Accuracy is still a thing. It still matters. A social-mediated Internet makes it easier than ever to share crap statistics. But it also makes it even easier to find out that they are, in fact, crap.
And citing your sources is how you persuade the small percentage of people who are really paying attention to you. They will check. Because we change our minds so rarely we surely don't want to be duped.
I talk about this in the Zombie Guide. Most speakers (teachers, pastors, even TEDs) don't cite their sources. How are you going to make me change my mind if I think you are manipulating me by making things up? I have a smartphone in my hand. I can look it up if you tell me to. Pro tip: tell me to. I just might. Right then. Speakers, that's how you know you are winning.
The Internet is both better and worse at this. It is easier to cite, but it is also easier to cite crap.
So here's my two accuracy pet peeves for the summer:
1. Ghost Statistics
2. Everyone Slept Through College But Me
His recent blog post is a list of 5 attention-getters for opening a speech. It so far has this many shares:
On my syllabus, that is defined as plagiarism.
So find a list of stuff that was a multiple choice question on a midterm as an undergrad, turn it into a list, because, as we know, ALL BLOGS MUST HAVE LISTS!!!! Then don't cite it. Maybe no one looks behind the wizard's curtain on your consulting website, but is that really the best way to stand out in a crowded market?
I could cite the research that tells us about credibility and source qualifications and the way people process information. But, nah. You're right. People don't care about plagiarism anymore! No one cares about your sources! No need to do that..... I'm sure you'll just totally trust me. This is on the Internet. When was the last time you read something untrue here?
Avoiding these mistakes is the right thing to do. It's also the smart thing to do. Persuasion is hard to accomplish. If you are really trying, you will not create the next blog post I complain about. Because I will cite you.