Two things you should know about the internet: whether info is accurate out there, and how to email. You’d think people’d know this by now, but they don’t. So here are things you need to know about those two things.
- Five sites that are good to have at hand
- The Urban Legends Reference Pages—to check up on chain letters, internet rumors, get-rich-quick schemes, millionaire giveaways, online petitions, etc.
- The Annenberg Political Fact Check—to check up on political rumors, character assassinations, voting records, statistics used by politicians, and other data we often just take for granted as accurate
- Apologetics Research Resources on Religious Cults and Sects—incomplete, and certainly designed for those who are willing to do some research, this site is a good springing-off point to check up on what groups believe and how they stack up to scripture.
- Probe Ministries—a good site for integrating those nagging philosophical, psychological, scientific, etc. questions and scriptural answers
- Academic Initiative—a good place to find help maintaining your Christian integrity whilst elbowing your way through the university system, especially as an instructor
- Six rules of email etiquette I wish some of those who email me regularly observed (no names given to protect the guilty)
- Always check to see if what you’re forwarding is truthful. Act as though your own reputation and integrity is on the line with the passing of this email–as it assuredly is. (You can easily check email content by using Snopes or Annenberg, above!)
- If you’re emailing something to multiple persons who don’t know each other (or if you’re not sure whether they know each other), always list the addresses in the ‘BCC’ line, not in the ‘To’ line.
- If you’re forwarding an email, always delete the email addresses that clutter up the top of the old message. (Why? Because it is by gleaning these addresses that spammers add to their victim lists. And by the way, because not everybody obeys this rule, you want to send emails BCC. Do you really want to be the cause of your friends, family, and colleagues being added to spam lists? Oh, they’ll really love you for that!)
- Adjust your mail software to check spelling.
- Write like you’re fluent in English. Don’t write emails as if they’re instant messages–they’re not.
- Write according to the context of the communication and relationship–that is, write professional letters if writing a professional communication to a colleague or employer (etc.)–and always, always, always remember that the internet is not secure, no matter how good your ISP or email encryption is. Don’t send intimate details that might compromise your or a friend’s privacy (they’ll love you for that, too!).