk one of their core demographics (kids in their late teens and early 20s, who are notoriously balky anyway when it comes to "doing what they're supposed to do") out of comitting 100 percent to their education!

In study after study, the vast majority of people who (a) didn't finish college and (b) aren't named Gates earn dramatically less than those who went farther in school. To take someone like Sir Richard Branson, featured in today's AOL story, and use him as an illustration of why you don't really need schooling is almost as ridiculous* as using Saddam Hussein as an example of "how to get your video the top spot on YouTube!" Sure, it "worked." But it's not really the approach you want to take.

* not quite, but almost.

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