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How To Know Whether A Viral Story Is Real Or Not

How To Know Whether A Viral Story Is Real Or Not

In the digital age, news no longer requires days or weeks to be passed around. A breaking story can be broadcast to the entire world in a few short hours. Gone are the days of painfully long waiting times for a letter to be delivered or to arrive. Our global microwave culture can witness mind-bending news reports or accomplishments in what feels like no time at all.

With the ability to share information and stories at the speed of lightning has come a slew of false information. There seems to be a new viral story popping up every week, which begs the question – “Did this viral story actually take place?” Fortunately, the Web hosts a variety of sites and resources that are useful in hunting down authentic information. Check out our list below for a digital truth-testing toolbox.

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Examine With FotoForensics

This website provides an upload feature to scan a picture for quality disparities. The site examines your photo or URL to detect any suspicious graphic elements. FotoForensics uses a procedure called error level analysis (ELA), highlights potential issues with the picture and then provides sharing options.

Check Out Google’s Reverse Image Search

If doubting a photo is real at all, or that it came from a completely different source, hop on over to Google and check the image out. Your result should turn up a year the picture was taken and likely the location.

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Upload And Assess With TinEye

This site is another popular and quickly-growing resource for reverse image searching. The site has already indexed over 13 billion images and this is not slowing down any time soon.

Look Deeper With Jeffrey Friedl’s Image Viewer

The exchangeable image file (EXIF) on pictures and video is recorded during the creation of a file. To fully determine when, where and in what format a piece of media was created, you’ll need to access the EXIF. This can be easily done on Friedl’s site.

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Retrieve Info With WolframAlpha

This site is a mega database of information, and especially useful when it comes to determining the weather on a certain day. You can plug in the info you’re looking for along with the date, and WolframAlpha will return to you an impressively comprehensive result. This resource comes in handy if you see a post or picture about a natural disaster or weather incident that seems highly unlikely.

Verify With YouTube DataViewer

YouTube’s DataViewer is, surprisingly, not readily accessible through YouTube. Rather, it was first provided through the non-profit Amnesty International, an organization that works to uphold human rights across the globe and validate those who have been wronged. Their convenient web tool allows you to search for fraudulent uploads and “scrapes” – generally, any kind of video that does not legitimately have the origin or source it claims to have.

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Consult Various Online Maps

Last but far from least, some of the primary online maps such as Google Earth, Wikimapia and Google Street View are all highly reliable sources for map info. Wikimapia is essentially the crowdsourced version of Google Maps, but has additional resources. Google Earth and Street View are also always being updated, and provide exhaustive details and options for customizing a search. There’s little these three maps alone cannot verify, if anything.

Viral videos and pictures become viral for a reason – they tap into sensationalism in some fashion, and people’s emotions are so moved that they feel an urge to spread the word. Anger, shock, sadness, elation and outrage can all push someone over the brink, but the vast majority of people will not hold themselves back long enough to examine a viral story further. Now, thanks to these web tools, you have rapid and trustworthy methods for checking out what’s real, and what’s rubbish.

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Brad Johnson

Top 5 Kindle Author | Author of 10 Books

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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