The View from The Niagara Guide

General observations and musings on how we can make Niagara a better place.

Calling Bullshit

Mark Kawabe - Monday, October 02, 2017

Manure Spreader

"Oh look. Someone's provided a quote / graphic / statistic that reinforces my worldview. I'll just re-post and share it. <click>"

Welcome to the world of social media, where something doesn't have to be true in order for it to be valuable. Only one problem: when you post stuff that's not true, you undermine your own credibility. If you're going to be spreading the news, it pays in the long run to spread the truth.

I know full well that humans aren't rational creatures. We don't respond nearly as well to facts as we do to fictions that support our values and beliefs. Stories are important, but if you're in the conversion business, it helps when they're based on truths instead of what you erroneously believe to be true.

What I mean by "the conversion business" is that you're actively trying to change people's beliefs and behaviours. Some folks (like my good friend Dennis O'Neill) don't think this is possible without addressing a person's underlying values, but that's another discussion for another day. Whatever your talking point is, you'll do better in the long run by telling stories that are based on truths.

Lies undermine your credibility. Sharing stuff that's false makes you appear lazy, both in thinking and in deeds. If you are truly convinced your position is correct, then you should be able to defend it based on facts, not fiction. You have the power of the internet at your fingertips. Taking a few minutes to do some basic fact checking should give you even more confidence that you've got things right. Using false information to bolster your position leaves you vulnerable.

This is true whether you're debating immigration policy or trying to convince a potential customer to use your service. While you might sound good or make the sale in the short term, creating change that lasts depends on whether your story withstands scrutiny. You reap what you sow, so choose your words - and your clicks - carefully.




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