The internet, a tremendous wealth of (mis)information

By
Home Inspector with American Bulldog Home Inspection Inc.

I was recently inspecting a home for a young couple who were buying their first home. At one point during the inspection, I overheard the buyers father explain to his son how to do something. I can't give any more information about that because, since the topic was not related in any way to the house or to the inspection, I really didn't pay much attention to what they were talking about. I didn't put much thought into the discussion until I heard the father say that he got this information on the internet, and remarked that it has a wealth of information on any topic you may want to research.

Obviously, that statement is true, as we all know. What struck me at the time though, was that the internet also has a wealth of mis-information. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that earlier, but I rarely gave it a second thought. I had read information that I knew to be false or misleading in the past but dismissed it as such and went on my routine. Like the "home inspection expert" who advised buyers to turn on the central air conditioning in the winter to verify that it gets cold. His reasoning is you don't want to find out in July that the A/C is not working. My HVAC friends have told me that this would essentially guarantee that the unit would not work when you need it to, it would damage the compressor.

But how much of the information do we take for granted because we read it on the world wide web, how often do we make decisions for our lives based on some free advice from the so-called experts that we read online. We can get financial advice, health advice, home or auto maintenance tips, dating and romance tips. We can learn how to negotiate a better compensation package from our employer, how to win at the stock market, how to make everyone like you, and how to perform do it yourself oral surgery.

OK, I made that last one up.

The point is, anyone with a computer and internet access can be an expert in anything they want. There is no real regulation on what people post online. Don't take something as Gospel just because you read it online from an expert in the field. With everything you read, assume that there may be some room for error. Cross reference the facts, double check the information, do your due diligence and research before making a decision that you may live to regret.  

 

Good luck

Kevin Welch

American Bulldog Home Inspection

Watchdog for the American Dream

Comments (8)

Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional

Kevin...

We had an episode last week where a blogger had written something derogatory about our parent company, it was picked up by Yahoo, and now it is the gospel truth, even though it's misinformation.

You are right on with this!

Featured in the Group "Whacked!!!"

Feb 15, 2009 12:56 AM
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Kevin I hear you on the misinformation. Turning on the A/C in the Winter is a recipe for disaster.

Feb 15, 2009 02:35 AM
Gwenn Tanvas
NEXA Mortgage LLC an Equal Housing Lender NMLS # 1660690 - Appleton, WI
The Mortgage Gal, 920.267.7891~ SMART - INNOVATIVE

Hi Kevin: You are so right - I have been doing a little project and researching real estate sites where consumers ask questions about various aspects of Real Estate. Some are 1st time buyer questions, finance questions, inspection questions, tax questions, etc., etc. It is absolutely amazing to read some of their responses - I am gathering examples for a future post - Should be interesting. Thanks for the thought and a BIG WELCOME to Active Rain. big smile to you!

Feb 15, 2009 08:43 AM
Jack Feldmann
Clayton Inspection Service, Inc. - Knoxville, TN

Wait a minute. I read on the internet that everything on it is true. :)

 

I was having an e-mail discussion with a friend, and when I sent her the Snopes link that said that her original e-mail topic was false, she told me that Snopes didn't know what they were talking about. "Everyone knows Snopes is a bunch of crap" is what she said. Got to love them.

Feb 15, 2009 12:42 PM
Marilyn Harrell
Better Homes and Acres - Beaverton, MI
Wixom Lake - Beaverton MI

Very good point yet typical "Can't believe everything you hear!" OR READ!

Feb 17, 2009 01:35 PM
Terry Chenier
Homelife Glenayre Realty - Mission, BC

On any topic, I always go to 4 or 5 sources; if I get concensus, it's good.

Feb 18, 2009 11:47 AM
Jon Wnoroski
America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc. - Green, OH
Summit County Realtor

Hi Kevin - You're right.  The Internet is not a highly reliable source of information.  Anyone can post information on the "Net" and their purpose doesn't have to be truthful.  It's best to check out reliable sources and, as Terry mentioned above, check out several sources.

 

Mar 06, 2009 11:13 PM
Nikki Marlatt-Young
At Ease Home Inspections - Arbutus, MD
Housing & Rental Inspections

Kevin.... I research all the time....    I just have to have the answer.... (but that is just who I am)...

I have found here on Active Rain has been the BEST source of information.

My on going joke lately when I don't know the answer is....  "I need to consult with my people" When I say that I mean I consult with all my great contacts here.  

Think about it.... you get answers and points of views from may different Inspectors & Realtors  -- All doing and wanting the same thing you do.

One Stop Shop!    lol

Mar 24, 2009 01:42 AM