Editor’s Note: My brother Hanif recently started blogging. Biased big sis tendencies aside, he’s a great writer! He also has a great sense of humor which comes across in his posts – something I fail horribly at – like this one on riding the trotro (public mini-bus) in Accra. The article featured belows echoes some of my thinking in recent weeks about information consumption – bottomline: verify information, draw on multiple streams for a holistic perspective, don’t take things for face value. Hope you enjoy his piece like I did!
Number One: Don’t believe everything you see on the internet. No, scratch that. Don’t believe anything you see on the internet. Take everything with a ton of salt. It really surprises me when people unconditionally trust a source just because it’s ‘from the internet’. I mean. Do you trust human beings? Of all of God’s creations, human beings are the most untrustworthy. Let’s take a lion for example; if it’s hungry and you’re within reach, it will most likely gobble you up. It follows its instinct, like all animals. They are predictable. Not so mankind. As one famous personality put it:
We change, ergo, we’re unpredictable, ergo trust us at your own risk. Got it? Ok, cool! On to next question, do you really know what the internet is? As in, do you know where all the content on the internet is from?
Popular websites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook try to help you with that by ‘verifying’ accounts so users are sure that that is the celebrity/news agency/company that is actually posting that content there. So on those accounts, you’ll see a blue tick near the name. LOL. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s still run by humans. In fact, its being verified makes it more dangerous. You think you can trust what they say, so you let your guard down. Look what happened with the Associated Press Twitter account back in 2013. Lesson learnt: A blue tick doesn’t guarantee verified content.
PSYCH! Kwame Nkrumah didn’t actually say:
“The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes.”
It was Oscar Wilde. Like I said, you can’t trust anything you see online.
Spammers usually try to attract your click by using trigger words like ‘Free’ ‘Sale’ and ‘Sex’ because apparently these words are hard-wired in us. They also use bright colours and flashing lights. I remember when visiting a site, I ‘won’ a ticket on a cruise ship because I was the 100,000th visitor. That was back when I was like 11 or 12. I was so ecstatic, I spent over thirty minutes trying to fill out the form…my personal details…some internet information….luckily I didn’t have a bank account, so I wasn’t able to complete the form. Thank God for that.
If the offer seems too good to be true…it probably IS.
Last Bit of Advice: DON’T TYPE IN CAPS UNLESS YOU MEAN TO SHOUT LIKE I’M DOING RIGHT NOW. *drops mic*
Written by Mohammed-Hanif Abdulai
Interact with Hanif – Twitter | Photo Source: www.yenkazia.wordpress.com
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and in no way reflect those of Circumspecte.
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.