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You just got burned in an argument because, once again, you quoted something you saw on social media.

While we all know it, it’s sometimes hard to remember that facts are not the foundation on which social media is built. There are four really good reasons why you should never trust social media at all, especially when your personal reputation is at stake.

Social Media Is Not Always Up To Date

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A truth you can count on is that memes, statements, and other forms of information never disappear from the Internet. If Google search any topic, you will find sources of information that are years old. That’s okay, though, because responsible websites put dates on their information which put it into the proper context.

Social media, on the other hand, doesn’t always have a date stamp. Even when there is a date stamp, people don’t always bother to look at it before sharing or commenting. Some people even mess with date stamps when circulating old information. Social media is fun like that.

How many times have you been enraged by a post you saw on Facebook and responded to that post as though it were just put up that day? It happens all of the time. But many times, the post you are responding to is a year or more older. It may have been appropriate when it was originally posted, but now it has a different context that makes you really angry.

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Many of the pieces of information you see floating around Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and other social media outlets are years old. When that information was first created, it had a different context than it does now. You don’t drink milk when it is past its expiration date, so why would you trust social media information that is years old?

The Information On Social Media Is Rarely In Context

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Information taken out of context can be used to prove or disprove anything. You see it all of the time: someone says something and the media focuses on a fragment of a sentence that makes the person sound crazy.

Social media does that constantly. The worst part about social media is that the statements you read could have been edited and distorted several times over, to the point where the original author doesn’t even recognize them anymore.

Another little trick that social media likes to do is attribute statements to people who never made them. For example, there are plenty of memes with quotes from Morgan Freeman that Morgan Freeman never said. Social media also tends to use headlines that have almost nothing to do with the article just to get people to click.

In short, by the time something potentially embarrassing How to Avoid Embarrassing Yourself on Social Media How to Avoid Embarrassing Yourself on Social Media Social media has the tendency to make us forget how public it is, so we end up sharing things we really shouldn't have. in this post I'm going to help you avoid those unnecessary embarrassments... Read More about a celebrity or someone you know gets circulated on social media, it’s probably been pulled so far from its original context that it should no longer be considered valuable information.

Sometimes Social Media Information Is Just A Lie

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Jackie Chan, Hugh Hefner, Usher, Jon Bon Jovi, and Russell Crowe were all alive for  Valentine’s Day, 2014. Why is that relevant to this discussion? Because social media had reported that all of these celebrities, at some point, were dead.

It is always amusing to see celebrities go on Facebook with pictures of themselves holding a current edition of the New York Times just to prove they are not dead. It is even more amusing to see all of the Facebook tribute pages that pop up the moment one of these rumors gets started. The Jackie Chan thing comes up so often that even Jackie is starting to believe he is dead.

If you cannot trust social media to give you accurate information 5 Internet Hoaxes That Went Viral & Almost Had You Fooled This Year 5 Internet Hoaxes That Went Viral & Almost Had You Fooled This Year There were a few convincing hoaxes knocking about the Internet this year; from waterproof iPhones to Christmas Dinner in a tin. Here are some of the best. Read More as to whether a celebrity is alive or dead, then why would you trust social media to be your source of information on politics and religion? Do yourself a favor: go to real sources of information and stop believing every meme you read.

George Takei Is Not Always Right

george-takei-rules-the-internet

It is safe to say that anyone who uses social media has read at least one post by George Takei. He has become that favorite uncle on social media that everyone loves to hear from and everyone trusts. But is the information he distributes always right?

This is not an attempt to bash George Takei at all. He is an accomplished actor and extremely prominent in several important causes. But just like every other person on social media, he sometimes distributes information without really knowing if it is right or not. Uncle George is a bit more responsible than some of the other social media icons 9 Most Searched For Celebrity Twitter Feeds Online 9 Most Searched For Celebrity Twitter Feeds Online Everyone knows that Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber still maintain the lead by far when it comes to what public personalities people search for the most when it comes to Twitter feeds, but the personalities... Read More that people flock to, but he can still have those oops moments like every0ne else.

The simple truth is that most social media memes and viral statements tend to be based on opinion and have very little basis in facts. Just because you are a fan of a social media icon does not mean that you should blindly trust what he has to say. Oh my.

The Internet Is Lying To You

Social media is only as accurate as the people using it. With all the conspiracy theorists and religious fanatics out there posting information they swear is true, it can be difficult to determine what you can and cannot trust. One thing is for sure, social media is not the best resource for accurate and timely information.

How about you? Do you still think social media is telling you the truth? Have you encountered false information too?

  1. John
    March 3, 2014 at 1:26 am

    hmm, political biased memes are usually not researched by people who would like to believe them.
    If social media networks had an option to report a post as "not factual" and actually did something about it the world would be a smarter more intellectual place to be. Social media - successfully dumbing down the masses since 1997. :(

    • dragonmouth
      March 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      " political biased memes are usually not researched by people who would like to believe them."
      Not just political. If the information supports our point of view, then it MUST be true. :-)

  2. Clem
    March 1, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Way to prove your point that Takei spreads misinformation

    -no facts
    -no proof
    -no examples
    -broad statements about celebrities

  3. Sophia Tesch
    March 1, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Social Media is raw information. That raw information has immense value. Because there can be more information in what people wish to be true, possibly even more that what might be thought of as actually true. Their fantasies say something about them in a very real way. That being said, everything from ANY media source should be researched and verified. Social Media is the new information frontier my friends. Like the old frontier days, there are the equivalent of brothels, saloons, general stores, and snake oil salesmen. Social Media offers the freedom and the folly of the frontier. So have fun, watch your back, and if it sounds crazy---verify it.

  4. Vardaan T
    February 27, 2014 at 4:52 am

    yep............

  5. Was
    February 27, 2014 at 3:34 am

    why do you bother with it in the first place

  6. Was
    February 27, 2014 at 3:31 am

    why do you bother with it in the first place

  7. Tony M
    February 26, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Well, Eric is correct, of course. However, despite all the good information the Internet helps us to find, much of it -- perhaps as much as half -- is inaccurate, useless, or downright wrong.

    Don't get me wrong: Blaming the Internet for the proliferation of wrong information is like blaming roads for traffic accidents or like banning food to fight obesity. One of the problems with the Internet: Anyone with a $300 work station potentially has a worldwide audience, no prerequisites or qualifications required. Therefore, with literally hundreds of millions of blog pages, Facebook entries, and innumerable forum postings, the trick to making good use of the Internet is being able to "separate the wheat from the chaff," as they say. KNOW YOUR SOURCES!

  8. Trevor
    February 26, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Very good point is raised. Same goes for mainstream media, regardless of political affiliation. "Trust but verify". Now, verifying may be challenging. Wikipedia is not always right and at times is politically biased. It's up to everyone to do a thorough homework...

    • George R
      February 26, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      I have always wondered how one would go about doing that Trevor. What kinds of sources would you use to verify a news story? You would have to be careful not to use another news source. You would be surprised how many people on social media justify their stance on a news story by using another news story from a different, and biased, news source.

    • Harry
      February 27, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Good point, common sense. These days I would assume almost anything wrong until proven different. I would say verify then trust.

  9. Eric J
    February 26, 2014 at 6:21 am

    maybe before commenting on social media posts it would be good if we should verify/research it if its true or not.

    • George R
      February 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      If only people would do that! I agree with you Eric! I wish more people had your attitude.

    • Julia
      February 26, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      Frequently, my replies to friends' posts is a link to a Snopes article rubbishing what they've just blindly reshared (which has usually taken me about 30 seconds to find) ;-)

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