Today’s article will tell you all about how you can stop believing everything that you read online and start getting more informed in a smart way regarding your life decisions, including your purchases, nutrition, travel expenses and, most importantly, your wellbeing.
Has it recently occurred to you that everything that you read online seems exaggerated? Do you feel that all the stories, all the comments, all the cases are a bit too much? Since the Internet is a continuously growing sensation that offers us countless advantages, including open access to information, to history, geography, medicine and all the sciences and disciplines, entertainment, opportunities to launch your career, to brush upon your skills, whatever these may be, people have started to consider it primordial. Who doesn’t freak out when the Wi-Fi connection is down? Who doesn’t want to be always ‘reachable’, even in remote places? Who doesn’t love the idea of simply typing in a few words and getting the results he needs?
The Internet, however, has countless downsides, including over exposure, diminishing the quality time spent with your loved ones, promoting fatigue for overuse (eyes get sore, back pain because of the same sitting position), as well as getting access to information which is not accurate. Nowadays, it seems that everyone is a writer, a critic, a political scientist, a doctor, a relationship expert, a vet, an engineer and the list goes on. You automatically bump into the opinions and reviews of simple minded individuals who are not at all qualified to offer advice or who might take a piece from the news and add countless lies or personal opinions, creating a distorted image.
What is even worse is that what one publishes online, either in the form of social network post or personal blog news, is taken into consideration by individuals and shared on other platforms, forums or other cyber spaces, thus creating an even shattered image of the real event that happened, the product, the procedure or course of action.
It is only logical that the things some people write are seriously considered by those easy to persuade or who do not really know how to make a distinction between professionals and ‘wannabes’. There are so many wrong pieces of news or tips on the World Wide Web that it makes it extremely easy for people to convey inaccurately or simply dangerous information. Furthermore, it should be said that it is not only about some reviews regarding poor customer service at a hotel or restaurant, but it has more to do about the opinions of future course of action regarding wellbeing.
Some people post misinformed pieces of advice in the hopes of helping those battling serious diseases or illnesses. This is when the power of the Internet can lead to our demise. The Internet has certain ways of working just like ‘word of mouth’ recommendations. “A friend told a friend of a friend who tried something and worked miraculously in treating cancer”. “I read about a woman who saw a documentary online about a guy who managed to find ultimate happiness by doing this or that”. “My colleague knows somebody who knows somebody who has tried this recipe and works great”.
All these are applicable in the online community. And let’s face it, persuasion is very strong not only face to face but also online, particularly when the information is presented in such a way as to attract you irremediably and to make you think about it countless hours. For instance, if you try to find a piece of clothing online and stumble upon an ad that says something like “100% cotton, 10 times cheaper than regular stores” that also comes with a strong visual, you are automatically hooked.
You no longer think about hitting the same boring store you always go to and buy the pieces of clothing you know are made of the finest fabrics. You want to try something new, something as vibrant and exciting as the fabulous slim and toned model on the poster. And this is how you go from your old ways to trying new things. Yet new does not necessarily mean better. Oftentimes, when a website seems a bit shady and the promotions keep pouring, it won’t be the case. Naturally…
The bad thing is that there are so many people who believe those who are social media experts, those with 30 likes in the first 15 minutes, those whose Facebook wall is forever full of posts and comments. Yet you have to acknowledge the fact that social media does not work on who says the better things, but who has most friends and who is ‘believable’. A guy who works in tourism might be portrayed as a fantastic mechanic at the first glimpse.
If he posts news of cars and new vehicle features and brags a little bit about his skills, his friends might think that he is an expert. And they like his photos, his everlasting comments upon service DIYs or his ‘true story’ posts. And then you come along and see how famous he is online and how so many people treat him like a vehicle expert. Yet, maybe he is a simple man with a hobby, no expertise, no noted education or any connection to mechanics and how to repair a car. This is why it is important to try to stop believing everything that you read online, for your sake and for the sake of others.
Nowadays, it seems that feelings are the currency of the internet economy. People break the barriers imposed by distance and cyber exclusivity and connect with others, inspiring them, winning their trust and managing to inspire them. Whist there are so many urges to hit the Share button on Facebook due to fuzzy emotional things, smart or interesting quotes or real outrages regarding morality, we strongly recommend to do your homework beforehand.
You simply cannot just take something and assume it was said by you or you just cannot believe the words a person typed in at 2 a.m. in the morning, especially when it comes to health, nutrition, science or wellbeing in general. Just read a couple of reviews before trying a product, open more tabs and not the first one that pops in the Google search engine, try other search engines as well. You could take the Internet article to a specialist if you have any doubts and have no idea whether the item or the service is indeed invaluable to you. Ask nutritionists and dietitians before enrolling into a free of charge trial program for a dietary supplement or cream. Maybe it would be helpful to hit the library for a change, instead of reading countless pieces of news online.
Sometimes books go through more than one filter and the information provided in them can be a little bit more accurate, more researched. This is particularly valid for books tackling history, geography, economics or politics. People have done their part in reading scientists’ works and have compiled an entire collection of sources to quote to make their book more valuable. Thus, you cannot go wrong by seeking other sources as well. Take, for instance, video documentaries. It is only logical that people who have created the montage have taken inspiration from others and have put on their best thinking caps to provide the general audience with a view that can be as accurate as possible.
Let’s look a little bit at two cases. Two stories seem to have broken the Internet in the past, being directly connected to uninformed news spreading. The first is a piece of inaccurate reporting distributed by a CBS News affiliate. Allegedly, groups of African-American teenagers wandered the streets in a small town beating Caucasian boys and girls. The whole confrontation was a sort of violent competition which carried the name ‘knockout game’.
Of course, people started Googling the incident and countless shares and reposts were made. Searches for the ‘knockout game’ also appeared everywhere on the World Wide Web, from forums, social media networks, blogs and so on and so forth. Here is the main problem: the knockout game is solely a myth that has been used in three completely different incidents across the United States of America. Some sources have even released footage of the game, with the title suggesting that the horrific events will duplicate, instigating fear among small communities and public educational institutions.
Children, but also parents and teachers alike became fearful of the fact that the mass action will spread and will create bigger damage in all cities of America. However, if we just take the time to research a little bit what the term ‘knockout game’ entails, we would be able to see that this is nothing else than an urban myth. A Jersey City Police Spokesman told mass media after the entire episode was over that things got out of hand and that the whole concept was nothing but an urban myth. The reality of a gang of African-American teenagers being mortal enemies with white Caucasian youngsters is nothing but a scam.
And who knows who started the charade and with what purpose. Clearly, this is a pretty smart intent of instigating fear and institutionalizing racism. And apparently, it worked, as many individuals took the news for granted and even prepared in the event of a violent incident of bigger proportions. What is more, the media hype did not stop one Republican from proposing a deterrent act, stipulating that teenagers can be under trial and receive jail time up to 20 years. Talk about consequences!
This news piece was shared by countless individuals and people claim to have become very aware of how social media or mass media, in general, can affect their lives. Furthermore, claims following the hype about the game all seem to be connected to terror, raised the level of stress and a tendency to hatred. Racism is a very serious thing and to come up with a story this sensitive and this horrifying only proves how one computer, a few images and bad agenda can set the world on fire.
The second example is yet again connected to shattering the fine line between trust in humanity and hatred. A waitress at a bistro in New Jersey photographed the receipt she took from the owners of the restaurant. Being openly gay, the young waitress received a written message on the receipt worth of $93. The clients bashed her for her way of life and sexual orientation, noting also that she will not receive any tip because of that. Of course, the photo was posted on Facebook and people immediately started to react. At that time, it reached 4,000 shares and more than 10,000 likes. Here’s the problem, though: the couple that saw the big hype on social media stood up and went open about it. They went to NBC New York and showed their own copy of the receipt.
The tip was of $18. They also said that they always treat their waitresses or bartenders nicely, appreciating their effort into offering a satisfactory customer service and working long hours for them to enjoy a lunch or a nice dinner out in the town. Their credit card statement showed clearly the sum, the date and the time of payment. Among other evidence, the one that interests us is the $111.55 for the meal. The problem is that the owners of the restaurant had taken things so out of hand and had supported their employee. After the scandal, both they and the waiter refused to offer any comments on the revelation. This only shows how a distorted image can affect you and those around you, the incident becoming of greater and greater proportions. This is why you should stop believing everything that you read online and select your sources carefully.
Put in a little extra effort in order to make a truly smart decision. This is very important, as you will get the chance to pounder upon certain things and verify the information. And this is perhaps the single most important thing for a consumer or a person desperately trying to find out all about a disease he is battling. Verification is without a shade of doubt key. It lets you get the facts straight without worrying too much and it enables you to form your own opinion about a fact, an action, a product, a service, a community or a future important decision to make. It makes you the arbiter and, aside from helping you develop your research skills and making your time more efficient and your life easier, it also allows you to pounder upon what is wrong and what is right. You will develop your mindset and get accustomed to making informed decisions, a fact which will only have positive outcomes.