The above is a joke which has been doing the rounds of the Internet for quite some time in recent years, and is a tongue in cheek jab at all of those who believe every story, every quote (everything really) that they see on the Internet – especially if there is a picture next to it. It succinctly – and with appropriate snark – depicts the foibles of blind belief without fact checking.
This is relevant here because blind faith in today’s information age where information can be propagated across the globe in a matter of seconds can be as bad as deliberately misleading the viewers. The Internet is a vast resource, and aided with the advent and growth of social media, it has changed the nature of communication and turned the world into a truly global village. However, this makes it all the more important to use this tremendous resource wisely and judiciously.
Here are some ways in which the Internet can be used wisely, and some practices to follow to not fall prey to its unsuspecting traps:
Before sharing information and news over social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, make sure to fact check and see whether it is true or just a hoax perpetuated by nefarious parties. Fake reports of celebrity deaths on the net have become so common that they are only greeted with an eye-roll.
Sensitive news and issues should be handled with care, otherwise they can lead to widespread panic, as almost happened in the aftermath of the Paris attacks in November 2015 when news of a second attack was being shared through Twitter and Facebook. Luckily in this instance, the hysteria was calmed down within an hour and it was reported to be a hoax.
Always remember to fact-check.
With information from all corners of the globe stored and accessibly on the Internet, research is easier than ever. Seek information about a hard to find topic only available in encyclopaedias’? There’ll be a multitude of results about it when typed in a search engine such as Google.
Seeking knowledge about studying abroad? Need information about a befuddling project? Or merely searching for interesting trivia? All of it is available at the click of a few buttons.
The world has come closer than ever and it is now possible to share important research information from all over online for all of humanity to access.
Of course, always check the source of the information and cross-reference it with other sources to be sure it is correct, lest you fall for some prank, or something more insidious.
Breaking Communication & Distance Barriers
Where earlier it took days for mail to be sent from one country to another, now it happens in seconds with Email. This has sped up numerous processes such as applying to foreign Universities, having discussions with professors and mentors not in the country.
Forums, Blogs and Websites
There are a plethora of blogs and websites sharing information about a wide number of topics. These sites and blogs also have their own forums wherein visitors can discuss these topics and carry out conversations. From health tips to travel and wanderlust, to sharing portfolios in the hopes of getting their work noticed, blogs and forums are an extremely beneficial tool for the nuanced user. The latter can even lead to commissions or huge contracts.
Harnessing Social Media
Artists can use the avenue of sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to reach a wide viewer-base and share their content with them in the hopes of gaining a huge follower base and turning into a virtual-celebrity. The rise of YouTube celebrities such as musicians and comedians, leading to live concerts, and even TV shows is again another way in which the power of the Internet can be harnessed successfully.
Make well informed decision and treat the Internet like the brilliant resource that it is, only then will you will be able to harness its power in totality without falling for scams and traps.