Info Inspecting

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A situation I’m going to outline is something that more often than not is all too common. You log on to your favorite social media site and are greeted with a news story that sounds incredulous or presents information that you know is fabricated as truth. We’ve all seen circumstances like this, but it’s also important to exercise our own deductive reasoning skills as well.

There can be a sense of trust with someone who posts interesting articles. What can occur sometimes is the person you’re getting information from is also getting that information from someone they trust as well. So while there is trust with a person- that doesn’t always translate into someone reading a news piece, so it’s always important to check or at least skim content and perhaps add a comment so the previous person can take a look at it.

The Onion is not the only news satire site. Many so-called satire sites present themselves as professional news sources with a footnote at the very bottom of the page mentioning that it’s a parody. A polished header doesn’t mean the content is true.

Online news accounts are often updated with a timestamp as more information comes to light. And sometimes people make mistakes while reporting, so checking back with a source later in the day may glean more information.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is important to keep in mind when seeing a shocking news header. Just seeing a title or a short synopsis isn’t enough to make an in-depth judgment on a story’s content. Sometimes I’ve seen a negative reaction to a title for a piece and the author is using literary devices such as an allusion to draw people in. In this day in age, it can be difficult to receive visibility which is why some choose more provocative titles for their work. So reading more than the title is important.

Cyberbullying. Just because someone’s image is attached to something doesn’t mean that the person has anything to do with a negative news story. There can be malicious intent behind a utilization of a person’s picture, such as from an ex-partner or disgruntled family member. Twitter is a very popular site but a photo of a tweet might not always reflect the user’s opinion. Tweets can be edited simply by viewing elements with your browser and making adjustments to the HTML codes; by doing that people can manipulate it to make the text say anything. So if a tweet looks strange go to the source to double check to ensure that it hasn’t been edited by someone.

If it sounds a bit arduous to always be on the lookout for the previously mentioned examples, it can be. I’m also not writing this in an attempt to infer that others don’t check the validity of things that they see online. It’s mostly a reminder to give something a second glance. The internet is a great place to get informed if a person is vigilant enough to navigate and inspect information that they come across.


Ziggy is a Certified Peer Specialist in PA and currently resides in Pittsburgh. He is a member of the Let’s Act committee, a group of peers devoted to raising awareness about mental health care. In his downtime, he enjoys reading novels and watching nature documentaries.

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