It feels like we’re in the age of misinformation. Almost everything on social media is believed to be 100 percent true. And a lot of times people or accounts who post information aren’t experts in that particular field. I’ve always believed in the mantra of “read and research before you react.”
So here are three questions to ask when vetting social media experts.
What are their credentials?
If you have a social media account you have a platform. The number of followers doesn’t matter because you can reach anyone at any time with one post. So this creates an environment where anyone can say anything about a particular subject without consequence (unless you’re Trump).
To avoid automatically believing information from social media accounts as the truth, look into their credentials. For public figures a verification badge is enough to prove that it’s their official account. So any information being released about them via that account should be true.
Moreover, if it’s not a public figure take a deep dive into their account as a whole: How do they describe themselves or their profession in their bio? Do they plagiarize or steal content? How did they get to the point of becoming an expert in that particular field (through education, experience, etc.)?
These mini questions are important in verifying whether a person giving information or advice on social media is knowledgeable in the subject matter.
Are they practicing what they preach?
Anyone giving out information or advice on social media should be applying it to their own lives. Because that’s the only way to tell if the information is legitimate. And of course giving advice isn’t always a one-size-fits-all thing depending on people’s circumstances.
But it adds to an expert’s credibility if they’re transparent about practicing what they peach. I find that many experts that share advice on social media as part of their brand are always willing to document their process, answer any questions and receive feedback.
It creates a level of trust that the person knows what they’re talking about and that it’s a part of their everyday lives.
Does it sound too good to be true?
If information sounds far fetched or too good to be true then most likely it is. If an influencer gives advice for drastically increasing your follower count within a day, you can assume that the advice isn’t about how to do it organically. Because cultivating a real audience online takes weeks, months or even years.
An everyday scenario is if someone shares an article on social media actually take the time to read the article for yourself. This sounds obvious but many people simply read a headline or read a tweet from someone else about what an article was about and take it to be the truth. Not to say people are lying about what they read but everyone interprets information differently.
Not failing for sensationalism can be beneficial for your own mental health and clarity. We’re constantly being fed information 24/7 on social media so it’s important to take a step back to vet and verify where the information is coming from. It makes a huge difference in preventing false information from being shared by mass amounts of people.