The media has caused us to be exposed to news at the speed of electricity and to analyze the news at the speed of wind. The environment around us is full of confusing news, misleading numbers and misleading words. Three issues aggravate this:
High volume of news and analysis. More information means less opportunity to evaluate when we want to be first to repost.
Fast-paced lifestyle: Today’s life has become astronomically fast compared to 30 years ago. The amount of work and communication events per unit of time has increased.
Artificial Literacy (Dunning-Kruger): Our opinions come from roaming on social networks, not reading books. This copying of data is actually a new model of ignorance.
This is why true news, false news, rumors, and truth are almost equally valuable in cyberspace. Why? Because we don’t have time to check the accuracy of what we receive, we are divided, and we do not care to check accuracy since this is not anything we have ever done. We prefer to be told. We read it immediately, determine of it meets out biased approval, and then quickly forward it to others. We use this information in discussions with our family, at work, and in general social conversations to show that we are not behind the times.
What can be done?
Suspension of judgment. Neither believe nor reject. When you haven’t said or written an argument for or against it, neither confirm nor deny it. Suspend your judgment until you have enough information to make a judgment. Do not comment or forward.
Do not judge in an abnormal state. Studies have shown that when people have more peace of mind, the quality of their professional judgments increases. Therefore, when we are in a hurry, emotional, tired and distracted, the quality of our judgments decreases. The judgment we make when we are in a hurry is as unreliable as the judgment of a someone under the influence.
For everything you read or hear, ask yourself:
Am I sure about the source of the news/report?
Is there any supporting evidence or convincing arguments, or is the same word repeated in different languages? What is the source?
Is there a logical relationship between the introduction and the information provided and the results?
Is the whole truth expressed or part of the truth?
Ask why! Why is your presidential candidate better? What makes you think the economy us headed to a recession? How did you come to this conclusion? Based on what FACTS fron what SOURCES?
Being on social networks is useful. The free flow of information is very attractive, useful, and rewarding. But let’s not forget that they can not replace books and deep thinking. Much of what you see and read is biased opinion, conjecture, or outright false.