Sunday, November 10, 2013

Check Yourself!

Anyone who knows me knows I'm on Facebook all the time. I'd say I'm on "social media" but anyone who really knows me knows that I'm also a little social media one-sided. As in, I prefer Facebook to any other site. I don't have to worry about getting all my thoughts down in one hundred and forty characters or less and I don't want a separate site just for photos. I have twitter but I rarely use it. After all this time and like 4000+ tweets, I still don't really "get" it. Most of the people that follow me there, I don't even really know. But FB is all people I *do* actually know. And who know me back.

I post a lot and I share a lot. But I don't post anything controversial without CHECKING THE VALIDITY. I don't want anything coming from me that's just perpetuating false information or rumor. I'm stymied as to how many people just hit the share button without checking to see if what they're sharing is even true, valid, and/or proven. Yet, I see it happen almost every day. In all the years I've been on FB, I may have posted something in error maybe once, that I saw somewhere and shared quickly. But as soon as it was pointed out to be incorrect info, I was able to take it down quickly because I'm always online.

People could argue that if it's political, it's left to interpretation. And some stuff is left to interpretation and that's fine. But even with politics....hello, Obama is an American citizen. He just is. You can dislike him, you can be against his policies. But if you post moronic, incorrect things like that he isn't a citizen of the country, then who can even take you seriously? It's not about being democrat or republican, it's not looking like you just take anything and everything you see from the sites you frequent as gospel and 100% truth. Just because something is available to read or the opinion of a "news" source you like, doesn't mean they always have the correct information.

If there is a disturbing photo of something, like a dog being fed alcohol from a vodka bottle, you can even just google "snopes dog being fed vodka" and see if something comes up. An animal loving friend reposted a photo like this because who wouldn't want this guy in the photo caught and punished? I would. It made me physically sick seeing it. BUT, then someone posted- "This is fake, please stop reposting". So I didn't even need to see it- had my friend known it was fake, he wouldn't have reposted it. But he shared it from someone he presumably trusts and it just goes in a cycle of information that hasn't been validated as true. There are plenty of validated atrocities to send around for people to be able to do something about. We need to weed out the false stuff. PLEASE.

I'm in a few different FB groups of intelligent women. If there is something I'm not sure if it's true, I post it in one of my groups and ask if anyone knows if the item or the source is credible. That's step one. Then, based on what they say, I then go to the internet and check again. Because I don't want to put out false information! Recently, an article was sent to me that the Pope basically SAID he was for gay marriage. I thought it couldn't be true, because if it was, I would think it would've been bigger news on the grand scale. It would've been everywhere and it would've been a huge deal. I asked my friends if anyone heard or read this and posted the link that was sent to me. I was told it was a British version of The Onion. A satire-esque news site. Thank goodness I didn't share that article because I'd look like a schmuck.

It's SO easy to check to see if a story is true. Snopes is right at the click of your fingers. If you don't know what snopes is- here is the Snopes story:

Here is Snopes:

If you want, all you have to do is start typing in the subject matter you're looking for with the word snopes and chances are, it'll come up for you. People on FB this past week were sending around an old article, not credible, about the courts linking the MMR vax to autism. It was an old article from an Italian court. I don't know if any of you followed the Amanda Knox story, but I'm not apt to believe anything out of the Italian court, ever. But check the sources and dates before perpetuating stories. PLEASE! It's so easy and google can be your BFF.

Sometimes I'm surprised. I go to Snopes expecting something to be completely untrue and it's a mix. And they even WRITE the word "mixture". Like the thing going around now about the Salvation Army saying gay people should be put to death. It's going around again because it's going to be holiday time soon and we're going to start seeing many a Santa ringing the bell next to the red Salvation Army money collection bucket things. Yes, the media relations director based out of Australia made some hateful comments but they have also explained their position in greater depth and issued an apology. So while it's somewhat true, there is more to the story. I think it was Drita D'Avanzo who shared the original story recently with her fans from her FB page. And you know, I'm ALL ABOUT gay rights and whatnot, but I also am all about wanting the whole story. I don't support the Salvation Army because their beliefs really don't gel with mine, probably on more than just homosexuality, but it wasn't as cut and dried as the original story made it out to be.

So, all I'm saying is before you hit share, take the few moments it takes to just look it up and see if what your posting makes sense and if it's based in fact. Not just sharing someone else's opinions. Because often these "controversial" postings have attention grabbing headlines and the real story isn't even close. Make people want to take you seriously- have correct information. When you pass along incorrect information you have the potential to hurt, alienate, and scare people. For NO reason except that you didn't feel like dotting your i's, crossing your t's and knowing/checking your facts.

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