Shannon’s Corner

My Conversation on Social Media

Trust but verify

If you used a calculator for a math exam, would it guarantee that you get every answer correct?  If a history final was open book, would that guarantee an A? Do you believe everything you hear rumored in the office? If you trained in a particular sport for years on end would it get you to the Olympics?  If you spent millions of dollars on a presidential campaign and won the popular vote, would that make you president? 

What I am trying to say is that there is no absolute formula for success regardless of subject or situation.  We can trust, but always verify.  This philosophy even extends to the content created on Wikipedia by lay people or industry experts.  All we can do is make the best decision using the information we have available to us at the time.  In a day or in another week, new information can be discovered and utilized.  If Wikipedia is “quick information” and our success and failures are posted online for all to see, isn’t Wikipedia doing its job?  Waiting for an industry expert to create Wikipedia entries would take not only a significant amount of time but once done, it would have to go through so many revisions to remain current that it may never be posted.  Entries are done on a level of accuracy that is constantly challenged informally which is why it is so useful.

In my opinion, Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody has this analogy right – “students usually wear useful paths thru grass before the university lays any walkways.”  In this case, it’s Wikipedia that is wearing down the path.


June 23, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized |


  1. I agree Wikipedia is a great resource but you should verify the information in any Wikipedia article before using it as secondary research. Students have always found the the most efficient way from one point to another and Wikipedia is another example.

    Comment by mknac | June 24, 2008 | Reply

  2. I completely agree and think this philosophy extends to almost everything in life. If the information you need and obtain is for more than your idle curiosity, I’d say you should always verify your sources – Wikipedia or otherwise.

    Comment by shannonmk | June 27, 2008 | Reply

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