Honest Tips for Staying Accurate Online

“Quotes found on the Internet are not always accurate.” – Abraham Lincoln

Image courtesy of Loughborough University Library's photostream

Image courtesy of Loughborough University Library’s photostream

Who needs a library anymore, when we can pick up our phone or tablet and “Google” everything, such as how many feet are in a mile? 5,280 is the answer by the way, or so the Internet says. Our children probably don’t know what the Dewey Decimal System is, and why should they when information is at the tip of their fingers. But how do we know if that information is accurate? A USC study found that only 17 percent of web users (you) felt that the only websites that were entirely accurate were government sites. Only 12 percent felt that in established media, the content shown on their websites was 100% accurate. Not a good feeling when so little of us trust what we read. How can I accept that these statistics are legitimate? The libraries of Virginia Tech recommend the following things to look for when searching the Internet for information:

1.    Is the page signed?
2.    Is the author associated with an educational institution?
3.    Is there contact information?
4.    Is the page free of advertisements or sponsored links?
5.    Is the site selected objective and not just supportive of your opinion?

As individuals and as part of the business world, it is our responsibility to ensure the quality of our content. Try to not puff the feathers of your business’s presence on the Internet. Instead, aim for accuracy. Consider your sourcing when publishing on the web and try to stay unbiased. Remind yourself that no one approves the content that is put up on the web. So on your search for statistics, research and quotes in and related to your business, strive for the authentic content. Our mothers used to say if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. When posting your own content online, heed the advice of your mother and honest Abe. If you can’t provide something accurate, don’t provide anything at all.

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