Why do you believe everything on the Internet?
“I Read it on the Internet” Most of what I read on the internet, regarding health information, is bunk. Whether it is advice on diets, exercises, medical treatments, etc., most is off target, non-factual and opinionated and biased. People are likely to believe what we read on the internet as gospel because……….well, it is on the internet! As if the internet is the ultimate stamp of “authority.”
Lack of Credibility Most web sites, especially health, have no credibility whatsoever. There is no review system in place to filter information. In time, this will come, but for now, read carefully. Read and look for sites that are written by authorities. In my case, the content of my web site should be more credible than others. I am a physician. I am a retina specialist. This makes me an authority on retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and retinal detachments.
True vs. Perceived Authority True authorities are hard to come by, especially on the internet. The world’s most famous authority on “snipes,” isn’t necessarily the authority on the internet. The “perceived” authority will be found on the internet. The “perceived” authority is the person who takes the time to publish about “snipes,” and this may even include work by the true authority.
In other words, the person that publishes the most about a topic is more likely to be the perceived authority and is easily found with you “Google” a topic, whereas the true authority may lie dormant and be lost on the internet.
It’s Easy to Get On The Internet It is so easy, I’ve done it. It is easy to create a web page or blog. Simple software is available for free. Sophisticated software is nominal. I use a company to “host” my web sites. Overall, it costs less than 10 dollars a month. My point is that it is easy and cheap. You basically just need a computer.
What Does This Mean? It does not mean that everything you read is bad information. Most of the health information on sites like WebMD and NIH is awesome and factual. These authorities have authored the content on the web pages. Be cautious about the source if you are not familiar with them. They are, however, often very hard to read. I find the information is too broad and not necessarily targeted to their readers.