Though I have retired from the classroom, I’m going to put on my teacher’s cap so we can have a quick chat about the things we share on social media.
Dodododododeedo………There, it’s on. Today’s lesson entails what we should do before we hit the share button. It’s not complicated stuff. In fact, it’s rather simple.
First, if you get what you think is a clever piece of writing from a friend and you have the sudden urge to spread it hither and yon on the Internet, pause for a moment. Then look to see who wrote the story. If there’s no writer/reporter identified, that’s a huge red flag. As a writer myself, I can tell you that I want my name on all my work. IN BIG FAT LETTERS! Writers live for that byline. So, if your post identifies no one who wants to claim it as their own, it’s fake.
Then, check the news source from which it came. No source. Hit delete and give it no further thought. If there’s a media outlet listed, google it. Check the About Us or FAQs links to see where they lie on the bias chart. Then use a fact-check site like https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/search/. This will tell you how reliable the source is and might explain why the outlet is sharing the story as written. No media source should be biased, though some clearly are. It’s your job, dear reader, to sort out whether an outlet is trying to make you believe something is true because it serves their agenda.
Next, locate the date the story occurred. Don’t be the one who shares a story from a decade ago as if it’s current news, unless there’s a good reason to do so. Ask yourself, “What is my motive for sharing this information today?”
A very sneaky way media outlets try to fool you is by utilizing questionable sources, meaning those “experts” they use to convince you they’re telling the truth. I read a story recently that quoted a doctor who seriously downplayed the corona virus. When I looked up the physician in question, I discovered he was an eye doctor. Now, I’m not saying an ophthalmologist might not be competent in this regard — Yes, I know late Chinese eye doctor Ai Fen was one of the first to raise the alarm about the severity of Covid-19 which subsequently killed him — still, if I were writing the story, I’d seek out a virologist or an Emergency Room medical worker to interview.
Another thing to look at on your post is graphics. Does the presentation look professional or does it resemble your eight-year-old’s homework? Note the spelling and grammar and punctuation, as well. Poorly composed stories are most likely fake.
So, there you have it. Not too complicated. Now we need everyone to get on board. If we don’t take the time to check what we share, someday, perhaps soon, we’ll lose the ability to discern what’s real and what’s not. How scary is that?
And, one more thing, though this one’s tough. Please vary the media sources you consume. Don’t just stick with outlets with whom you agree. As a news consumer, it’s your job to ferret out the truth. The only way to do that is to open your mind and pay attention to all the competing voices.
Then, and only then, should you hit that share button.
Wild Horses on the Salt
A woman flees an abusive husband
and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.
Published by Liaison – A Next Chapter Imprint
Order your copy here: http://mybook.to/wildhorsespb
Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.
Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.
Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?