Think critically about the bloggers you read

Glasses by Lynn Kelley Author
Glasses, a photo by Lynn Kelley Author on Flickr.
I have a confession to make: Sometimes I abdicate my responsibility to think critically about what I read to certain bloggers I agree with. Most of the time it’s unintentional, but it happens far too often for me to simply dismiss it or ignore it. Instead of filtering what I read through the world, which is what I should be doing, I filter the world through what I read, which is about as smart as insisting that you follow the map at all times even when the bridge it says is there isn’t there in real life anymore.
To be clear, I have nothing against bloggers. I am a blogger myself, after all, and there are many wonderful bloggers out there who have broadened my horizons and taught me many new things I would never have learned about otherwise. Most bloggers are pretty cool.
Yet that doesn’t mean you should turn off your brain while reading. However authoritative or smart a particular blogger may be, you should remember that a blog always reflects the views and tastes of its very human writer (or writers, in the case of group blogs). That includes their own biases, biases you very well may not agree with at all.
It’s especially easy to do this with bloggers we agree with. It’s so much easier to pump our fist and say, “Yeah, you show ’em!” than to ask, “Is this true? Does this make sense? Does it match up with what I know about this topic or situation?”
Why is it important to think critically about what you read on a blog? For the same reason it’s important to think critically about TV; movies; books; the news; ads; and anything else that may be trying to convince you to buy or agree with something. Not every message out there is good and not everyone out there has your best interests at heart. After all, if you won’t think about the messages you’re receiving, who will?
To be clear, I am not asking you to believe me without thinking. That’d make me a hypocrite. I value critical thinking, so I urge you think critically about whatever I write on this blog. I’m not perfect and make tons of mistakes, some I don’t notice, so I always appreciate people who take the time to think about what I write and point out the errors they noticed (assuming they noticed any, of course).
If I had to distill the main message of this post into a Twitter-length post, it’d be this: Don’t believe everything you read. Especially not on a blog.
Any thoughts on this post? Feel free to share them in the comments below.
-Tim
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