Just because it’s online doesn’t make it true!
Before you forward…
Believe what you read at it’s face value…
Do your due diligence and make the effort to verify the information. No matter how salacious or how badly you may want that information to be true, you may be surprised to find out that very often it is not.
I pride myself on being informed. But I can’t be about everything — nor can you. It’s easier to fall in line and believe what the group-think mob wants you to believe. But don’t you want to know what the facts are?
Investigate Don’t Propagate
We live in a time where there is more information at our fingertips than ever before. But that doesn’t mean that the information is legit. We tend to stay in our tribes and just follow that lead. Is that to be popular?
Or are you trying to show the world what a <insert here: virtuous, caring, trendy, cool…> person that you are? None of that matters if you have no credibility.
If you care what others think about you, you want to be that person that speaks from a point of knowledge and credibility. You want to use your critical thinking. If you don’t care what people think about you, don’t you care about being misled?
From the “forward to all your friends” emails, to social media on commendable topics, to even the comments and blog posts that are from those you know or are from sites you frequent. Never assume that that information is factual or legitimate. To do so is simply irresponsible and let’s be honest, a bit lazy considering you do have the resources available to you to separate the the wheat from the chaff…
That is if you want to know the truth.
Sadly, it appears more and more folks don’t. If they want to live their lives in willful ignorance that is their choice. But that’s not for me.
Even information you find on “well-known” websites should be questioned. Everything. Some of the biggest names can’t be trusted to give you all the facts. I find factual errors on some of the most “popular” websites all the time. The reality is many have an agenda. And it isn’t you knowing the truth.
Everything you read or see online needs to be put through a “smell test” so that you are sure about its legitimacy before you act or react and include it in an email, comment, social media or blog post. There is no such thing as blind trust online.
How do you do vet facts in a day prevalent with misinformation?
By taking the time to read and check multiple sources. Not just the sources you know are all “on the same page.” Venture out, be daring and check out the other side. Use. Your. Brain.
Read the information objectively to determine if it is presented in a balanced, reasonable and unbiased manner. You know bias when you see it. (Even if it is your own.)
Do the statements, claims or assertions seem irrational or preposterous? Be honest. Note any conflict of interest that may have influenced the assertions being made. Is the source known for being one-sided? Seek out the other side and make up your own mind.
Have some curiosity and don’t be a lemming — find out for yourself what the underlying truth may be. While you may not like the truth, why would you want to believe otherwise?
Two good sites that can help you to double-check email, social media hoaxes and current Internet scams are:
The Truth Matters
Bookmark these sites. Then use them as part of your effort to double-check anything that gives you a reason to pause or question. Critical thinking is a skill that you need to continually work at and hone. If it sounds too good to be true, ridiculous or one-sided — do a double-check.
By doing so you join those smart and savvy onliners who don’t believe everything that is fed to them online or lands in their inbox. Because you choose to think for yourself.