Know Before You Share
Some necessary pointers in these modern times
In the last few years, Facebook has become less of a place to post the answer to "What Powerpuff Girl Are You?" and more of a place to incite some good old-fashioned political debate. Sharing something profound that you found is an easy way to help educate other people on how you feel, but look out! There are people & companies whose main goal is to mis-educate their audience in an attempt to curry your favor and/or money.
Before you go blasting someone else's content all over the Internet, here are a few things to check:
- Is this trying to sell you something? This on its own, especially at the start of an article/media/meme/whatever, shows that this content's goal isn't to inform, but to profit.
- Check the facts. Read your content's sources and see if it matches with what they have posted. No source? No faith. If I'm going to tell you I'm a Blossom, I'd better back it up with a link to the Powerpuff Girl quiz that told me, or you're going to think I'm full of hot air.
- Also, check to see if the facts are being represented correctly. People can twist a morbid "50,000 dead" to a palpable "less than a tenth of a percent of the population" easily, if they want to.
- While trying to sell something inside an article may be bad, trying to sell something *tied* to the article is worse. Alex Jones peddling his various tangentially-related-to-his-radio-show stuff is one thing, but AMTV talking about the end of the American economy as we know it, only to try to peddle you gold bars is quite another.
- Check the logic. There are dozens of tricks that people will pull to try to get their point across. From false equivalencies (apples to oranges) to ad hominem attacks (Orange man bad) to exaggerated either/ors (open the country or we will all die). There's too many to point out here, but keep an eye out for how arguments get presented.
I hope this helps you think before you share. For more information, buy my book, "Please Meme Responsibly," at http://www.divvyo.com/store.