With the internet as easily accepted and relied on as it is, we must be sure to continually operate the web through a series of checks and balances. Through this method of deciphering the internet we can be sure that we are increasing our chances of reading and understanding reliable and accurate information, rather than adding inaccurate or blatantly incorrect information to our collection of knowledge. In order to do so, we need to apply a consistent and working checklist of guidelines when using the Internet to obtain information for ourselves and for others. With these guidelines, we are entering the Internet blindly and potentially collecting falsified information that could potentially harm others or ourselves. Because of this, I have created a brief list of guidelines that I apply for myself when entering the realm of the World Wide Web.
1) Who is your source: Anyone can post, create, or publish their opinions on the web. You must know that the majority of writing that is seen on the web is of opinion-based authorship. Although reading opinions is not discouraged, you should understand that there exists another site with contradictory opinions. Take what you read and know that it is probably only half of the argument.
2) Where are you reading it: Is the article you are reading from a reliable website? Is it a blog? Or is it a Wiki? All of these forms of the web have different potential outcomes in reliability. This is important to consider, and probably the easiest to determine. Who is contributing, is it sponsored by an outside source, can anyone edit it? Questions like these are extremely important when inquiring about information on the web. Janet Helm of nutritionunplugged.com helped readers with this by establishing the Nutrition Blog Network. This network presents all blogs by registered dietitians, allowing people to go to one place to find all their reliable information in one place.
3) Make your own decision: Just because you read something online does not mean that it is necessarily the best personal choice for you. Remember that you need to make decisions that are applicable to you. People that are writing articles on the Internet are commonly devoted to a lifestyle much different than your own. Although some things may be able to be applied to your daily life, other aspects of the article may be far to bold to fully adopt into your day-to-day activities. Also many times these lifestyle choices are introduced in order to sell a product. Keep this in mind. Amelia Winslow of eating-made-easy.com discusses the constant shift in diet trends and trying to keep up with the latest diets is nearly impossible.
If we apply my 3 basic guidelines to this article I found on good.is we can put them to work to read into the article. Who is your source? Good.is, according to their site is “a global community of, by, and for pragmatic idealists working towards individual and collective progress.” Good is a NGO funded publication that presents readers with new and exciting information in the entrepreneurial community. It consists of collection of authors who write for Good. Where are you reading it? Although Good is a collection of authors, the majority of these authors post elsewhere. It is important to follow links at the end of articles to see what the original source of the piece is like. Make your own decision. Ro Kumar writes about transforming your yard into a self sustaining garden to provide for you and your family. The reality of everyone devoting their time to growing farms in their yard is very low. Unfortunately not everyone is the economical situation where they can devote their money and resources into home agriculture. However, parts of his suggestions are very applicable. Being able to fish out the parts of the article that you can put to work is an important analytical tool.