Sunday, March 3, 2013

Garbage in, garbage out.

The Internet is a great source of information.  Some of the information, however, is crap.  And there's no place like Facebook for crap.  So-called "friends" can share posts with other so-called "friends" and the friends accept it as fact because, well - it's on the Internet, and it must be true.

Or crap.

I had three shares on my Facebook page today, and each one took about two minutes to search and destroy.
The first one was a post about drunk driving, with a gruesome photograph of a woman allegedly thrown through a car windshield after allegedly being involved in an accident allegedly involving drunk driving. It contained the text:   went to the party and remembered what you said. You asked me not to drink alcohol, so I drank a Sprite instead. I felt proud of myself, as you said I should feel. You said I should not drink and drive, contrary to what some friends told me. I made a healthy choice and your advice was correct, as it always is.

All I had to do was insert that text in a web search to find that the photograph depicts a simulated car accident created as part of "Every 15 Minutes", an educational program designed to emphasise the dangers of driving while impaired or texting. The same story has also circulated for several years as part of a bogus MADD email petition.
Besides, wouldn't you ask yourself, "How could someone get a photo like that, of a woman through a windshield and a grieving man?"  I guess not.
The second one contained an equally gruesome photograph of a motorcycle having collided with an automobile after allegedly texting while driving. The first red flag was that I was supposed to believe that a motorcycle rider could text and drive. The second was that it was shared on Facebook.

The Honda crotch rocket rider was traveling at approximately 85 mph.
The VW driver was talking on a cell phone when she pulled out from a side street, apparently not seeing the motorcycle. The rider's reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident.

It's easy enough to come up with horrible examples of dopes behind the wheel of a car talking on cell phones or texting without having to resort to made-up crap.  This one occurred in 2003 and none of the police reports contained anything about anyone using a cell phone at the time of the accident.  More made-up crap.

The third one was attributed to comedian Bill Cosby.  This was easy to disprove because Cosby doesn't write anything that he doesn't say out loud.

Bill Cosby "I'm 83 and Tired"
I've worked hard since I was 17. Except for when I was doing my National Service, I put in 50-hour weeks, and didn't call in sick ...
in nearly 40 years. I made a reasonable salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, it looks as though retirement was a bad idea, and I'm tired. Very tired.

Not only is Cosby not 83 (he's 75) but he didn't write this at all.  It was written by Robert A. Hall, a former Massachusetts state senator and Marine Corps veteran.  It was part of a blog entry he wrote on February 19, 2009.  In this case, Facebook posters aren't really trying at all.  They are assuming that it matters more because Bill Cosby said it than it would if a retired senator and Marine said it. That's just ridiculous. If it's a good idea, it doesn't matter who came up with it.

In all three cases I pointed out the errors to the "sharers" and they replied that it didn't matter because the message was all that mattered to them.  So, if someone takes your words and twists them around to benefit their cause and does not credit you, it's OK because the message is all that matters.  Remember that the next time someone at work gets credit for something you did or one of your kids has an idea stolen and gets some shit-ass school award.

The other lesson to learn here is this:  Take three minutes and do a simple web search of this crap before you mindlessly click "Share" and inflict your "friends" with this junk.  You'll do the world a service if you do some research and credit the RIGHT people with their thoughts.  The ideas are great, but remember that it's important to cite the right people with them.
Use the same standards you would use in talking face-to-face. Would you go running to people with some half-baked story about something you knew nothing about?  Oh ...