Monday, January 05, 2009

It's on the Internet, so it must be true...

I've been browsing the Wild Wild Web World Wide Web since about the time the first Mosaic Netscape browser was released in late 1994. I even had my own domain name (see here) as early as 1996. Why do I mention all this? To show that I've been around these parts long enough to feel at home on the Internet. I've come to learn that you can find absolutely anything that you are looking for on the Internet. This isn't always a good thing. I find that I have to take EVERYTHING I read on the Internet with a grain of salt. I question absolutely anything that anybody says they read on the Internet.

So what is out here?

Religion? You can find people on the Internet that will gladly tell you all about Joseph Smith talking about tall people who live on the moon. Want to know what goes on in the LDS Temple Ceremony? How about the Masonic Temple Ceremony? Want to find anti-(fill in almost any religion name here) material? You can find all that out there in Internet Land.

Politics? You can find more than your fair share of political stories. Think the attacks of 9/11 were done by foreign terrorists? There are numerous sites that agree with you. Think those same attacks were a conspiracy by the federal government? There are also numerous sites that agree with you.

Hey Thad, what are you getting at with this post? What I'm trying to say is that there seems to be many people that believe anything that they read, as long as it's on a Website, without checking the facts of what they are reading. Would you do the same thing if something showed up in your mailbox or on your doorstep? Say I mailed you a letter with no return address and no way of knowing who the letter is from. I tell you in this letter that McDonalds is offering a free BigMac to anyone as long as you send a copy of the letter to 10 of your friends. All you have to do is make 10 copies of this letter and mail them to your friends. Would you do it? I bet very few people would do this, due to the cost involved. At the very least, I'd expect that most people would do a little checking to see if it's true before spending the money to mail out 10 copies. So how come so many people are willing to forward e-mails with very similar offers or even outlandish stories without checking to see if the things they are forwarding or spreading are true? I bet it's because it doesn't hit them directly in the pocket book each time they do.

The bottom line? (I think I learned this in Kindergarten.) Don't believe everything you read or hear. Check the facts. Is it true? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

My favorite place to check to see if something is true or not is http://www.snopes.com. And yes, you can find people on the Internet who claim (see here) that Snopes isn't a reliable site to check for facts.

1 comment:

BenJoe said...

Lately I have been getting emails that say "Snopes.com verified" but then if you go to snopes and check it will show that is false.

The things people do to spread bullcrap.