One of our editorialists and bloggers -- John Guzman -- has just finished work on an article, which he has entitled Your Mom Has Email?
I guess I should start with the disclaimer that my mom actually does have e-mail but she is an anomaly to my theory. She actually uses her e-mail in a very conservative fashion and everything that she has sent me is actually worth reading. That said; this post is about the jungle that it is known as the Internet.
We all have experienced a new person in our social group getting e-mail. The first thing that happens is that you start getting every single old joke that circulated the Internet for the past couple of years. The next thing is funny pictures, surprisingly enough, the more conservative you thought the person was, the more crude the pictures you will get from them. Then you get the, lets get rich by forwarding this e-mail, which has the added bonus for us computer folks of, could you write a program that send tons of e-mails so we can get rich faster. Last but not least is the tearjerker, where they only ask you for a prayer for that sick little boy or girl.
I truly wish that the e-mail could be used as a method to find children, but I think that the Amber Alert System is the best way to go. I am not trying to say that word of mouth is not powerful, but that the Internet is not the best place to get information. You read that right; I don\u2019t think the Internet is the best place to get information. Why? You might ask, well because along with valuable information, there is tons of misinformation. The Internet only becomes a good resource when you have learned to sort through all the information. That is a huge task on itself.
I do however have a solution for that new member of your family that just got e-mail or Internet access. Snopes is a place that will thankfully shut the case on many of the Internet hoaxes out there. This however is only a first line of defense, and we need to learn a lot more about what the Internet offers before we take the information as true. The Internet is about 90% opinion, and like 23% of statistics -- this one made up. I can say pretty much anything and claim it is a fact, and if I put fancy figures around it, people can believe it is actual data. Someone might say that corporate websites have actual information, but think about it, they have a marketing department.
Believe it or not, one of the best places for information is Wikipedia. Not because it claims to be all knowing and factual, but quite the opposite. It is a site that is kept by contributors and the validity or neutrality of any topic can be put up to debate. I am not saying do not use the Internet as a source for your information, I am just saying be careful as to what you believe. At least the Internet has some level of truth; the news media is in my eyes the worst place to get your information.