(feature image courtesy of http://smallbiztrends.com)
Today’s online social buzz is an ever escalating exchange that boasts over 800 million active Facebook users, 100 million Twitter chirpers, and 64 million LinkedIn professionals. Whether you are using these forums to gather data to make a purchase, make a decision, or just to broaden your understanding of the world, you want to know that what you read is true. Credible authors are those individuals who operate cautiously to provide you with the most accurate information possible. They are not trying to bamboozle you, pull the wool over your eyes, or send you down the river. Cliches aside, it is essential that you know whether or not the writers you are reading are trustworthy. How exactly do you verify that? To gain an understanding of how online credibility can be assessed, let’s examine Twitter.
Establishing Credibility on Twitter confirms that readers who find Tweets through 3rd party connections and not their close social networks are more likely to uncover fraudulent or erroneous material. Microsoft recently researched this very situation and discovered that “In addition to reading tweets from users they followed, respondents consumed tweets by conducting searches on search.twitter.com (84%), clicking trending topics on the Twitter homepage (84%), searching for tweets using Bing’s and Google’s social search functionality (72%), or serendipitously encountering tweets mixed into the results of general Web searches (81%).” These are astounding percentages of searchers who are left open to a greater possibility of unreliable sources. That is not to say that all Tweets found via Google will be untrustworthy at all. There are volumes of valid information available, but you have to be a thoughtful consumer.
It is also important to note that the type of information you are reading dictates how much concern you have for its truthfulness. If you are reading celebrity news or gossip, you probably don’t care all that much about the truthfulness of the message. You perhaps just want to be entertained for a moment, so unless you are the celebrity being lied about, it doesn’t matter much that it is fantasy. On the other hand, if you need information to make a purchase or to learn about the latest breaking news or political happenings, you will probably demand that information be reliable.
As both an author and reader of such posts, you should keep these aspects at the forefront of your mind:
1. Is correct grammar and punctuation used?
2. Is there a company logo or photo as a profile image?
3. Is the follower to followed ratio positive?
4. What is the number of followers?
5. Is the Tweet focused on the topic?
6. Is there a bio? Is it complete?
7. Are there links to reliable web sites?
8. Are the Tweets noteworthy information? (i.e. not where you are eating lunch)
9. Are their sustainable relationships built by engaging the followers?
10. What are other people saying? You already rely on others’ comments when researching goods and services on such sites as Amazon. The same strategy can be used in this situation as well.
Now, it’s true that the above points are much to consider, but what if you could find one site that allows you to be both evaluator and researcher? Such a site would be sheer bliss for those forward-thinking individuals who choose to harness the power of online sources. Thankfully such a site exists in Proliphiq.com. Proliphiq gives you the opportunity to rate the credibility of the information you find online while providing you with the tools to research author credibility. Proliphiq does the leg work for you, streaming information from a variety of sources into one stream; as a result, you are no longer on your own.
There is so much valid, reliable information conveniently available online. With a bit of careful consideration on Proliphiq.com, you can make sure that what you take to make your own comes from a credible source.