Ah, technology, the good ol’ double-edged sword. On one hand, we can read our favorite singer’s Tuesday morning thoughts (thanks, Twitter); on the other, trolls no longer live under bridges (thanks, Twitter). 😉 But, on a serious note, I’d like to discuss how the excess of information online can be educational…but it can also be intimidating and/or misleading.
An over-abundance of search results
Anyone and everyone can use and post things to the big, wide web. And, for that reason, the internet is saturated with information. Some of that is based on facts, science, and statistics, but much of it is based on opinions, subjective experiences, and straight-up BS. [Unfortunately, those in the BS category aren’t required to wear a sign that reads, “Hey, don’t take me seriously; I’m full of it!”]
I become defeated quickly when searching things. For instance, I’d like to make homemade potpourri with some aromatic mint leaves. I temporarily gave up because everybody (along with their mamas, their daddies, their brothers and sisters, their cousins…you get the point) recommends a different method. As I type this rough draft Sunday, I’m feeling frustrated that I just spent an hour looking up solutions to hair issues (oily and flat hair, itchy scalp). Again, there are so many search results–all suggesting their own methods for fixing the issues, all recommending different products.
I recently learned not to trust everything these random websites suggest. Because I read Year of No Sugar by Eve Schaub last month, I have a heightened, disconcerting awareness of my sugar consumption levels. After noticing there are over fifty grams of sugar + several preservatives in my International Delight coffee creamer, I decided to try making my own. Several websites provided a simple recipe for homemade creamer: combine sweetened-condensed milk with regular milk. I thought, Well, this will contain sugar, but with less sugar than the other creamer and no preservatives, maybe this is a step in the right direction. As it turns out, the taste of sweetened-condensed milk repulses me. Yuck! Talk about trial and ERROR.
What’s even worse than inconvenience–misinformation
Above, I referred to the inconvenience of wading through a flood of search results (like trying to find a cute dress at a ratchet Goodwill). But what’s worse than being inconvenienced is being misinformed. I’ve seen this text image floating around social media, which implies that ignorant people are ignorant by choice, since they could easily look up any question/topic, thanks to the internet.
I acknowledge the point of the post, but I don’t think it accounts for the whole “double-edged sword” concept behind the internet. In other words, this sentiment assumes undeniably blatant truths and answers exist. I’m not so sure. Even where objective truth exists, people will disagree about it, anyways.
Some truths and answers seem clear to many people, but at the end of the day, what/who we perceive as a reliable source affects what we believe. For instance, most people accept that vaccines are good and necessary as “clear truth.” Anti-vaxxers, however, don’t trust the sources that support vaccines. I assume they trust other sources that “clearly” demonstrate why vaccines are harmful. (Not trying to poke a bear, just using a random example)
I hope you see the connections I’m drawing…more info sources on the internet means more choices on who/what to trust…
Misinformation in the pandemic
I can’t be the only one who’s tasted every flavor of Coronavirus opinion or theory. I’m talking everything from “They did this to tank Trump’s economy in his re-election year” to “Far more people actually have the disease than what has been reported” to “Hospitals are claiming more people died of COVID-19 to get extra funding” to “Lifting the stay-at-home orders now will trigger a much-worse second wave.”
I live in NC (in the US), and the question of how to re-open in stages looms over us. We only have a few hundred deaths in the whole state. Part of me thinks Yes, we should re-open; the risk in our state is low. But then, the other half of me wonders, Do we only have a few hundred deaths because of social distancing, and if so, would ending it be detrimental? Many have vilified the stupidity/short-sightedness of those protesting at our capital to re-open the state. I understand the critics’ concerns for public safety; God forbid if someone I know caught this and died! I also saw a meme this week that read, “I lost my home and my business, but at least I didn’t get a virus with a less than 1% mortality rate!” I understand the concerns of those pushing to re-open; will we wind up damaging people’s lives with these rules more than the virus would in its natural course? The fact that so many loud and self-assured voices are screaming their viewpoints on the internet doesn’t help with discerning reality and rationality from panic and outright lies.
Wrapping up my ramblings, I love and hate the internet. It gives every voice a platform, which can be great and also terrible. That’s the price of freedom, baby! Take EVERYTHING with a grain of salt. 😉
Thanks for reading! What’s your two cents on wading through search results, internet misinformation, “clear truth,” or Coronavirus theories? Let me know in the comments.
Random updates on my searches (in other words, advice welcome):
1. I have purchased a few volumizing products that give body to my flat-as-a-pancake hair. Sweet!
2. If you also have an itchy scalp, TRY ARGAN OIL! Started rubbing it on my head after I get out of the shower (if I wash my hair). It’s definitely helping. I was wary of trying it since my hair gets greasy quickly, but it didn’t make my hair greasy somehow??
3. The best homemade creamer my mom and me have concocted so far is almond milk + a few spoonfuls of sugar. Though I’m probably consuming less sugar than I was with the store-bought creamer, I wish I could use little to no sugar in my coffee. But, apparently, things don’t taste as good without sugar…lol!
4. For the potpourri, I plan to mix up the plant leaves, some essential oils, and orris root powder then let it sit for a few weeks. Wish me luck. I hope this is less of a disaster than the sweetened-condensed milk creamer.