Lesson One: Myths, Misinformation, Gossip and Lies

We’ve all come across them: Myths, misinformation, gossip and downright out and out LIES. Especially if you are an avid ‘Facebooker’.

They come in all sorts of ways; Fairy stories, Motivational posters, Status Updates, on Blogs…etc..  I could go on about where to find them but that’s not what this is about. Today I want to talk about not only how you can avoid believing in any of these but also how to avoid becoming a target and how to recognize what you are reading, with the result of stopping the vicious cycle of spreading it around and keeping yourself from looking like a moronic, uninformed douchebag.

And yes, if you are one of those people that take everything at face value, share it on your Facebook and other places in your life or even talk about ANYTHING you have learnt second-hand before investigating for your own benefit (and others) then YES. In my books you are committing an act of douchebaggery.

Let us start with an example to help you first identify myths, incorrect information, gossip etc… Otherwise this is all for naught.

So you are perusing the internet one day and you find a really awesome story that you just HAVE to share on your Facebook or blog or with your neighbor over coffee. It really touched you or you laughed or whatever… so you find yourself sharing it in some way.  You don’t even think about whether or not your ‘information’ is true because you trust the source.

First mistake.

NOT EVERYONE YOU KNOW IS RIGHT. So here is where I would like to take the time so really stress to you: GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND. USE IT.  Google what you read. No matter what it is; A recent kidnapping article, a raging rapist running amok, a 12 year old is offering up a years allowance to help kids in third world countries… GOOGLE it before you share it. I’ve seen SO many stories that seemed legit, or happy, cute, sad even incredibly inspiring but were completely falsified. In some cases too, you really need to think about what you are sharing. Sharing some information not only proves to further slander the person or people  involved but can be hurtful to their family members and even an entire community. Especially if it’s wrong.

Even if the story is ‘inspiring’, ask yourself what it’s really telling you and future generations; “Make up a lie to look good.” Nothing good comes out of lies. Ever. Never ever.

Now, there is another wonderful site out there for you to use to find out if what you are reading -sometimes even hearing!- is true: SNOPES. http://www.snopes.com/  

OK, so there is another way that this bullshit spreads around: NOT STOPPING IT. Derrrr. Hear something you don’t believe? Read something questionable? Why did you just walk away? You DO realize that the source now believes that they can continue the charade of the lie with no due consequences, right? By not doing anything, you have become a part of the problem. So how CAN you fix it? Well, in most cases you probably can’t but it would be really really nice for someone to have the balls to stand up to someone and downright ASK where they got their information or even go so far as to ask them to prove it. Or even go FURTHER and prove to THEM that they are wrong. In fact, make it a weekend mission to research polite ways to do this. They do exist. Trust me. I do it all the time.
With someone completely moronic with huge asshole tendencies though, it might be best to just be straightforward with them.

So how do you prove it you ask? Well, use the skills I have already given to you. Also, sometimes just asking for proof will work wonders. I love this tactic because it makes the ‘gossip spreader’ or ‘sharer’ re-think what they are saying. Unless of course they are a moronic asshole… which means you should use the advice I gave on being straightforward with them.

Other ways to ask for proof:
Is someone bullying you online? Gossiping in status updates or commenting in other ways about you, someone you know etc… ? Ask for a screenshot of proof of the offending article, statement etc.. It’s SO easy. In fact, there is a single key on all keyboards that does this for you. Below is how to take a screenshot.

1. Open the offending article on your computer.
2. Extend your finger.
3. Hit the ‘PrtScn’ button. (Printscreen)
4.Open MS PAINT (all computers come with this program already installed)
5. Open a new page.
6. Hit the keys ‘Ctrl’ and the letter ‘V’ at the same time to paste it.
7. Hit ‘save’ and choose your desired folder. A good name for this folder could be “Offensive Fuckers”.

Pretty easy huh? (If you need more help please leave a comment and I will respond as soon as I can. But you have to come back here to read my response because I have no way to contact you otherwise.)

I have one last way to help you with bullshit:

This one is a bit harder and requires you to have some skill in not only recognizing a lie but also remembering what was said before. PEOPLE WHO LIE CAN’T KEEP A STORY STRAIGHT. I swear it really is as simple as that.

Now that I have given you these skills, go forth and use them and stop being a douchebag!


TUNE IN TO MY NEXT BLOG:  What and What Not To Do If You Are Being Bullied Online





*I may add to this as I think of things so please regard this and all future blogs as ‘Continuous Works’. Thanks!*


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