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You Can't Believe Just Anything

(c) 2003 by Cheryl Williams Levey,

The internet is an incredible place, a seemingly endless resource of information about literally anything anyone might want to find out about. I have been online pretty much since the internet's inception, or at least since the very beginning of when it became mainstream, "way back" in the 80s. Over the years, I've learned a lot about the internet and how to use it.

These days, I use the internet to research for just about everything I need. If I need directions, I don't get a map and plan the route myself, I check out If I need an address or phone number, I don't look in the phone book, I look it up on an electronic phone book, like the one located at For news, I read the online version of my local paper, and sometimes other papers. If I need to make flight arrangements, I don't call the airline or an agent, I shop around online and then reserve through an online travel site. Likewise for hotels and rental cars. I have even been known to place carry-out dinner orders online!

If I need to do research, I no longer head to the library and painstakingly copy down pages of notes (or pay 10 cents a page to make copies of things). Instead, I get online and print out the relevant information. The internet gives me fast, accurate information so that I can make the best decisions for what I need.

Ok, I take back that accurate part. It's accurate when you look in the right places. That's the point of this article, hence the title.

Truly, you CAN'T always believe everything. People in the virtual world are able to slap up anything they want. Lots of them have great information, and do their best to make sure everything is accurate and useful (like me). Unfortunately, it is easy to scam people online, though, and some of the less ethical internet users out there create sites that look professional and, more disturbingly, authoritative. Ever hear of the Bonsai Cat site?

So, for all of you internet newbies out there, and as a reminder to those of us who have been around a while, DON'T believe just anything. If you are looking for information, make sure you look in the right places, e.g., with known industry leaders, regardless of what you are looking for.

For example, don't go to - instead visit If you find the answer to a question, research and find the same answer in several other reputable places before believing it. Note that I said "reputable" places - ten sites that swear drinking vinegar will make you lose 50 pounds in one weekend are not reputable sites. (You can visit instead for more realistic weight loss strategies!)

Be careful, and be smart. Check your information.

After a while, you'll have a set of bookmarks full of sites that you know you can trust. Sites that can provide answers to your baby's illness, travel information, health care answers, information about schools, homes, recipes, areas of the country, weather, and pretty much anything else you might need to know about!


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