According to industry leaders, you are wasting your time. I mean right now, by reading this. In my recent trolling of tobacco blogs by professionals in the field, (blenders, writers, retailers, etc) I have noticed a recurring theme in the last few months. It was well summed up in the most recent post of a noted writer for a pipe magazine. "...and the opinions posted by internet bloggers, whose opinion is most likely invalid, should be disregarded....". Wow.
That hurt me. On an anonymous, yet somehow still personal level, it hurt. Without knowing me, or anyone like me, who writes for the joy of it instead of for a paycheck. Without knowing our experience, background, talent, or time invested, we have been cast aside. Apparently, the only opinions of value are those of professionals. Is there such a thing as an invalid OPINION? Can a personal view be wrong? Our tastes, likes, and dislikes differ. This is what makes us unique. Even while reading the opinion of others, though, we should be careful. That particular writer's opinion differs from mine, obviously, but I will not stop reading his work. If we only pay heed to views that already agree with ours, we cease to grow. If we can't at least try to see things from another's point of view, we stagnate. That's how creativity dies. Not every religious type is preachy and anti-evolutionary, just as not every athiest is pushy and self-superior. Give the other guy a chance. Try not to get angry at their supposed lack of education on the matter. Don't assume they have a lack of insight because it opposes your insight. Try, just try to look at things from the other side in a caring and understanding way. You might come out of it a better person. Oh, and looking at it through a cloud of pipe smoke may help you ease into it.