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I pretty much believe everything people say, don’t you? LOL But then I’m just genuine enough to think that every single humans is as well-intentioned as I am.
Believing everything you read or hear reminds me of a friend’s disagreement with his daughter about her sources for her grade twelve school project.
“But, Dad!” she said, “It was on the internet!”
He informed her that just because something is on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. You have to know the sources so you can see that someone isn’t merely fabricating information.
Unlike his daughter, I am very good about checking my sources and being a reasonably sound source of information for others. I actually enjoy research because it is such an educational process. My personal and professional reputation is stellar, if I do say so myself and continue to be. But I do not suffer fools gladly nor do I suffer users or abusers gladly. Or quietly.
My mom always said I should be a lawyer because I could make valid points no one else could make. Even when I was a kid. I think I was starting to “write the wrongs” in the world in my head even then.
The worst thing anyone who is trying to get away with something nasty could do is try to shut me up. I think they’d pretty much have to kill me. Terrible thought, I know. But even in primary school, I spoke out on behalf of the underdog and I still do. I like to try to resolve conflict. Eyeball to eyeball, if people are big enough to do that. Often they prove incapable of that or any other honest, open communication.
In class today we were discussing a man who had used a reference that kept failing in landing him anything beyond the interview. It was suggested that a “plant” call the reference giver posing as a reference seeker. So his sister did just that.
Turns out the sod was telling people, you shouldn’t hire this guy, I wouldn’t hire him if he was the last guy in town, I’m glad to be rid of him, etc. Yet, to the man’s face, he had said he would be glad to give him a good reference. People. You can’t always trust what they say to your face. Or on the internet.
Know your sources. And if you don’t know them, get to know them. It’s always good to be able to support your work or claim with evidence and I’m never shy on that. If I say something, you can rest assured, I can not only back it up but probably shock you with even more factual information, dated, timed notes and/or photographs than you bargained for. Because if I don’t know anything for absolute certain, I find out. I don’t just say things idly to anyone.
Here or on the great old internet. Now, in my creative writing, that’s a different story. If you want to know if something I’ve written as a “story” is true, just ask. I don’t mind telling anyone what parts of my life are true or “story.” Stories constantly fly into my head and sometimes I manage to write them, other times I don’t. But I can’t stop writing. After all, I am a writer. A writer who has nothing to hide.
If I do, I don’t know what it is and it’s already way to late to worry about it. Mom always said you worry less as you grow older. That one is true for sure, there is just so much less to bother worrying about. So don’t worry about the information you find on the internet so much as the actual source. Ask questions.
Who is listed as the source or resource?
Are they credible?
Do they already have a good reputation for being a sound source of information?
Or is the source completely unknown?
If they are a complete unknown, email and ask where they sourced the data from or how they can support their statements?
Even in chatting with strangers on the internet, the fact is you don’t even know if they really are who they say they are or whether their photos are really even of them. Only time will reveal the truth there.
But good research matters if you are turning in papers or sharing untrue information without even realizing it. I find cross referencing or asking sources directly for clarification is always a good policy that proves out the information. Or disproves it, as the case may be. This strategy is also invaluable in resolving conflict as well… but that’s another topic for another day…
Off to the park for a quick jog. Maybe it will jog my mind about why I started writing this piece in the first place, lol.