Discovery Channel knows "it’s a tough job separating truth from urban legend", but that’s exactly the job they took on in Mythbusters , their science TV program. The show is popular in large part because of its unusual special effects, which it uses to disprove certain popular beliefs, Internet rumors, and other myths.
Mythbusting is used in many fields to disprove what researchers suspect might be counterproductive thinking. The University of Cambridge, for example, conducted a study on stickleback fish, in order to disprove the theory that leaders are born. "Our study shows that the process by which leaders and followers emerge is a dynamic one…Individuals aren’t simply born leaders or followers, but their role in a pair….is the result of social feedback where everyone plays a role," concluded Cambridge researcher Andrea Manica.
I’m a firm believer that myth debunking is a great use for corporate blogs. That’s because in the natural course of doing business, misunderstandings about a product or service often surface in the form of customer questions and comments. Addressing misinformation in a company’s blog shines light on the owner’s special expertise, besides offering information that is valuable to readers. De-mystifying matters can make your blog into a "go-to" source for readers seeking information in your field.
There’s a "rub", as Shakespeare would say, and it lies in the danger of rubbing readers the wrong way! People generally don’t like to have their assertions and assumptions challenged, even when they come to your blog seeking information on what you sell, what you do, and what you know about!
It’s kind of like camels. In Zoo Vet, David Taylor observed that "Camels may build up a pressure cooker of resentment towards human beings. A camel handler can calm the animal by handing over his coat to the beast, who "gives the garment hell – jumping on it, biting it, tearing it to pieces… then, man and animal can live together in harmony again."
John Lloyd and John MItchenson offer this fascinating camel psychology insight right after busting a widely held myth about camels storing water in their humps. (Part of me resented being told that something I’d taken as true for all of my life was in fact a lie – camels store fat , not water in their humps, I learned from reading "The Book of General Ignorance".)
Lloyd and Mitchenson promptly handled my resentment by "throwing me a coat" in the form of interesting new information about how trainers handle camel "snits". My anger at having my beliefs challenged swiftly disarmed, I vowed to employ similar strategies in my blog posts: When debunking myths, follow by throwing readers a "coat" – offer some intriguing, little-known information on the company’s products or services.