Trust Me! Facts & Fabrications

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Liar Liar

If we seek understanding of a subject or situation, where do we turn? What do we trust? The TV, the Internet—hearsay? Do we venture beyond biases (ours and those of others) to explore the multifaceted faces of a topic? In the age of incessant information overload, how do we deduce which information is reliable and which isn’t?

Facts and figures can be molded into specific biases and perspectives, muttering endlessly at us from our TVs or relentlessly scrolling along our phones. Tori Reid, writing for Lifehacker, suggests myriad reasons for why information is sometimes misrepresented, including the innocent attempt to shelter an audience from harsh realities. It’s a common plight, one we ourselves may have stepped into at one time or another–privy to potentially upsetting information regarding a colleague or friend yet wanting to spare their feelings (or spare ourselves from the subsequent fallout).

Yet credibility of information remains crucial for veritable agreement and consensus to occur, as described in this TED-Ed video. Data alone can only go so far, though. Whether listening to or conducting a presentation, we ought to be aware of daily data bombardment. At some point, facts and figures get lost in the haze. Our understanding of a situation then starts to rely on our values.

That’s not to say though that our values can’t also get confused—or even tricked. For better or worse, recent questioning of the traditional gatekeepers of information has heralded the advent of alternative information sources, as discussed in this TED-Ed video. But the pestering query persists—which information is trustworthy information?

Tumultuous situations may invite accidental or even intentional misinformation, alas thrusting the burden of validity on us. This video by John Green of Crash Course emphasizes the need to approach a subject with cool composure. Look not just at the information but at the source behind the information—do specific sponsors or creators have biases that seeped into the presentation?

Today, seek to understand not just the facts and figures coming our way–but the reason why it’s those facts and figures. Wear the investigative journalist’s hat to constantly seek what lies behind with bravery to ask, is there more to this picture that’s been painted?

“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”
– Mark Twain

Do you have an idea you want to share with an empowered community of self-aware professionals? If you’d like to contribute an idea or article to ‘In The Flow of Work’ on the Evolve blog, just send us a message or submit a post to our Head of Content, Adam Schneider

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