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Maryan Pelland Doesn’t Think You Should Trust the Internet

In a recent guest post on problogger.net, Maryan Pelland of ontext.com, 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.