Amidst the sea of searches, there is a need to re-evaluate what we decide at the courtesy of the Internet.
Gone are the days when we turned to encyclopedias for information about the world. In the digital age, we have access to information at the touch of a finger, quite literally. When faced with the slightest doubts, we immediately exclaim, “Just Google It”! The convenience is so invitational. However, amidst the sea of searches, there is a need to re-evaluate what we decide at the courtesy of the Internet.
The reason is simple. The Internet – and whatsoever is found on it – is humanmade. Much of what we automatically accept as the ultimate, objective truth may very well be subjective opinion. Many of the answers we seek are an encoded result of the author’s experiences, which we then decode based on our interpretation. In fact, there are often hidden interests at stake, as websites increasingly push to get page views for revenue generation. The problem is two-fold: too much information and misinformation. This is not to undermine the power of the online realm in enhancing human knowledge, but to stress the importance of maintaining an extent of skepticism.
As you Google away, here are three topics for which you shouldn’t let Google tell you what to do:
The most intuitive thing to do upon the slightest of bodily problems is to search up your symptoms. Soon, you find yourself rolling up a snowball of potential diseases that you may have. Suddenly, your headache seems to be more severe. Anxiety builds up as the Internet seems to have convinced you that your days are limited. Not only can the information be deceiving by giving you a problem you don’t have, but it may even have the effect of downplaying indicators that you do need attention. If at all, treat the search engine as a starting point. The alternative? Check with your doctor; medical professionals go through extensive education to advise you. Do not place blind trust in a database-supported program.
This one may be debatable. Google can be a great source to enhance your relationship, but it is a black hole that you may not even realize entering. The Internet can be a place of polarized opinion; situations are regularly presented as either black or white. At one instance, social media might have you believe that relationships are an absolute must. The next day, a post convinces you that an independent person like you needs nobody. Countless articles float around social media: ‘If your girlfriend has these qualities, she’s a keeper’; or ‘Signs he’s just not into you’. Subconsciously, such content can affect our actions. However, relationships have grey area (lots of it) and cannot be reduced to a formula. Be it with a partner, family or friends – relationships are dynamic and complex.
Online platforms carry the experiences of others. Many times, these stories may seem to be very relevant. This can be helpful in coping with a difficult time. That said, treat what you find online as a stepping stone – not the destination.
Eventually, no one understands you better than yourself. A catalyst of globalization, the online realm may not understand the cultural and social needs of each unique individual. Simply put, the Internet cannot provide a universal answer to personal development. Online media makes it overwhelmingly easy to look for our solutions in others. Do not fall into the trap; be honest with yourself and engage yourself in offline activities to discover your potential.
Evidently, the reality is that we can all be persuaded by what we read online, but it is all about balance. Although the most accessible, the Internet is not your only source. Do not let your computer surpass the beauty of human connections.
Next time you want to learn a recipe, give your mother a call rather than YouTubing it. If you want fashion advice, ask your best friend rather than a fashion blog. Even if you do resort
to your friendly neighbourhood search engine, it is crucial to use your own judgement in deciding the next steps. Remember, machines can only give you information. What you do with that information is the real deal. You have the power to filter, accept and/or reject.
As you navigate your path in the world of search, here are some tips:
Consider the source: The author or research body has a significant impact on credibility.
Be specific: The narrower you are with your keywords, the more reliable your results.
Validate findings: Confirm your discoveries with more than one website; fake news is real.