In the world of the internet, it's easy to lose trust in what you're reading.
Here at Go Overseas, we're acutely aware that in the last 18 months, it's become difficult to know if an article you're reading is written by someone who knows what they're talking about -- or even if the facts in that story are true. It's discouraging because it makes us worry that our readers don't know if they can trust us; if the stories and advice we're sharing are true.
We do not believe in "alternative facts," and we do not believe you do either. We do not want you to question whether the resources we provide are trustworthy and helpful. We want you to feel empowered to travel more meaningfully and deeply every time you pack you bags and grab your passport.
In a world of "fake news," we want to be real. That's why starting today, you'll start to see a brand new banner across the articles here on Go Overseas. Today, we're taking a step toward public accountability and sharing that each of our authors is an expert on the subject they're writing about.
Say Hello to Topic Experts
In the first three months of 2018, we set an internal goal: could we have at least 80% of our stories written by a writer who had direct experience in at least one of the subjects they were writing about? Would it be possible to ensure that not only are our articles great -- but that they're written by the only people who have that special knowledge we want to share?
In January, February, and March 2018, 92% of our articles were written by a Topic Expert who had direct experience in at least one topic of the story they were writing.
We are proud to report that in Q1, we had over 90% of our articles written by topic experts -- vastly exceeding our goal! We also increased how many articles we were producing, and we aimed to have a higher quality for every article we produced. We are writing and publishing "harder, better, faster, stronger," in the immortal words of Daft Punk (and/or Kanye West).
To make it public that we're working so hard to find great, knowledgeable writers and produce stories on the topics they know best, we've just launched a new feature: Topic Experts.
Why yes, I did change my avatar yesterday, thanks for noticing! 😉
In the above screenshot, I've earned the Topic Expert tag because I attended grad school abroad. I made the decision between grad school in the U.S. compared to a school overseas, and I've got unique knowledge I share in that article about how to make the right decision for your professional and academic goals.
(If you're interested in reading that article about whether grad school abroad is right for you, here's the link.)
What is a Topic Expert?
So what is a "Topic Expert" anyway?
According to Wikipedia, a Topic Expert is "a person who is an authority in a particular area or topic." People who are topic experts can also be called "subject-matter experts" or "domain experts." We chose topic expert because it's a simple phrase that conveys a lot of meaning.
On Go Overseas, when you see the "Topic Expert" tag, that means that the writer has direct experience in at least one of the topics they are writing about. Here are some examples:
In the above screenshot (taken from this article about how to study abroad as a Lit major), Chris is marked as a topic expert because A) he studied abroad and B) he studied literature abroad (and he was a literature major). The Topic Expert tag applies to him because he is writing about topics he's an expert in: he knows about how to study abroad as a Literature major because he did it himself.
Here's another example:
In the above screenshot, Elaina has earned the Topic Expert tag because she's done several volunteer abroad programs herself -- and she's worked for volunteer organizations! She's intimately connected to the subject she's writing about based on her own experiences and the relationships she's formed over the years working in the volunteer travel industry.
(Read the insights Elaina shared about what volunteering is really like.)
Rolling Out the Topic Expert Tag
Going forward, across articles where the writer has expert knowledge, you'll see the Topic Expert tag. This will take a few weeks to roll out across all of our 900+ articles, because we have to go in and manually set which topics each writer is an expert in. Eventually, you should see this tag on almost every article on Go Overseas!
This is the first version of our Topic Expert tag, so we may make future improvements to help you better understand exactly which topics each writer is an expert in on the article you're reading. Over time, we want to better show you that we value the trust you place in us -- and we want you to continue trusting us to provide you the best resources on meaningful travel on the internet.
We hope you'll continue to come back and search for the resources you need to plan your next trip -- or just to spend some time browsing through our articles.
P.S. Do you have expert knowledge you think Go Overseas readers want to know? Check out the list of stories we're looking for!