There have been a couple of articles and stories coming out lately of people blindly sharing things on the web without even reading the article or doing a quick fact search to see if it is true. This really angers me as we live in a world where the internet is readily available for fact checking purposes. So since I finished my final geodatabase project the other night, yesterday I decided to start on another mini project for myself. I'd been wanting to do it for a while and after my friend Renee posted a link and a status about the very thing I'm talking about, I just had to do it.
I posted a fake bible verse as if it were true and waited to see the response. This is the gem I found from a blog called "Fake Bible Verses":
Of course this is not a bible verse, but in fact adapted lyrics from my favorite song: Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. It was way too perfect not to post. Now this was in no way trying to mock the bible, it was simply to point out that anyone can blindly post something that is untrue and pass it off as true. So I put it up, sat back, and waited for the "likes" and "comments"
After I put up the fake bible verse I got quite a few messages from people saying how funny it was, how they liked the Blue Oyster Cult reference, and how they loved the Book of Adverbs (many Schoolhouse Rock jokes were made). No one though blindly "liked" it or commented on it. So I figured one of two thing happened: either BOC's song is so popular that most people got the joke or no one really cared enough about my status.
One would think then that was it, that the experiment turned more into a laugh with a bunch of friends. The sad thing was as I was proving my point, my newsfeed was FLOODED with more misinformation. People sharing quotes that were misquoted, proverbs that certain Native American tribes would never say, news stories that were never fact checked, and stupid "warnings" from the local police that never happened. The fact of the matter (ha!) is that this will never stop. We live in a society where sharing information is only a click of the mouse away; where everyone wants things instantly and doesn't bother to check things first. It's sad that if they had simply taken a few minutes more to check Snopes.com or even simply googled the story they would've found it was false. Of course sometimes it is hard to tell what is true or not. The simple solution: don't share it.
The internet is our modern day campfire; instead of telling tall tales while surrounding the flames we spread them around the internet. Just like the myths and legends back in the day were twisted and changed by word of mouth, so are they today. We have created our own set of myths and legends by playing an insanely large game of "telephone" over the internet.