Today is brought to you by the letter S.
verb: stupefy; 3rd person present: stupefies; past tense: stupefied; past participle: stupefied; gerund or present participle: stupefying
make (someone) unable to think or feel properly.
And how do we avoid stupefying those around us on social media when presented with a story or “news” item we want to believe but aren’t really sure is true? Let me offer you these short rules.
- Read the article. Does it match the title? If not, ignore it. Otherwise, move on to the next step.
- Do you trust the source? Is the source well known or legitimate?1 If not, don’t share. Otherwise, move on to the next step.
- Has the source been caught fabricating stories or publishing false and/or misleading edits of stories? If so, don’t share. If not, move on to the next step.
- Seriously, go read the article. We all know you didn’t read it. If it really passed the previous steps move on to the next step.
- Does the action / event / article cite sources or provide proof to back up claims, accusations, and/or accomplishments? Sourcing yet another article with no proof is not a valid source. If not, don’t share. Otherwise, move on to the next step.
- If you’re too busy to read it, can’t go thru all the steps, or you feel the article is too long, don’t share it. Otherwise, move on to the next step.
- Does the article attempt to guilt or scare you into sharing it? If so, don’t share. No, you arent helping others “just in case“. Otherwise, move to the next step.
- Does the article attempt to incite hatred or violence against others based on bias? If so, don’t share it.
If it passes all these steps then and ONLY then should you consider sharing it. Even then, you should still ask yourself if sharing will contribute in any way to the discussion?
Now you know. Next time you are about to share a news story on social media you know what to ask yourself to avoid stupefying others.
- stating how many people removed from you can contest to its authenticity is not trustworthy ie “my coworker’s cousin’s wife can attest to this and she is [insert contrived position of authority here]” [↩]