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Maryan Pelland Doesn’t Think You Should Trust the Internet

In a recent guest post on, Maryan Pelland of, talks about how easy it can be to fall into the trap of trusting information online.

Here’s a sample from the intro…

Bad and inaccurate information from websites isn’t new. The Internet can be a fabulous tool, but it should not be the sole source of information for any factual writing from blogs, to research for fiction, to magazine or newspaper articles. Anyone can create a website and fill it with text. There’s never a guarantee that information online is accurate or current. That’s why writers and journalists should not rely on the Internet.

I couldn’t agree more that the internet can be a source of misleading information, made all the more dangerous due to how fast information spreads through things like blogs, twitter, etc.

There is a tendency to want to trust sources of information online, and there is good reason for that: There is a lot of great information out there. The problem is simply that literally ANYONE can dump whatever they want onto a website, blog, wiki, etc, and there is often little or no fact checking happening by anyone other than the writer.

It’s all too common to see someone post something to twitter or their blog and then within minutes (or seconds) dozens or more people are tweeting/blogging away about their opinion of the original statement/event/whatever, only to find out hours later that the original poster was wrong, or just seeing who would believe them.

If the internet is truly to become a great source of fast and accurate information (and for the most part is CAN be already), we all have to work a little harder at sifting through the river of information to find the nuggets of truth. Hopefully before the misleading info has spread too far.

Categories: Blogging Tips, Opinion

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  1. Barry Deutsch says: 6/8/2009

    As an executive recruiter, I also find this issue to be true – the vast majority of recruiters and hiring managers accept at face value whatever the candidates states in the interview. Very few recruiters and hiring manages have developed the skill set to question, validate, vet, and verify the information. Just because it’s published, doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

    The vast majority of blogs I read are opinions, rants, and layered with personal agendas. We all need to take a deep breath and “triangulate” the information to validate, verify, vet it before we put our personal stamp of approval on it by passing it along to others.

    IMHO, I think I’m great recruiter since I am the world’s biggest cynic. I believe nothing until I can verify it through a few different independent sources.


  2. John says: 6/8/2009

    The internet is just the medium. What she’s really saying is you can’t trust people. And she’s right. Verify, verify, verify. And think for yourself.


  3. gestroud says: 6/9/2009

    I’d say the same could be said of the mass media, universities and nearly any other source of information and knowledge.

    I can watch Fox News and MSNBC and get two entirely opposing viewpoints of one incident based on political agendas.

    Basically, information is only as reliable as the informant and history is only as reliable as the historian.


  4. mikeyaozm says: 9/20/2009

    only to find out hours later that the original poster was wrong, or just seeing who would believe them.