Trust the Right People
These days it is easier than ever to position yourself as an expert in your field…even if you are not actually an expert. It is something that more and more people are doing and this can make it really difficult to figure out who the most trustworthy sources of information (and opinions) are. Nowhere is this truer than on the Internet. So how do you know which sources are worth trusting and which aren’t?
The first thing that you should do, when figuring out whether or not a source is trustworthy, is to check out their background. Do a Google search on the person and see what you can find. If all you can find are blog posts but no actual biographical information or records, you should probably move on to someone else. A trustworthy source will have done the work to build up that expertise. He or she will have verifiable degrees or practical experience backing them up. This doesn’t mean you can’t agree with a person’s opinion. It simply means that you shouldn’t use it as the reason to make a decision about important life matters.
For example, let’s look at Charles E Phillips former co-President, Oracle Corp.. When you put his name into Google a plethora of articles and records come up. This information goes beyond the boundaries of a simple Wikipedia entry (though Wikipedia can be a worthwhile source once in a while). There are articles in trusted publications about him and his background. The first page of the Google search brings up sources like The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, etc. This is what you want to see. If all you find are links to Ezine articles pieces, self published Yahoo News Network articles and a blog? You might want to treat carefully.
If you aren’t sure whether or not to trust a publication, check out its history. How long has the publication been in business? Who sits on its board? Who owns the publication? What are the backgrounds of these people? Do you trust that their opinions aren’t influencing the reporting done by the publication you want to cite?
Basically, when you want to know whether or not a source is trustworthy, you need to do a little “leg” work. You can’t assume that someone is automatically trustworthy because he has been published. Gone are the days of “well he has a book so he must know what he’s talking about.”