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The internet is a fantastic resource. But as with any fantastic resource, you have to know how to use it properly – and I don’t mean which buttons to click or how to use Boolean logic in search terms. I mean how to treat everything you read and find on the internet with a degree of caution.
You see there are 3 big myths about the internet that everyone forgets at least once in a while. And these myths can be very expensive. Expensive in terms of the amount of time wasted (just look at the Dilbert cartoon in the feature image), penalties, fines and law suits, and in poor decision making.
If it’s on the internet it must be true – so said American president Abraham Lincoln in a Facebook post.
Yeah, right! Too many people would believe it though. I don’t mean the obviously stupid “truths” like the won I just “quoted”, but many millions of little and not so little things, and often because they’ve seen it repeated a few times. Well, sorry to burst you bubble, that isn’t true. And just because 10 or 100 or even 1000 people on the internet say something is true, that doesn’t mean it is. Marketers often talk about getting social proof like getting your tweets retweeted or you Facebook posts like. That doesn’t make them any more true than when they were written. 100 people believing a lie does not make it true.
So do your due diligence. Check that your “facts” really are facts. Look for authoritative sources to validate your findings.
If it’s on the internet it’s free. Just because something is in the public domain doesn’t;’t mean it is yours to use freely. And the internet is public domain. The number of people that copy images from the internet to use in their bl;of posts, in their presentations, in their brochures, is huge. The risks that they run in doing so are huge.
All images are owned by the person or company that created them and you can only use the image with their permission. And that often comes with a cost. It’s usually a small cost – often just $1. There are some places which offer use of images a genuinely zero cost. But if there is a cost, be sure to pay it because if you use an image without permission then it could cost you a whole lot more. At least one image supplier regularly monitors the use of its images on the internet and if the appropriate licence fee has not been paid the offending company or individual will get a demand from the image owner’s lawyer demanding the image is taken down and no longer used and a large penalty paid (several thousands of pounds) or else court proceedings will be started.
If you have I used an image illegally you will lose. The fine/penalty imposed by the court may be less than that demanded in the lawyers letter but don’t forget to factor in the amount of your time and that of your team, not mention legal fees etc etc and you can see how the costs will mount up.
Play by the rule – saying sorry after the event just doesn’t cut in this situation.
Free training on the internet can save you money on paid training. This is the example in the Dilbert cartoon featured image (which I have paid a licence fee to use by the way).
This myth isn’t as clear cut as the first two as in the longer term, if you find a really good source of high quality free training in the area you need it, then you can save money. The problem comes about from trawling through all the dud courses before you find the gems. You might get lucky and find the gem quickly, but then again, you might not. You might use the gem supplier many times so, on average, the wasted time is relatively low. But most training in small to medium size businesses is specialist in nature and used for only a few people at most so this is unlikely to be the case.
At the end of the day, what else could you be spending your time on to drive your business forward than wasting it trying hard to find free training to save a few pounds. Implementing the lessons from a quality paid course will generate more savings or revenue increases than the cost of the course so spending time to avoid the cost of the course is just a waste.
How do you avoid wasting time finding a good quality course though? Couldn’t that be as wasteful and looking for the free ones? Yes it could and that leads nicely into how to overcome these myths.
Before the internet we used to use recommendations to find potential suppliers. We’d go to trusted and renowned publications and books for information. We’d meet people and get to know, like and trust them – before we bought.
Well today, we do the same thing but faster – because everything is faster with the internet – right? Well, perhaps not. We are always being pushed to be faster but maybe
We should just slow down a little and be a little more discerning about the sources we use and who we trust. Yes the internet has extended our reach but we still need to do the appropriate due diligence.
We need to build trusted networks of contacts and advisers that we can rely on to sort out the wheat from the chaff. To find those gems without the painstaking and time consuming trawling through the search engines. Where is the best place to start for businesses?
Yes, LinkedIn is the trusted source that can overcome many of the myths of the internet. Providing you do your due diligence on your network and recognise who you can rely on, it can help with identifying the right sources of information, the right suppliers, the right training courses.
Why is LinkedIn so good for this? Because the best people engage poactively on LinkedIn sharing their knowledge and experience freely. If they are wrong or are trying to scam people, the collective community challenge them, out them and they go quiet or get removed.
Recommendations on LinkedIn provide a strong guide to the quality, reliability and efficacy of the people you engage with. These recommendations cannot be faked – they have to be written by other LinkedIn members. And if you see recommendations for someone from people you know like and trust, they carry a huge weight.
So LinkedIn is the place to find those trustworthy resources. And by extension, if you want to be seen as a trustworthy source, whether of knowledge, advice, services or products, you need to have a powerful personal profile. That’s what I help my clients achieve – just check out my recommendations and then check out my LinkedIn Business Advantage Programme. Take your credibility to a higher level today. Click the link or the image below.