So, why am I do write my paper about this today? Believe it or not there is a reason. On August 25th 1835, the Sun, the a recently opened New York newspaper, published a series of articles detailing discoveries made by the eminent astronomer Sir John Herschel. Over the next few days the articles, taken from the ‘Supplement to the Edinburgh Journal of Science’, described the discovery of a civilization on the moon, complete with buildings, animals and finally, people. Not people like you and me, people with wings and fur, a bit like bats.
There’s a lot of rubbish on the web.
Some of it stems from mistakes.
Some of it comes from bad writing and inadequate research.
Some of it is a collection of outright lies.
Which means the web is no different to the real world. One of my College text books was called ‘How to Lie With Statistics’ and I remember how, after reading it, I found every survey or news report a source of fascination.
‘Over 40% of readers say this is the best thing since sliced bread’ sounds good until you realize it means most people don’t.
Psychologists have shown that we search for and retain more information that confirms our existing view. One result of this is that we hold on to our cherished beliefs even after they have been discredited.
So my question – and it is a question because I don’t know the answer, is how important is the truth? If you are starting a web based business, is it OK to lie to bring customers to your site?
How do you interpret those ‘standard’ calls to action and ideal headlines – the ones that promise the universe in exchange for your email address? Has anyone ever really given you the ONE THING you need to know to make money online? Or told you the Seven Secrets of Successful Blogging?