Communication – noise or facts, news or opinions

Convergent reporting – just in time news – blogging – what is opinion and what is fact? What is real and what is hyperbole?

We are always communicating, even those of us who are quiet and introverted. Silence speaks volumes. Opinions run rampant and often roughshod over facts. Who do we trust? What do we truly know?

As medium and media come closer together, as people check facts less frequently than they do their number of hits, we have to wonder who to believe and how much to believe.

Bombarded with communication input, it is up to each of us to choose wisely. Choose what we listen to, read, and watch. Choose how much of what we see is fact versus not quite so. It is so easy to believe it because it’s in writing, on the web or in the airwaves.

This isn’t just political. It’s all sorts of knowledge that is out there, sometimes masquerading, sometimes, hidden, but always around.

Who truly is an expert? And why? Who do you believe, or more importantly, who do you agree with? We so much want to read and listen to people who have the same ideas as us, or at least along the same lines. And yet that can also be dangerous, because our “caution” tape is turned off when we do that.

How many of you have used snopes.com to check for internet rumors versus facts? How many of you forward something you receive because you trusted who sent it to you?

I was burned a year or two ago when I passed something along from a “trusted source” to a friend, who was very upset by what it said. I didn’t mean to do that – in fact I thought I was doing him a favor by “pointing out” something he may not have known. I haven’t done something like that since.

Communication, reading, listening and watching is also learning. So as I write this, I just want to send the “alert” to be careful when you do so. Double check information you feel is factual. Where did it come from and how do they know it is true? Make sure that if you are taking it as fact, as truth, that it really is. Use all the communication tools available, but always do so with a grain (or more) of salt. For if you want to be a good communicator, start with being a discerning receiver. Separate the news from the noise, facts from opinions. As you do so, you’ll find that you are learning more as a result. And when you share this information, you will do so with greater confidence.

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About hprager

Father, husband, brother and son. Delighted to be friends and mentor to so many wonderful people. Passionate about: leadership, learning and development, education, nature and the environment, youth, music, jazz, the tuba, Israeli dancing, networking and helping others, humor, laughter, swimming, hiking, the Cubs, Northwestern athletics, theater, musicals, concerts, traveling and making new friends wherever I go. Helping the world be a better place when I leave it.
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