Credibility Gaps Abound Online – Don’t Fall Prey to Gullibility Traps

I’ll bet, if you do much online, that you know at least a few people who believe anything they see online, via email, or in any way connected to the Web, don’t you? Can you believe there are such gullible people in the world. Not just children, no sirree, but full-grown, genuine, mature adults. Remember the old adage attributed to the old-time showman, P.T. Barnum — “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

As you roam to and fro around the Internet, beware. Always be mindful of the very real “credibility gaps” and gullibility “traps” (for lack of a better term) waiting for you everywhere you go. Don’t be shocked at this, but — not everything on the Internet is actually true, in fact, some of the most sincere stuff you find isn’t even in the same neighborhood as “truth.”

I realize that may come as quite a shocking concept for many, doesn’t it? Self-confession here: I’m one of the most easily “taken in” people you will ever meet. If you don’t believe me, just ask my wife of many years. When sales people come to our door and I answer it, she groans. She’s probably remembering the brand new set of encyclopedias we bought chiefly because I was so reassured by the salesman: “You really need to take advantage of this price right now, so you’ll have them for your children. You’ll be able to offer them terrific learning tools right here at home!”

(At the time, we had been married less than a year, and we weren’t planning any children for at least another two or three years. But, hey, the sales guy assured me that would be no problem. After all, we were also buying five years of annual update volumes for that beautiful set of books.)

If you’re one of those many people who want always to accept what you see online as true, I have a suggestion for your own good: Shut down your computer for a couple of days, go to a public library, and reintroduce yourself to some of those block-shaped, multi-page little wonders you may have seen in your pre-online days — books. (OK, if you still don’t recall what a book is, think of it as a hard copy version of those documents you read on your portable e-reader. With me now?)

One of the biggest pitfalls you may get caught by on the Internet is a well-written review website or blog. You want to buy a widget or bookcase, or even a storage cube, online, so you search for information. Your search takes you to a website with product information that’s helpful. You look around further and you find glowing reviews that convince you you’ve found the world-class widget or shoelaces you need. To seal the deal for you, the blog/website has 10 glowing testimonials and customer reviews convincing you that ทางเข้า ufabet ภาษาไทย everyone wants to send money to the site owner so they can order his jar lid remover and live happily ever after.

Here’s my point: with all the reviews and information blogs and other websites out there, how can you trust what you’re reading? Even if you’re reading something that SEEMS legit, that’s called a “review” or “information — How do you know whether or not it’s real? How do you know that someone hasn’t just made it all up??

You don’t know whether or not someone made the stuff up. And that’s when the gullibility gap yawns wide open in front of you. At least, however, if you can confirm the information with more than one source — preferably with one or more offline sources — you stand a better chance of getting to the truth of what you’re reading or seeing online.

Then, too, there’s the old reliable “gold standard” of credibility. You’ve heard it, haven’t you? It goes something like this: “If something sounds too good to be true it probably isn’t.” How much grief would that have already saved you in life and business — both offline and online! — if only you had asked yourself that question and really, honestly answered it? (I know I would have saved several hundred bucks on an encyclopedia set.)

But of course scam artists and even legitimate sales people depend on the human tendency to WANT to believe in those things that excite us, that appeal to our selfish desires, greed, whatever, even when they aren’t in our best interest.

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