Crowdsourcing can be beneficial. It’s the practice of obtaining information or input into a task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet.
Crowdsourcing has its limits, though. And we need to stop.
Too many people are gathering their tribes on social media (and in person) and feeding off each other without digging into the truth of what’s happening. It confuses me when the same people who cry foul if a social media post is taken down because of suspicious, inaccurate, or offensive content share an article or meme and declare it true because of which of their friends shared it. Just because we like and agree with something doesn’t make it true.
We’ve stopped looking for the source. I get it. It’s hard to know who to trust. We all have media sources we’re suspicious of, but then we share articles that are from an newly established, ad-driven site or, if we dig deeply enough, originates from an individual with more of an opinion than any factual basis or even from an organization that is known for its ulterior motives. But we often don’t read beyond the bold headline. We like the wording. It supports what we want to proclaim. So, we share, like, and comment.
Crowdsourcing isn’t intended as a simple exercise of gathering support. In order to be effective, it has to broader than our own opinions and perspectives. Otherwise, we’re not gathering input that does anything other than affirm our own plans.
I hear many claims of fake news. It’s important to know what fake news is and isn’t. It is not fake news when it’s simply something we can’t fathom, we disagree with, or we don’t want to admit might be true. But that’s how it’s often used right now. If we don’t like the source, we want to dismiss it. Why? Because another source has told us it’s untrustworthy? That seems odd to me. What about comparing a variety of sources and gathering facts? The bends of a presentation aren’t that difficult to identify and ignore. But we can still gain some sound information in the core reports. Don’t want to put forth that effort? I think that’s a chronic problem for us. We want the truth handed to us, so we trust the source that gives us the “truth” most palatable to us.
How often do you (civilly and respectfully) engage with someone online (or in person) who believes differently than you? How often do you read an article from a source you doubt but you’d like to see how the facts compare? How much time do you spend ranting versus figuring out what the next best steps might be in a particular situation?
Most people who read my blog know my faith; it’s the main motivation behind my writing, and I certainly always engage my faith as a lens. I look to God as my truth check. I look to Jesus as an example. And he used wisdom in how and when to engage. What he most certainly didn’t do was chitty chat and engage in any type of propagating borderline, inaccurate information—you know, the kind that has just enough truth in it to sound good but way too much inaccurate and distracting information to keep us focused on what’s important.
We need to filter better. We need to engage better. We need to seek and share truth better.
Let’s do it.