A recent survey from the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, and published in an article from Search Engine Land, states that search engines have now overtaken traditional media as the globally most trusted source of news. Way to go Google! This trust factor is most evident among Millennials with online search engines showing a 72% trust factor and traditional media with 64% trust. In his post, Greg Sterling hypothesizes that this jump in trust can be attributed to “the convenience and perceived comprehensiveness of news-search results – also the perceived objectivity.”
Everyone has their own thoughts on this, but I assert that one must be careful in trusting what they find online. There is an extremely wide range of material on the Internet, and this content varies in its accuracy, reliability and value. Unlike traditional media sources (books, magazines, etc.), nobody has to approve content online before it is published. So, it becomes your responsibility as the one searching to evaluate the credibility, objectivity, quality, accuracy, and reliability of the news you are searching for. Is the Millennial generation missing something here?
I argue that one needs to adopt a skeptical attitude toward all content available online. Even if this is not in your nature, it will certainly help you in the long run. There is a lot of high quality news information online, but there is also a rather large amount of misinformation, disinformation, exaggerations, half-truths, distortions and just plain old lies. Now, I am not saying to become cynical and automatically disbelieve everything that you read online, but I am saying that you don’t have to (nor should you) believe everything your read, hear, or see. Just be cautious and seek confirmation from other sources to credit what you are digesting. Remember, just because a website looks slick and professional does not necessarily mean that it is a credible and reliable site. So, how do you go about finding a trustworthy source of news from search engines?