Monday, May 28, 2012

Check; Double Check; Triple Check; Check Once More

Good afternoon everybody. So if you are one of my more avid followers or just happened to be on at the right time this morning, you may have seen my daily blog entry already. In fact, as I always Tweet the link as well, you can probably still find it out there in cyberspace. However, the link will not lead you anywhere because this morning, I broke the most important rule of sharing information: I didn't check my facts properly. Luckily for me I have a cousin who reads my blog every day and quickly pointed out my error. Thank you Adrian.

So what was my mistake (if you didn't catch it already)? I posted a solidarity blog with an event that hasn't happened yet; yeah that's right, it hasn't happened yet. The event I'm talking about is coming on June 4th when over 13 000 Canadian websites intend on staging a digital demonstration by taking their sites down and replacing them with a black screen to protest Bill C38 (the budget bill). My mistake was thinking that that was happening today.

How did this happen you might ask? How is it that I allowed myself to make this sort of mistake? Well, I have no excuse for what happened. I don't make excuses. As I said, I broke the first rule of sharing information by not verifying the story; which I will get to. I didn't check to see from any others sources; I sought out no other confirmation. I read a headline, opened the link, read the article (which makes the blunder all the worse) and then acted on it. It wasn't until I went back to the article, after my cousin Adrian became confused about the date of the event, that I realized what had happened.

You see, I can't really show you by using the link but the headline that Yahoo! was showing me read "13,000 Canadian Websites Go Black" or something very close to that. The headline gave the reader the impression this was happening now. So I read the article and it never mentioned a date, just an explanation as to why it was happening. It wasn't until I returned afterwards and re-opened the link that I noticed the headline of the article was different than the one used in the link to reach the article. This one said the same thing and added at the end: "In June". I don't know if it was there the first time or not to be honest, but I can confirm that the headline leading to the article did not mention "June". That is the explanation (not excuse) for what happened this morning in case you are wondering. Today's first post has been reverted to draft format and saved for the actual event.

Though I could have attempted to ignore this slight blunder and had it slip by unnoticed I felt it necessary and important to share it with the bulk of people who have no idea it even happened. Why? To further re-enforce the idea that if you are going to share information with people (or learn from them), make sure you have the right, factual and truthful information. What I did this morning, however unintentional it most definitely was, was mislead my readers; I provided misinformation because I took the shortcut of taking something at face value and not seeking out anything beyond it. I am particularly meticulous to providing accurate information to anyone and everyone I share with, yet despite my discipline in this matter, I was still susceptible to such a gross mistake. I think it's crucial to recognize the importance of verifying the validity of the information you intend to share (or learn). Check it. Double check it. Triple check it. Then check it once more.

My cousin, who trusts in the information I share, questioned me. I am not insulted; I am grateful as well as overjoyed. Why? Because he knew to question something regardless of his trust or faith in me. That is the only way to approach any information, no matter how much you trust, know or believe in the source: Critically.