With the adoption of Web 2.0, no longer can a company rely solely on their own marketing to establish an online profile and create company legitimacy and credibility. The read/write web has enabled anyone with an internet connection and a keyboard to become part of the conversation, and the reader is left with the daunting task of sorting through the fiction and non-fiction to arrive at an intelligent conclusion. Needless to say, this affords anyone with an opinion the opportunity to express it, regardless of whether it is beneficial to the web community in general.
The bottom line continues to be caution. Certainly there are benefits to having anyone and everyone weigh in on a subject, increasing the collective intelligence of the web and sorting the massive flux of information. But is there anything to stop misinformation and lies, besides one’s moral obligations? Sadly, the answer is no. Readers, consumers, users, all the people soaking in the information must realize that the web is opinionated, and because of that very rarely considered a 100% accurate source. As an example, the Department of Homeland Security recently tried to enter in excerpts from Wikipedia into a court case as evidence. An appeals court essentially laughed at DHS, stating Wikipedia is not admissible in court for many reasons, but one of the most obvious being that it’s defined as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit”. The day that our courts accept anyone’s opinion as evidence is the day our system fails, so thankfully I still have faith.
So how do we wade through the muck to find the truth? Traditional avenues are the best bet. When looking for information on a company, talk to their clients. When looking for information on a product, talk to someone who’s used it. When looking for factual information online, take the source with a grain of salt, and continue searching to ensure you aren’t buying the first car the salesman points at. English author and philosopher Sir Francis Bacon said it best with those three simple words: Knowledge is power.
In the spirit of non-bias, factual information, here are some additional sources of information on iePlexus and our clients: