Remember when you used to have to know things? Now we don’t have to know things much at all. You just jump on Google and ask “How does dry cleaning work?” or “How do you jumpstart a 2005 Buick?”
We all know the internet is a huge steaming pile of published material; some of it amazing and some of it not so amazing. Google works great when the info is correct and when the question itself isn’t a matter of life or death.
What about getting medical info and advice from the internet? People going through cancer have a bunch of questions and need really good information. I still have questions about my condition and I’ve been living with it for 7 years now. So what’s the harm in asking Dr. Google? Well, a lot of times we can’t verify the veracity of the information. In plain language – some of what you hear might be bulls@#$!
For instance, I was in a comedy troupe years ago. My name was listed on our Wikipedia page. A buddy of mine hit the link on my name and found that instead of going to any information about “yours truly”, the link went to an article on
Bob Hawke, the former Prime Minister of Australia. Now, I’ve never been to Australia, so I’m pretty sure I’m not the Prime Minister of the sun-soaked former British colony. I would like to be, if only for the free shrimp.
So, you see my point. Wikipedia would have you think that I have been moonlighting as a well-respected statesman in my free time. I assure you, I have not.
So what about medical info? Do you really want to get medical advice from some website that thinks people should skip chemo and instead just eat a lot of pork? Of course not! Now, I realize I am ranting about this in a blog on a website for a very well respected hospital, but I am blogging ON A WEBSITE FOR A WELL RESPECTED HOSPITAL. So, the message is, choose your sources of info wisely. The implications of getting poor information from a less than reputable source can be pretty big. For god sake, you really don’t want me to be the leader of any country do you?
By the way, here are some great links to very reputable guides on how to know if the websites you consult are trustworthy.
Do you have a favorite cancer info website? What do you like about it?
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