Spurred by the massive amounts of information (mainly misinformation) about the Hini aka H1N1 aka Swine Flu aka Bacon Plague aka the Oinking Sickness, I have realized that many people do not really know how the internet works. I feel called upon to pay heed to this grave matter, and have compiled the following:
Official Rules for Internet Usage, Version Hini Point One
- When you google something, the first page of results from your google search are not an indication of their veracity or “trueness.” Results are ranked based on how many hits, or “clicks” they receive. The more you click, the higher its google rank. This does not mean its content is true and reliable. Example: Just because the first site that pops up when you google “H1N1 vaccine ingredients” tells you that it contains formaldehyde and tissues from aborted babies does NOT mean it is true.
- Anyone can publish anything they want on the internet. There are no editors or publishers to approve or reject any of its content. Example: I could create a page touting the merits of taking high doses of Vitamin D to combat the Hini, encouraging people to take doses higher than the daily maximum recommended intake of 2000 IU, and watch my stocks in the vitamin company soar. I could casually forget to include pertinent information such as the possibility of vitamin D toxicity, which can cause calcium deposits to form in places, like, your blood vessels. Awesome.
- Never believe anything, especially forwards, you receive in your e-mail inbox. Most of these are not true. You will NOT get bad luck for 100 years if you delete the message before forwarding it to 27 of your favourite friends. Example: Ashley Flores is not a real missing person. She may not even be a real “found” person.
- Anyone can sign any name to the bottom of an e-mail. There is no way to track this back. Example: I could write an e-mail to everyone, telling them that eating bacon dipped in vitamin D will give you immunity from the Hini. Then I could sign it Dr. David Suzuki, and copy and paste an entire list of his credentials and all the great stuff he has done. That doesn’t mean the Suze wrote the e-mail, and it definitely does not mean you should braise your pig fat with D-drops.
- When in doubt about the veracity of an e-mail, go to snopes.com and please, for the love of Zeus, look it up before you forward it.
- “Researching” is not the same as “googling.” There are places to go on the internet if you want real facts. Most of these are databases of academic periodicals from universities and libraries. Not so much from google. Don’t get me wrong, if you want great ideas for icebreakers for your next business function, google is awesome. If you want to know what caused Gulf War Syndrome (ahem), google is NOT where you go; Pub Med (not to be confused with Club Med) is where you want to be.
If you do not know how to properly use the internet, please don’t use it to make important decisions, such as how to properly cook pufferfish, or whether or not to get the Hini shot. You wouldn’t google “pufferfish”, then watch a youtube video on how to cut it properly without leeching its poison into the meat, then cook it and serve it to yourself and your children. Why, then, are people willing to make a decision about getting a vaccine based on their “research” on the internet and in TV Guide rather than talking to their family physician or their pharmacist? Because they don’t know the rules of the internet. The internet is a free-for-all. Sometimes, this can be fantastic. But not when you are making important decisions regarding your health and the health of your loved ones.
Get off the computer and go talk to your physician or pharmacist or other health care practitioner. He/She will be more than happy to give you all the valid information you need.
**I realize the irony of my posting this on the internet. Like I said, it’s a BYOB out here. It sort of tickles me.