In the days of new age technology that we live in, information is passed faster than ever. The problem that we are facing as a society is that a lot of that information that gets passed is either watered down, or fictional. Being business owners (someday being big business and/or corporation owners) you have got to understand how to sift through the information that is either irrelevant, and the information that does not hold any substance. This is vital. Misinformation could cause huge problems for you business and those problems will almost always become financial. You don’t want to use or exert information that could be harmful to you, your business, and those who work for you.
There used to be a time that when people passed information over the internet that they were required to have proof of said information. Trusted sources were provided for that information and for the most part we knew that the information that was being presented were true. The problem that we have now is that so many people want to pass information that instead if confirming most of it, they want to post it so that they are the first to present it. This is done frequently without fact checking. Mostly on social media. We cant tell you the amount of ‘memes’ or posts that we have come across that people were being reported as passed away, and in fact, had not. So, how do we know what information is good? In some cases, its as simple as doing a quick Google search and usually the results will either be a headline confirming such knowledge or, confirming that the information has already been proven to be false. Learning how to locate cited sources are your best bet.
Cited sources are usually a way of the Author saying that they have done the research already, there is proof that this information is true, and that they stand behind the information they are presenting as well as used. You usually see this more in books or scholarly articles, but, it is also used in the media and other sources. Cited sources could look something like:
Contributors’ names (Last edited date). Title of resource. Retrieved from http(s)://Web address
How do I know if a particular piece of information is valid?
In general, web pages with more citations and links provide more useful information. This is believed because they are willing to tell you where they received their information. We have to even remember there was a time that YouTube video and websites like Wikipedia were not reliable sources of information. Still, you must be willing to check the sources provided as well sometimes. You also want to look for sites that provide unbiased information. If the information appears to be leaning to one side, its best to find other sources to look at. Reputable organizations will provide you with better information. However, it is also a good idea to try spot-checking some of what is on the more suspicious websites. Commercial sites and some individual blogs mixed with other trusted web pages could give you an overall look on a situation and help you determine fact from fiction. If you are looking for information for scholarly articles and papers, you could also start by using Google scholar or a fact-checking website. Even though information changes often, its best to go with the information that has noted changes, and is recent.
Fact checking websites claim to deliver unbiased evaluations of recent internet rumors or statements by politicians. A couple you could look into are factcheck.org and snopes.com. These sites are a great way to check whether that email claiming to be donating to a sick child or offering strange advice is a fake. You can also ask experts on twitter or other social media websites your questions. Journalists are usually very good about the information that they pass unless they have to recant because of bad information received. The more different sources you have that all say the same thing, the more confident you can be of the validity of that information.
In and case, being able to find information that is pertinent to you and/or your organization is important. This is because you need information to succeed. A paragraph or a meme of bad information could send your business spiraling out of control. There is also nothing like passing on bad information to others because a business that cannot be trusted, wont be in business for long. Be sure that when you receive information that is outside of your organization, that you triple check it and the sources. Old information can be just as bad (if not worse) that bad information because of its irrelevance. It will take some practice, but before you know it, once you get used to learning how to grasp that information, the truth will always be available for you.
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