There really isn’t a choice: if you don’t want to be manipulated you’re going to have to keep on your toes.
We make decisions, form opinions and judgements based on the information we have been either directly ingesting or have been exposed to. Decision priming is very effective. Presented with a time limited choice for something we have not consciously researched or thought about, the option we take will be the one that we’ve been primed to. Before you know it, you’ll be voting to sink boats of asylum seekers.
With a bit of discipline, you can train yourself to know when you don’t know. The fantastic “Thinking, fast and slow” dissects and presents the hasty leap versus the considered mull. On the balance, if one has time, it’s always better to take a deep breath and a couple of steps back. With a bit of discipline, you can train yourself into the habit of iteratively questioning, researching, thinking.
How many times have you just forwarded or shared a link without a perfunctory Google and Wiki? Stop.
How many times have you opened your mouth, paused and then said “I honestly don’t know”? Start.
But that’s not enough. “Garbage in, garbage out” is a truth – just check out the conspiracy theorists out there. Fine minds gone to waste. There is no single authority however. There are just countless voices on the internet. The trick is to select a balance of informed minds and not just the ones you agree with. Rigour, complexity, clarity and difficulty are nice benchmarks. Be wary of easy comforting reads – that way lies stagnation. You might as well ingest the McDonalds equivalent of mind-food: Andrew Bolt.
There is no excuse. You have the technology. You are the curator of your mind. More than that, you are the creator of your mind.