Everything on the internet is NOT true. Bombshell? Hardly. But everyday I scroll through my timeline I am overwhelmed with the urge to make those words my cover photo as a desperate reminder to some of my FB connections because time after time I encounter, as my friend would so eloquently call, “cow pon mackerel tin” i.e foolishness.
We all have that person on our timeline who discovers a VERY IMPORTANT article just floating in their timeline (Michael Jackson died 20 years ago guys! We’ve been watching his clone!). They “read” it and then, 10 seconds later (because thats how long it takes to skim through the “details”) they are consumed with such outrage or bowled over with such awesomeness that for a whole minute this article is what they rave about. That is, until they find ANOTHER really important one, that is damned near as crazy as the last….
Did someone just come to mind? Or did i just describe you? Well if this is someone you know, I am happy to announce that I can save you from becoming one of “those” people. If this is you then, well, call me consultant because sweetheart I am just about to save your online reputation! (I accept payment in cash and cash)
The act of sharing in the online space is of great importance because it reflects who you are, and where your interests lie. A like may be interpreted as an accepting nod to something that interests you but your shares are a brazen purple headed mohawk of a statement that screams “THIS! I connect with THIS!” in a space where we have the opportunity to highlight a variety of things. Now when such a huge weighting is placed on something that we do so often shouldn’t we at least make an effort to make the right impression? I think so.
1. Check Your Sources
There it is. The headline screams for your attention and the by-line seduces you with promises of an article that will scintillate and excite. But before you give up 3 minutes of your life for absolute cow dung ask yourself this, who is sharing this and who wrote this?
Chances are if it is that friend we described earlier then maaaaaybeeeeeeeeeee its another string of words pretending to be an article, just for the fun of it. Add to that an author source from something like The Onion and ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! A dead ringer for absolute (*insert French accent here*) garbage.
Check out http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/handy-rundown-internets-fake-news-sites for a comprehensive list of these sites.
2. Check the Details
This means go ahead and read the article. But take what you are reading with a grain of salt. Now is the time to read through the ENTIRE article carefully. Are there inconsistencies? Does something not make sense? When was this article written and by whom? Take care to read the whole thing because many satire articles tend to use existing information, people and scenarios you may be familiar with to start and then go all kinds of crazy midway through.
3. Verify Information
If the article has passed through the sieves 1 & 2 then its time to put your comfy undies because it is time to re-read and do some research. Even the most obscure information leaves a trail and can be verified. Trying searching keywords in the article and see what it “Bings” up (get it? Bing? Bring?! #genius). Too many options that you are equally unsure about? Then try searching the search engines of more trusted sources (BBC, CNN, Huffington etc.)
At this point if your article has passed these checks then by all means, share away! Granted there may be something here or there that slips past but chances are your shares will be brain cell approved.
If all else fails, then feel free to fall back on the default action for smart social media which is if you aren’t sure, do not share.
Join the fight! Share this article with your friends and help save the world from crappy information one click at a time.
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