We live in the Information Age. This means that we are able to look up and learn about pretty much anything we want or need. This means that our decisions are more informed than they have ever been before—but is that really a good thing? Are we using our access to information responsibly?
In some ways, being able to look up and find out whatever we want is good. It protects us as consumers. We don’t have to worry that the local car dealership is going to sell us a lemon. We can check out Truecar videos to find the best and most trustworthy dealerships in our area (as well as learn which dealerships are best avoided). We don’t have to wonder whether or not the prices at the local grocery store are fair. We can check out what the prices are at nearby competitors to make sure we are getting the best price and, if we aren’t, we can make an informed decision about where else we should shop instead.
At the same time, having easy access to so much information can also be problematic. The medical industry is the best illustration of this. Today you can look up pretty much anything you want to know about symptoms, illnesses and even medications online. Patients are able to do their own research and tell their doctors what kind of medication they believe they need. This isn’t always a good thing. Many doctors have complained that the plethora of information available is actually hindering their abilities to do their jobs because they spend a lot of their time educating their patients and explaining why what the patient thinks will help them actually won’t instead of simply figuring out the best course of treatment.
And, be honest, how many times have you looked up your own flu symptoms online and convinced yourself that what you thought was the flu was actually a rare and terminal cancer? It’s okay, it happens to all of us at least once.
Nobody buys, takes or does anything without thoroughly researching it anymore. People spend hours looking into doctors, stores, businesses, etc—they are very careful about who they work with and for how long. This is good because it helps people ensure that the things they buy and the companies and providers they choose to work with are in line with their needs and values. At the same time, there is very little mystery or surprise left. It’s rare to be surprised by someone or something because the reviews and articles have already told you exactly what you can expect.