Ignorance isn’t just Bliss, It’s Contagious.
Modern technology and the access to instant information has fostered a whole new type of person that knows just enough to be dangerous. You know the type. They have a small amount of knowledge about a subject and become overconfident. They leap to ridiculous conclusions based on what they know without taking into account that there is so much that they don’t know.
Many of them take something they heard or read out of context. They make strange and misleading judgments about the subject. Once they have made their decision they pontificate about it whenever the chance arises. They don’t want to be confused by additional facts. Especially if the additional facts show the error in their argument. People like this take rumor to be fact and spread hoaxes as truths all over the Internet. They are taken in by pseudo-science, Internet conspiracy theories, and technological myths. They expect you to treat it all as Gospel just as they do. They often refuse to be debunked or educated on the truth of the matter. Jeff Rouner wrote an interesting article about what he refers to as Snopes-Deniers and how to deal with them. His article touches on this phenomenon a bit. It can be found at houstonpress.com He suggests some tactics for handling these individuals without mentioning sources like Snopes or Factcheck.
What is of constant irritation to me is the bad tech advice these people give out based on half-truths, ignorance of actual function, or ideas that applied 15 plus years outdated. Some of which I have covered in previous articles here and in posts at the Setuix Forum. Anything from why Defrag doesn’t speed up your PC to why just being careful doesn’t negate the need for anti virus software in Windows. I could probably write an entire book or maybe even a series of books debunking conventional wisdom when it comes to technology. The folks sharing hoaxes on Facebook and spreading misinformation on viruses and hacking could provide a lot of material for me. They already keep me pretty busy trying to educate myself and others about how things actually work.
The first thing I would suggest to people is that your Facebook news feed is a lousy source when it comes to technology news and tips. Most of what you see there will cause you more trouble than you can imagine. Sometimes I think I can literally feel my IQ dropping and my brain cells screaming for mercy when I try to catch up on my social media feeds. It is always good to double check anything you read on social media about computers or technology with a trusted source of information that can cite references on the subject. Believing all or even most of what you read in your Facebook feed is going to turn you into a social engineering victim or a nut case with a very screwed up computer. A few of my favorite spots for information are commonly shared on Facebook but I like to read the articles at their sites rather than rely on fly by shares with my friends comments. Lifehacker, How-to Geek, Ars Technica, and of course Setuix Solutions are a few that I frequent.
The other thing to remember is that even those that truly are experts in a given field can be wrong. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Some people are wrong and choose to profit it from it. Don’t get caught up in discipleship to one expert on a subject. There are many so-called experts that have decided to bypass acceptable scientific testing or skip appropriate peer review altogether. I can’t keep track of them all. They get some manner of fame or notoriety and people just take whatever they say for truth because of it. They use their credentials to claim unproven idea as proven fact in hopes of making a buck. Why do they do this? Probably because you don’t have the required education to review what they have to say or sell. They sell a book or service to you after they have enticed you with their credentials or fame.
Bottom line you ask? Always get a second, third or even fourth opinion from an experts peers before just buying into what you are being sold. Snake oil salesmen come at all educational levels and exist in every field of study. Fad diets, dubious medical advice, and technical experts offering solutions that empty your pockets while fixing nothing are all over television and other media. Question everything you read on-line or see on television. Don’t ever just accept something as true based the latest trend, what you read on social media, what your friends are doing, what an apparent expert says or even conventional wisdom. That old axiom “Let the buyer Beware” applies to this modern age of information at our fingertips more than ever. There are so many good ways to fact check and compare ideas why not give it a try instead of just blindly accepting rumor as truth?