As the below statistics would indicate internet usage the world over is multiplying at an exponential rate. Which undoubtedly means, the amount of content and in formation either produced or shared on the internet by these users is growing in a similar manner.
So, how do you what information is trustworthy? Factual? or just plain bullshit?
Well this quote from Mitch Kapor, who has been involved in the creation of a number of internet-oriented organizations, virtually sums it up; “Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” variation of a quote by Jerome Weisner (Getting an education from MIT is like taking a drink from a fire hose.) Essentially, there is sooo much information and content coming at you that its hard not to get overwhelmed and it pays to be vigilant in your cross referencing and verifying of anything you intend to use.
Run down something of a mental checklist when arriving at a source, reminiscent of this one:
- Verify that it both has an Author and the author has some credibility.
- Note the date the content was created and other content on the page.
- Find out who if anyone is publishing the information.
- Always cross reference the information with at least one or two more sources!
- Check what type of URL it is, .EDU and .GOV are generally more credible.
- Figure out if the site is supported by or supports other credible online sources.
These are just a few things to consider and certainly can be expanded or developed to fit your own standards. Though I do believe when it comes to online information its better to be safe than sorry.
Here’s another link to some interesting statistics on the growth of world internet usage and it’s population from the a site called Internet World Stats. They also link a number of interesting sites on the history of the internet and other areas related to the internet.