Published on 5th July 2010 by Brett M. Christensen
Blogging is great! The expanding number of free blogging services means that any interested individual with access to an Internet enabled computer can create their own, unique little website with a minimum of fuss, no expense, and little knowledge of web design. Once your blog is set up, you can write about anything you like. There are thousands of very interesting and informative articles posted on blogs every day. Unfortunately, however, a lot of what I can only describe as unmitigated garbage also makes its way into the Blogosphere, including a fair share of hoax messages.
When conducting article research, I increasingly come across blog posts that are exact copies of hoax messages that normally travel via email. In many cases, it seems that the blog owner has received a hoax via email, tidied it up a little and simply thrown it online without bothering to check its veracity in any way.
Thus, blogging is unintentionally becoming another quite powerful means of spreading misinformation. Because blog posts often have an attractive and professional appearance, the offending hoax message may attain a certain amount of undeserved credibility simply because of the medium it appears on. Also, blog posts often tend to get indexed by Internet search engines quite quickly. Therefore, someone searching for information about an email message they received may come across the same message posted on several blogs and wrongly conclude that the message is valid.
Of course, many non-blog websites can and do publish false or misleading information as well. However, the peculiar characteristics of blogging mean that a blog owner, with the best of intentions, can upload false information for the entire world to see with just a few mouse clicks.
So, keep your sceptic's hat on while surfing or researching. If something you read online seems a little dubious, try to verify it via other sources before you count it as true.
More importantly, if you run a blog yourself, take a minute or so to verify information before you post it. If the info turns out to be true, well and good. And, if your research reveals that the information is untrue you can certainly still post about it. Just make sure that you let your readers know the truth about what you are are posting.
In a day and age when everyone with a computer and Internet access can get his or her opinions, ideas and thoughts published and potentially read by many, many people, perhaps we have a certain responsibility to try to avoid spreading nonsense and misinformation. What do you
think? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.