Articles

Why You Shouldn't Believe the Internet.

© 2020 Richard Hamper (www.dukedudeston.com)

The internet, or more importantly the World Wide Web, has become a massive part of all of our lives; we are accessing it more frequently and from a multitude of places. In the early days only a select few could access what the web had to offer, as you needed a computer, a modem and a connection to the internet via a service provider with a "by the minute" payment access which was normally no faster than 56Kbits per second, and these were all expensive and luxury items. The same items are required in the modern day; however we use the term "computer" to mean any computational device; this could be a desktop computer as like before, a laptop, a smart phone or tablet even a games console, and more recently Television sets. These devices have the "modem" built in, normally a wireless interface, and now people are able to access the internet at higher speeds, The average speeds that we can get now is more closer to 56Mbits and this is at an affordable price.

What does all this mean? It means that there are a lot more people on the internet, and here is where the real topic of this article comes into play. Recently people use the internet as a way to express themselves in a way that they never would do before. The example I am about to use is quite a common one for young people. These certain people if you meet them in person may appear to be shy and not talk very often. However the "facelessness" of the internet means because they can go by an online alias and no one can see them, when they make comments or post stuff online they do so in a very harsh and abusive manner. So they act differently in the "offline" world compared to their "online" counterpart.

Couple all these facts with the ease it is to get information online, it is very easy for anyone to put content on the internet, I should know I run a couple of websites of my own, and I found out how just by using simple search on Google (other search engines are of course available). People can even buy a domain name and some basic hosting for the price of a couple of pints at your local pub, and with tools like Wordpress and other editors that can be easily fitted onto a website hosting package, means that anyone can have their own plot on the world wide web, anyone can write what they like, like me for example, I am writing this for my own website, it's my voice, and I have the right to do so, and because it's my own website I don't have to answer to anyone about the quality of this article, anyway I digress; the point is everyone has an opinion, something to say about the matter, and going back to the faceless attitude of the internet means they don't have to worry about someone coming back and trying to correct them? Or do they? Modern websites allow users to comment on articles, and this is where, what is known as a "flame war" will start, people will argue with each other day and night in order to try to get the point across and again the "facelessness" of it all means they don't care what they say.

So why shouldn't you believe the internet? Because it is all written by people, people don't always know what they are talking about, you may think that this is contradictory of me to say, while I am one of these people writing this type of article, but because I am "faceless" I can say what I like. Of course this is all my opinion, however it seems to be a shared opinion, as people who do know me, will know, that I study with the Open University, when we are writing our assignments we need to find information that can backup our answers, we have to reference our material we have to quote from a multitude of sources, we have to work out how reliable a source is, well how do we know how reliable a source is? That's again another reason why it's hard to believe what is said on the internet.

Let's use a not so serious example, say you wanted more information about an upcoming game on your favourite console. I done a search for the upcoming game Gran Turismo Sport for the PlayStation 4, I am a fan of the series and I want to know is it worth my hard earned and very limited cash to buy this game, so I done a search and found two reviews from two "highly respected" websites.

TrustedReviews.com and GameSpot.com
I will quote from Trusted Reviews:

"[...]While GT is sipping wine and knowing exactly which cutlery to use for every course, Forza is too busy sliding on its knees on the dancefloor because its favourite song just came on.
Yamauchi may talk of all the innovation going into this game, and that it "could be called Gran Turismo 7", but you'll have to be an expert to notice it. I'm certainly not, and this still feels very much like the Gran Turismo of old, just with a new - though not as new as I was expecting - coat of paint."

(Brett Phipps, 2016, Trusted Reviews)


This review ends with the opinion of the author that this game isn't going to be that much desired if you have played previous versions of the game, I think the words "Same meat different gravy" comes into mind when I read the final paragraphs of this review, however:

"While the build I played contained only a limited amount of content, the final product will feature an arcade mode with single races, time and drift trials, and "two player battles," as well as single-player focused campaign [...]
While there's still plenty more to see, Gran Turismo Sport is so far shaping up to be worthy addition to the series' tradition of hardcore simulation excellence. We'll find out for sure when the game launches this November."
(Scott Butterworth, 2016, Gamespot)


It seems this author can't wait for the final release of this game, the review seems to praise what is coming of this addition to the franchise, so am I any more wiser whether to buy this game? No I am not; I am still trying to work out whether it is worth it, as two "trusted" sources say somewhat different things. And this is where this article lies. It is all down to personal opinion, there are games that I absolutely love but you, may not care for them or may not care for games at all for that matter. But because everyone has a voice now, they will use that voice to argue their case until the cows come home, of course, you will end up getting parties on both side of the fence arguing with each other why this will be or won't be a brilliant game.

So where do I leave this article? Should you believe everything you read on the internet... the truth is yes and no, you should take into consideration of what other people have said, and yes respectful sources are a good start in this matter, but when it comes to my GT Sport example, I found two conflicting reviews, okay they weren't that conflicting, but still the point is there, what should I have done? Just read the one I liked the sound of and decided to agree to it, I am trying to find out whether I should buy a game that will cost quite a fair bit of money, I need to justify spending that amount, and so far I am leaning to the first review I have read, I already own a GT game on the previous format, they say it isn't anything special so I won't spend my money on this new one, but is it really because the game is rubbish or is it because I don't want to blow a large sum of money? The answer is of course financial. But what I should do really is maybe read more than two website reviews, and then come to a conclusion to whether I should or shouldn't buy the game. That's where the "yes" part of the answer to the question comes to, I should believe the internet as long as I have done further investigation and come to a conclusion based on many sources. But No, I shouldn't believe the internet based on one source no matter how respected the source, because at the end of the day, people like to glamorize their articles to get people to read them, so the viewers can get bombarded with advertising so the website owners can make a load of money while sitting in their nice comfortable chairs... but that's a different story altogether.

It is important for everyone to do some homework, actually find out what is being said, if only one person has said a bad thing, does that mean that it is bad? if there are 10 people reviewing a product on Amazon and 2 people say they didn't like it, but the other 8 said they did, which one would you believe? Would you blindly follow the 8 people that liked the item? Or would you take into consideration what the 2 other people have said before you make your purchase.

There is a lot of "look before you leap" moments on the world wide web, and the worse case is of course, the Social media side. Sites like Twitter and Facebook, who allow everyone to share what they are doing, who they are doing it with and how long they have done it for, and pictures and videos to show it all at the same time, gives people that instant space on the world wide web, and because these sites happen here and now, it is easy to get caught up in the moment, and share what may or may not be a true statement.

It is easier for people to spread hateful and harmful messages around the world, especially during tough times (a major disaster / holiday / remembrance), without actually looking into the facts, of course these false posts, spread more hatred and confusion about a matter more and more over the platform (facebook). People do get riled up easily especially with these circumstances. Most of the time it's from an angry person, who has a personal reason to hate whatever it is they are creating their post about, and want to rally up a lot of people to side with them, remember it's their facebook page, their voice they are free to do so in the digital world that we live in. But how long will it take to think... "Is this right?" how long would it take to do a search on this topic? Not long at all to be honest. But it is easier to just share the hate message then it is to do the homework right.

Should we believe these posts? No, we shouldn't we should take them with a pinch of salt, and learn the key facts. Today on December 6th 2017 BBC had a report about "fake news" and how children should be taught the difference between the real news and the fake news. What is real news? That is news that has been researched and backed with reliable sources, where possible quotes from people involved and they tend, not always, to get the facts right. Fake news is where someone has seen or read a news report and has decided to cherry pick the facts and use these facts to create their own version of the report, and most of the time the information is inaccurate, and may contain information that could offend or hurt others.

The simple end of this is that you shouldn't always believe what you read on the internet, it should be taken with a pinch of salt, you should find out more if you are interested in and just be careful of what you share over on social media. Make sure you can justify that share, is it accurate, is it true?



References:

Brett Phipps. 2016. Gran Turismo Sport Preview. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.trustedreviews.com/gt-sport-review. [Accessed 4 October 2016].

Scott Butterworth . 2016. Gran Turismo Sport Is Already PS4's Sexiest Racing Game. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/gran-turismo-sport-is-already-ps4s-sexiest-racing-/1100-6440050/. [Accessed 4 October 2016].

BBC News. 2017. BBC to help students identify 'fake news' - BBC News. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-42242630. [Accessed 06 December 2017].