Social networks can be either boon or bane, depending on who you have in your ‘friends’ list, but what many may not realize is how social networks have become the medium of choice for this generation’s snake oil salesmen to peddle misinformation. As we become comfortable with technology, we tend to place our trust that said technology will do us no wrong. But there is a difference between trusting a fitness tracker to provide an accurate account of your 10,000 steps-a-day goal, and putting blind faith in everything read online.
This phenomenon is so common, it’s a meme often joked about within tech circles, “If it’s on the internet, it must be true.”
The more alarming trend though, is a kind of mob mentality. People derive opinions about topics they would otherwise have no interest in or no knowledge of, because they read it online and their friends have been sharing it. These opinions become so ingrained, the truth is often rejected even when presented with real facts.
A personal anecdote is the recent launch of Netflix in Singapore. Many people have asked for advice about getting onto the streaming bandwagon, but I know many more that have already sworn off the service because of its apparent vast gulf in content offering between Singapore and US versions—without ever having tried either.
If you’re the go-to tech person in your family or social circle, you probably have similar experiences. It is my hope that our stories in HWM can be of some help to you in these situations, which would make our work all the more meaningful.