Here’s some valuable advice.
Try not to fool yourself into believing that you have a knowledge you simply don’t have. The internet is a weird and wonderful place. It is filled with information and opinion. Some of the information that is just a click away is evidence based and well supported with research. Some… not so much. The danger is not being able to tell the difference. There are many examples of where “celebrity” uninformed opinion catches fire and sways people into an action. Sometimes the WRONG action. Research “Anti-Vaxers” and you see enough information to write several books about how a small group of ill-informed, opinionated people can ignore overwhelming, evidence based, peer reviewed medical knowledge and create a severe harm to their fellow humans. It seems redundant now but an additional search for “Dr. Oz” will have you see many other excellent examples of unsupported opinion gone terribly wrong.
Critical Thinking is not an option with today’s internet, it is essential.
Doing a “Google” search and believing the top ten things you read could put you into serious trouble. Popular doesn’t mean GOOD. Nor does Google validate what it finds. In a world of viral videos, self-published blogs and celebrity tweets causing huge reactions in our known universe, it is required that one does a bit of research before they are “convinced” they “know what is going on.” This is essential if people have an overwhelming urge to share “what they believe” on their Facebook page. Of course, they’ll be asking everyone to share because it’s “outrageous.” Something that people may want to reserve for only those cute cat/dog videos until they’ve done their own diligent research.
It is reported that every hour over 100 hours of Youtube video is loaded. I don’t know that to be true BUT If even a small portion of that is quality information, it is impossible to keep up with the well-informed, well-researched information. So this requires us all to be diligent by doing our own research.
What Can You Do?
I just entered into a lengthy conversation with someone who had based support for their “opinion” on a Google search of the subject. The ill-informed person made himself believe that his opinion was validated because Google had returned a positive support for his opinion. My goodness, not only is this individual highly misinformed about the subject but also the very process Google uses to rank webpages. So what should you do so you do not readily fall victim to such ill-informed process?
Considering the source, reading alternative viewpoints and checking the “myth checker” websites is pretty much the first place to start. It’s important to see what the “alternative view” to your position is. If you don’t have the time to do that then perhaps you don’t have the time to actually form an opinion of your own. It’s old advice but worth repeating… “It pays to have an open mind, but not so open that your Brains Fall Out!” – Carl Sagan