Self-preservation in the eye of the storm.

We’re standing in the fire’s center as the eye of the storm barrels towards us. It tries to suck us in, squeeze our energy, tap our nervous systems, and fry our emotional bodies. But we stand strong. We can’t let up. We won’t let up. We can’t give up. We can’t stop. We won’t stop. Instead, we transform. We become the storm and rise from within. We are the inferno and we are lit from within. We will continue to burn and ignite the fire in others who feel called to carry the torch of change.

mighty bear in space. Photos and graphic and crackle effect. Computer collage

So many of us are in an ultra marathon, in overdrive mode — advocating and directing our energy towards meaningful causes and issues and sharing own stories and experiences. We’re in this endurance sprint together. We need you, all of you, to pass the baton and torch, to keep moving the needle of transformation forward. More of us need to be involved and do whatever we can, wherever we can, so our pipeline stays replenished and continues its momentum. If we do it alone, we will burnout.

Torch Flame In The Darkness, Close Up Low Key Torch With Detail

Some of us are tired. We feel fatigue. None of us expected to feel this way or thought we’d have to fight for our basic human inalienable rights for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For the right to free speech, bodily autonomy, freedom of expression, and freedom from oppression. But here we are in a constant, chronic defensive stream of correcting lies, calling out injustices, standing in our truth, vocalizing our concerns, — as we rise above the dark energy, and trudge along with all our force and every drop of energy that remains. While we work, raise our kids, attend to our families and other responsibilities, and pepper in some self-care. Sometimes, while we burn the candle at both ends. Or while we’re in the process of overcoming our own health issues, healing, and recovery.

We fight for rights anyway. We rise anyway. We don’t let up. We do not rest. How can we? Too much is at stake, including our own self-preservation.

“We will not rest.” – Jaclyn Gallion

We are doing our best to ensure our survival and existence. Our protective mechanism is fully engaged. We are afraid of losing our voices, our freedoms, and our human rights – but we do not let the fear, pain, or the intimidation of becoming invisible stop us. Our stories, voices, and messages, need a safe platform now more than ever. On a deeper level, we have been waiting for this moment in time to break down and crack through the system to build a new one. And we are.

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We stand together for justice. We rise for freedom. We are impenetrable and unstoppable. No one can break our spirits, our determination, or our will to create a better world for our children and each other.

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We are fierce. We are fire. We will never tire. You can’t break us into submission through omission. If you omit our viewpoints and censor us, you will not silence us. If you suppress us, we will be louder. If you tell us we can’t, we will. If you stand in our way, we will take another path. If you threaten to remove our social media pages, groups, posts, memes, photos, and content, we will migrate and build our communities elsewhere. We will gather, assemble, and organize for justice. We will seek and spread truth and light. No matter what. And we will do it everywhere, with intense passion that radiates.

We are lit from within and our truth will outshine the oppressors and dissipate the swirling storm of chaos. We will override the censorship threats, the bullying, the dehumanization. We are strong and resilient. We will draw upon our resilience and collective wisdom when faced with those who are fearful and ignorant. We are the mighty oak, and will uphold self-preservation through our grounded perseverance and deep-rooted awareness.

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This new platform was designed for this moment in time – for the wisdom warriors, truth-tellers, resilient hearts, — the persistent, the brave, and courageous. We stand for freedom, for liberty, and stand with and support critical thinkers, outliers, independent voices, the dissenters, shape shifters, and change makers. Please use this utility to liberate your voice, emanate your message, mobilize your efforts, inspire others, and corral and store your information. For empowered conversations, the exchange of wisdom, and compassionate connections. For social change, for self-preservation, and for the betterment and survival of humanity.

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Let’s shape shift and transform the way it’s been — into the way you envision it.

It is time. It is our time. For a new paradigm.

Join us for rollout news and sign up for updates at Sphir.

~ Melissa A. Curtin

Freedom. Independence. Connection.

Freedom. Independence. Connection. These are some of humanity’s basic needs and tenets for survival. We crave and long for each — and so much more.

“We are driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.” — William Glasser

Are you living in freedom? Are you free?

What does freedom feel like? What does freedom look like?

bigstock--222348817How free do you feel to express yourself without limitation? Artistically, politically, verbally, physically, mentally, spiritually, career wise, etc.? In collaboration with others, in community, and alone?

Do you feel free and embody freedom with expansive wings? Or do you feel like your wings are clipped and pinned, holding you back?

Symbolic composition. Trapped USA Winged Heart. Pinned Freedom.

Are we really free as a populace in the United States and across nations? Do any of us have access to true liberty and independence? Is independence from the system valued or frowned upon?

“The cost of freedom is very high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.” — John F. Kennedy

Are we really free in society? Is there freedom of the press? Are we free on social media? Are we free to be dissidents with contradictory opinions? Encouraged or discouraged to be counter-culture? Are we free to challenge the status quo? Are we free to be diverse with a mosaic of beliefs and vocalize them?

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“You don’t have true freedom until you allow a diversity of opinion and a diversity of voices.” — Don Lemon

Are you fully exercising your freedom and your rights?

A Man Holding A Megaphone - Freedom Of SpeechFreedom of expression. Freedom of speech.

Freedom to assemble, to organize, protest, take action, share information, and speak up.

Freedom to decide what is best for you, your health, and body — and your family’s. Freedom for bodily autonomy and integrity.

Freedom to pursue health choices and decisions that fit your lifestyle, morals, medical history, optimal vitality, and wellness approaches.

“Perfect freedom is as necessary to the health of vigor of commerce as it is to the health and vigor of citizenship.” — Patrick Henry

Freedom to pursue happiness and to live as you wish.

Have we fully activated our freedoms? Or have we willingly allowed strands of our freedom to be stolen from us, one sliver at a time?

Conceptual human rights political freedom, democracy paint brush

“Freedom is something that dies unless it’s used.” — Hunter S. Thompson

How can we all assert our independence and be a catalyst for freedom before all of our rights are stripped?

What can you do to preserve what remains of your freedom and free will? How can you exercise your freedom more? Will you call out injustice? Will you take action when human rights are violated? Will you use your freedom of expression and wisdom to educate and inspire others?

How can you better mobilize and protect the information you want to create, share, and tap into? Without censorship and without suppression? Without boundaries or restraints? Without surrendering your power and submitting to the ruling class or any other oppressive force?

“The best road to progress is freedom’s road.” — John F. Kennedy

Freedom is our oxygen mask to progress. Yet, hardly anyone is breathing, – just fearfully gasping and suffocating – covering their own mouths, complaining the hypoxia is someone else’s fault or problem. When we remember we are free, empower each other, and ourselves, and own and honor our freedoms, we will shift towards the vision of how we want to direct it from here.

Let’s travel this new platform’s dimension together where liberty is the doorway to the lungs of freedom of expression, and the heart of connection and human dignity.

Let’s create our wings together and soar to independence.

bigstock-if-you-dont-have-wings-create-280472557-e1549335077639.jpgStay in the flight loop by signing up for updates as Sphir launches its unconventional, cutting-edge platform designed to alter freedom and the expression of truth as we know it.

Let freedom ping.

~ Melissa A. Curtin

Ready for an exceptional social media experience?

The countdown is on for the launch of this burgeoning cutting-edge, uncensored, user-curated platform!

Are you ready for an exceptional social media experience?

What does this new social media network platform encompass? Is it just another website, an application (app), or social Internet forum? Not at all. Better, and then some. Will any features be comparable to traditional social media outlets? Yes. Will there be exclusive feature sets, capabilities, and a continual development and fine-tuning of the techie bells and whistles? Yes. 

World And Icons

Imagine a secure private infrastructure that incorporates what you love about the social Internet and interactive media tech – without the baggage, drama, clutter, noise, or advertising. A fully functional interactive space built using blockchain technology with key feature sets, broad capabilities, multi-faceted functions, and multi-dimensional apps. A tool, a fabulous utility – a wholly integrated social utility to benefit and serve its users more effectively and with transparency.

Content creation, collaboration, connection, trusted content, data storage, media and “card” sharing, and high quality interactions – all designed with your privacy and freedom as a cornerstone and priority. Customizable for your needs on a business, personal, and social networking level. A clean slate that facilitates productivity and efficiency. Streamlined, yet expansive for what matters and what’s essential to you. A trusted secure portal in the cloud — worthy of your content, ideas, brand, relationships, data exchanges, interests, and transactions.

Network Connections In Social Networks 3D Illustration

An intricate interwoven web designed for a multitude of applications and purposes on a secure incorruptible infrastructure. This blockchain-enabled technology offers the decentralization of how information is disseminated and shared throughout the platform. Content and data are “locked” in the chain and resistant to corruption or unwanted modification and manipulation. A clever solution to the excessive media censorship and the top-down control of traditional mass media dissemination.

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Are you craving a secure place in the cloud where you can bring your authentic self and express what’s relevant and paramount to you? Are you seeking an empowered, purposeful, and uplifting experience? A meaningful space?

Leverage the possibilities of how this platform can shift the current social Internet problems, improve, and solve shortcomings. Revel in the platform’s independence, its uniqueness, and bring your own unique flare and authentic self. Think big with us!

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This new utility is a social media gift for us to guide its development and customize it for our individual needs and for the betterment of society. What a magnificent opportunity! It’s up to us to use the platform as a catalyst to change the trajectory of how information is created, interacted with, organized, and shared.

Discover for yourself. Decide how you will use it and what resonates with you and your inner core. Trust yourself. Contemplate on how this platform will inspire you to share your wisdom, bring your light, leverage your content, problem-solve, engage with others, and pivot the social media landscape to the next level — in a better direction.

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Will you be apart of the guiding force to direct its growth, enhance it with your wisdom, and contribute to its success? We’re ready to have you join us!

Visit Sphir for updates and emerging launch date!

~ Melissa A. Curtin

What is your reality reflecting?

The winter season and the end of the year is an ideal time to reflect upon your blessings and appreciate the lessons learned throughout the year. A time to go within, and take an inner pulse on personal spiritual development, recuperate, and replenish one’s spirit. A marvelous opportunity to create intentions and ignite inspiration for the upcoming year.

Reflecting upon 2018, what brought you the most joy? Where did you offer your authentic self and true nature? Where did you witness the most growth and expansion? What opportunities did you have to extend your wisdom? Where did you make a difference in someone’s life? Where did you seize the moment to raise awareness, educate, or raise the vibration or frequency around an issue or areas of concern?

If you were not able to express your authentic self, feel you did not make a difference with your actions or behaviors in the lives of others, step up for an issue of concern, and contribute to elevating consciousness or awareness, what held you back? What prevented you? What caused hesitation or reluctance? Was it an external influence or something within yourself that inhibited you?

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Take an honest inventory of where you invested your attention in 2018. Where was your focus, energy, intention, and awareness directed? Was it in appreciation, love, gratitude, trust, empowerment, hope, abundance, progress, inspiring change, uplifting, and positive? Was it in disgust, apathy, anger, rage, disempowerment, lack, stagnation, angst, stress, fear, and negative? A combination? No judgment needed. Just a chance to reflect and gauge where your energy, focus, and awareness pivoted and landed. Recall where your attention was centered and recognize the areas that grew, expanded, and improved, and the places where little to no shifts occurred. Is there a connection?

What you choose to focus upon and give your energy and awareness to becomes your reality for better or worse. Your reality is determined by your choices, both conscious and not. Your reality is a reflection of what you resonate with, what you allow in your energetic field and mental head space – and what you rise to or match energy with, – positive, neutral, or negative.

What is your reality reflecting?

What are you resonating and in alignment with or not?

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“Energy flows where attention goes.” – Napoleon Hill

Be mindful of where you direct your attention. What you tune into with your personal frequency becomes your reality and experience. Whether that is being proactive and self-motivated to improve your life, leading with a growth mindset, who you spend your time and interact with, or if you’re absorbed with others’ problems, swept away with things out of your control, consumed with what’s on the news stations, or hypnotized by social media feeds.

The media and messaging we tune into influences the reflected reality we create and perceive by choice or default. What we watch or listen to, what we are affected by, what we choose to address or ignore, what we allow or disallow to feel agitated, marginalized, victimized, disempowered, or not. Where we zoom in with our deliberate attention and how we react all determines what we bring to our reality.

It’s easy to be on autopilot and triggered when it comes to consuming chronically negative or upsetting media messages. It can be habitual to just accept what we are fed and the “feed” we are given and scroll through. Amongst the media mix, we are fed bullshit served up throughout every part of the day and night. Unless we purposefully create awareness, develop, and sharpen our discerning critical eye, we must find time to tune out, pull back from the noisy static, distractions, disruptions, and detach, — or we experience indigestion and overwhelm from the toxins and drift from our inner truth.

Discover your truth, what is true, relevant, and meaningful for you. Tap into your own thoughts and energy and avert getting sucked into the swirling shit-storm of static, frenetic energy.

bigstock--190088719Thoughts are energy. Energy is vibration. What are you thinking about? Focusing upon? Emanating with your vibration? Where, what, and how much energy you devote your attention to contributes to its growth, momentum, and expansion.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” – Nicola Tesla

Adjust your frequency. Raise your vibe. Surround yourself with what energizes you. Be apart of the solution, not the problem. When we work together in an empowered, aligned, and inspired state, we are the solution. You are the solution when you bring your authentic self, inspired ideas, and wisdom. 

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  • What would you like to learn, discover, and investigate this year?
  • Where would you like to collaborate and connect?
  • What problem would energize you to solve?
  • What do you desire to include in your vibration?
  • What would make your life easier? More enjoyable? More efficient and productive? More prosperous? More harmonious?
  • What would you like to see reflected in your reality?

What intentions and visions will you hold in your heart for the new year?

Will this be the year you seek truth and fully bring yours?

What frequency will you resonate with for the holidays, 2019, and in the future?

bigstock-Petals-Of-Oscillation-267970417.jpgLet’s magnetize peace, harmony, compassionate listening, authentic connection, journalistic and personal integrity, the free uncensored flow of information, where privacy is valued and honored, and an effective outlet for empowered action. Let’s create an elevated forum for creating, sharing, collaborating, and engaging with one another to positively shift humanitarian and global issues, to inspire change, catapult action, and mass awakening.

We’d be honored to have you participate and bring your wisdom and truth to a platform designed for conscious engagement, and propelling conversations, information, and technology forward. The rollout is incredibly close. The founder and team are energized for the opportunity to provide an arena and a utility for everyone’s benefit. Join us at Sphir for pre-launch updates and be the first to learn of the new name and launch date!

With peace, love, and vibrant energy,

~Melissa A. Curtin

How essential is online privacy?

Online privacy is not just about your internet service provider (ISP) or search engines tracking which sites you visit and which keywords you search for, cyber security, or the risk of having your financial or personal information hacked or leaked. It’s also about your data and content being heavily tracked and surveilled, captured and sold. And the manipulation and commodification of this data/content, the security or lack thereof for where your personal information is disclosed and dispersed, and who is granted access — with and without your knowledge, consent, or approval.

Managing and controlling what you share and determining who sees your info should be up to you, the user, the content creator, and disseminator of the information — not up to or guarded by corporations, lobbyists, or governments.

Does privacy matter to you? How discerning are you with what you share? Are you in control of and carefully monitor to whom you share?

“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” Edward Snowden

Are you concerned about your data, photos, and content being harvested, aggregated, mined, sold, and stored without your permission? Have you read the privacy policies of the social media platforms, apps, and sites you frequently visit? Are you willingly providing permission to FaceBook and other social media outlets to listen to your conversations and then advertise and market related products to you?

Female Blue Eye Looking Through The Keyhole. Concept Of VoyeurisTechnology companies and financial institutions are infamous for breaching privacy and revealing data. The FaceBook/Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018 demonstrates how vulnerable we are just by participating in mainstream social media outlets. You are unable to fully control how these tech companies use or abuse your information in-house or with third-party sources. FaceBook is not the only platform that has been found guilty of the misuse and abuse of information; Twitter has also come under scrutiny for similar actions. (Twitter accounts by default are set to “public”, but you can change the setting and select “private”.) As technology evolves, user protection and tightened privacy features should be a cornerstone and a fundamental element to Internet navigation and social media.

Press Enter Button On The Keyboard Computer Shield Cyber Key LocThe current social media reality illustrates that online privacy is an oxymoron. Entering social media Internet platforms resembles wearing your underwear outside your clothes or stitching the red letter “A” across your sleeve. You’re on display in blinking neon lights, exposed, dancing in a fishbowl.

Neon Color Line Icon Set of bubble emoticons for web and mobile.Once posted, your information is chiseled within the Internet tombstone. A time-stamped digital trail of everything you write, say, photograph, comment on, share, save, and do. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, tracking your every move, every blink, every click, like, love, and angry emoticon. Big brother, and all of his third-removed cousins, sisters, and nosy-ass mother-in-laws, peeping Toms, Dicks, and Harriets. Reverse transparency where the users’ every move is on neon display – while the platforms discreetly and purposefully hide their motives in fine print. Their cookie policies, their data sharing, mining, and selling strategies to third-parties, and their absurd censorship based on their “community standards” and discriminatory policies against content that’s in conflict with their funders. If we choose to participate, we must “accept their terms and agreements.” If not, then we must voluntarily extricate and eject ourselves from their advertising based platforms. And that’s ok!

Don’t resign your rights and be so eager to give away your personal info to drooling data miners. You can also turn off third-party sharing with changing the “platform apps on/off” setting on FaceBook to disable the auto logging in from external app, websites, and plugins. Of course these features aren’t widely promoted or known by most users.

Should you be fearful of internet privacy issues? This analyst believes so – but instead of falling into the trap of data breaching and allowing your personal info and data to be prostituted and captured by tech companies, or settling and sticking with disingenuous platforms, consider alternatives for search engines, like DuckDuckGo and decentralized/ independent platforms. Pursue a new platform utility that will never sell your data or sell you out. One that stores and protects your identity, data, content, privacy, intellectual property, and dignity. Built using blockchain technology where the users’ data are protected in a complex encrypted “transparent and incorruptible” block system. The users’ content are locked, safe, and protected by the encrypted system.

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Security. Privacy. Trust. Transparency. Integrity. 

You are the only one who should determine what you reveal about your self, your business, what content you share, how you share or monetize it, and decide who you want to share it with.

Join Sphir to engage in a free uncensored platform utility that puts the user in the driver’s seat — where you determine how your content and personal info is shared, with who, and its reach. Let’s stretch into a new paradigm of what’s possible and not cave into the anti-privacy abyss. Privacy has vanished across the social media stratosphere along with integrity, class, respect, and decency. Shall we shift it for the better together?

Be discerning and protective of your content, data, information, and your self. Be part of the change to elevate social Internet platform standards. Be apart of the privacy, data protection solution, and digital transformation!

Launching in January 2019 – sign up for pre-roll out updates at Sphir!

~ Melissa A. Curtin

Let’s crack the social media mold.

Social media platforms and content sharing websites offer tremendous value, yet they are also abundant and riddled with problems, issues, flaws, pain points, and annoyances. With growing choices and splintering options, users join and belong to numerous platforms to fulfill and satisfy their speckled social, business, content, creative, media, connection, storage, sharing, community, and networking needs. But to achieve all of users’ desired needs, wishes, wants, and nice to haves, there hasn’t been one platform in the kaleidoscope mix that has effectively delivered in all categories.

Christmas Mandala-snowflake Kaleidoscope Sequence. Abstract BackThis isn’t to suggest that there needs to be an umbrella platform that caulks the gap and supplies everything for everybody. However, for those seeking better time management, efficiency and effectiveness with their social internet endeavors, integrity, and a central, secure, and safe portal to hold and share what’s truly relevant, essential, and important, while aligned with being the change *and* taking action, — the search continues.

Existing platforms provide their unique flavor, their visionary contribution to the digital realm, and engage their eclectic users within the constraints of their distinct offerings. Each of the prevailing social media platforms have their limits of features, capabilities, technology, market, added value, bells and whistles, and scope. Some social media platforms have cool feature sets and seamless designs, while others offer a cluttered and noisy interface. Some have most of the desired package tools and community engagement, but miss the mark on privacy, censorship, reach, algorithms, functionality, relevance, or usability. While others have lost their zest and appeal and gradually become antiquated with each newer shinier platform.

social network, communication in the global computer networksWhat drives users to join and stay, or bail and flock? What keeps users engaged, interested, and loyal? Why do people gravitate towards certain social media companies, functions, and products? This Social Media Use 2018 study published by the Pew Research Center for Internet and Technology provides insight and addresses social media trends and demographics.

Does critical mass determine if a social media platform will be widely accepted, relevant, valuable, and worthwhile? Does it start out as trickles of interest, then a rolling boil, then a tipping point in critical mass, leading to full migration and popularity? How much does the quality of users over the quantity matter when utilizing a network?

Current 2018 marketing statistics reveal fascinating consumer behaviors regarding content marketing, social media, video marketing, advertising, and more. Companies pay enormous amounts to marketing research agencies to track digital trends, consumer behaviors, and dollars spent.

However, despite all the data collected and everything we’ve learned about how people use social media, much of social media falls flat. The existing structure and design of social media platforms, when primarily used as giant advertising vessels for mega-corporations and propaganda machines for governments, have become painful to be apart of and witness. The way in which social media networks and these public forums have been co-opted and manipulated is disgusting and the tolerance for social media to continue to be used and abused this way is sharply shrinking. The commodifying of our data and our lives has also run its course. And let’s not forget the rampant outrageous censorship. Have we had enough of being rats in their wicked wheel of misfortune and maze? Has anyone else noticed we have been circling around the drain for too long?

Isn’t it time for the masses to crack the code, break the mold, break down the systemic dysfunction, detach from the dependence, the addiction, and commodification of one’s data and info? For real this time! What are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for a decentralized platform, a truly independent utility, — built using blockchain? An outlet to freely share content that you’ve created with whom you choose – no-holds-barred? Customizable to meet your needs? No advertising?! A secure vault to store, save, catalogue, and organize all of your data, media, files, publications, photos, videos, and other media creations? A streamlined way for you to leverage what you create and design, with the ability to not only share, but monetize your intellectual property and ideas? A platform that encourages activism, advocacy, and taking action? Are you waiting for a platform where you can host and be apart of groups without the fear that the group will be removed and deleted for some mystery reason?

Milky Way And Snowy Mountains. Fantastic View With Mountain RidgThe founder of Sphir was waiting for all of these capabilities and much, much more — out of pure necessity and identifying where the holes are, but also in anticipation of our vanishing freedom of speech and the corporate take-over of the existing platforms. Why wait when one can create?! This is what stepping up for the people looks like. This is what innovating from insight, inspiration, and leadership looks like. This is what empowerment looks like.

Let’s bring our creative juices, our unbridled spirits, our bold and wild ideas, and our open hearts to this creative cutting-edge collaborative venture. Be apart of what it feels like. Join the Sphir of influence and get ready to crack the social media mold, shape your own experience, and drive it forward.

Be a catalyst for change! Stay connected to receive pre-launch updates, by signing up on Sphir!

~ Melissa A. Curtin

An Opportunity in the Misinformation Age

The speed at which social media content is shared and spread, breeds inaccuracy, misinformation, half-truths, and disinformation. This coupled with our hectic, time-compressed lives, and the desire to stay informed, up-to-date on news, information, the latest environmental or emergency crises, and issues du jour, becomes the perfect superficial social media smorgasbord riddled with skimmed headlines, shoddy journalism, a swirl of opinions, questionable facts, eye-catching memes, and misleading images and infographics.

It’s typical for articles, photos, and videos to be posted, re-shared, and circulated without much consideration for content accuracy, context, or truth. Inaccurate content, dishonest headlines, deceptive visuals, and articles distributed from untrustworthy news sources are pervasive.

Misinformation and the Spread of Fake News

It’s effortless to click, share, and re-post a story or an article found online – many do this without actually reading the article, research, or study first-hand. It’s commonplace – but not necessarily out of bad intentions or the deliberate desire to perpetuate the “fake news” trend, but out of ease, habit, and the lack of time, energy, and effort it takes to verify. It is time consuming to double-check and verify sources and yet another step to determine if it’s newsworthy, trustworthy, evidence-based, and worthy of attention.

Is there even a pause to research, investigate further, verify sources, fact-check, or dig deeper? Why wouldn’t you want to disseminate information that is correct, accurate, and truthful? Wouldn’t that be the ethical path to take?

Magnfiying glass on the word investigate to illustrate detective

Is there any journalistic integrity or quality standards left? Or is it all about the likes, follows, and the shares content receives – whether it is validated and vetted or not? Does anyone care about the truth and quality of what is delivered across the media inter-webs?

vector smart phone social media iconsOn an individual level, holding each other accountable to higher standards when sharing news, articles, and content on social media is a prudent move in the right direction. For mainstream news outlets and independent press agencies to be sloppy about fact-checking, inept at digging deeper, and their absence of journalistic integrity, is counterintuitive to the purpose of reporting, investigating, and disseminating news for a wider audience.

Often news agencies that generate content swiftly are time-crunched and bound to harsh deadlines. Media outlets and their content producers are unable to thoroughly vet stories or properly fact-check and validate. The erosion of trust in the media and news organizations has been negatively cascading for decades. Trust in the mainstream corporate-owned media is at an all time low. Discerning viewers and critical thinkers have little trust in the information offered and are becoming more media savvy and media literate.

When sharing a news story, a random post, an article or research study online, it’s essential to first understand where the content originated. Follow up with some foundational media literacy questions to determine its accuracy, context, and relevance. Learn to decipher, decode, and deconstruct the media and information you consume. Share from trusted sources and be apart of elevating the quality of the content we all access and appreciate.

Verify Magnifying Glass Check Facts Research 3d Render IllustratResearch, understand, and verify your sources.

  • Who owns the website or media outlet where the story, article, research, etc., is published and featured?
  • Who wrote the content? Why did the writer, author, reporter, or news correspondent report the story that way?
  • What bias did the writer, producer, or owner bring to the story based on who they are and how their experiences have shaped their perspective?
  • Who sponsored, funded, or paid for the article, story, research, or message?
  • Was it independent of financial pressure to express a certain viewpoint, message, or idea?
  • Is the information accurate, trustworthy, and reliable?

Compare the information to other reliable sources.

  • Are you able to locate variations of the story or article you presented? Was it reported or re-published elsewhere? By a reliable source?
  • Check facts from the original sources, studies, and discover the evidence for yourself.
  • Does it have references, resources, or a bibliography with linked sources? If resource links are embedded within the story, are they verifiable? Can they be validated?

Examine the source, the message, and the media used.

  • Is the writer or content producer using primary or secondary research, interviews, content, data, findings, etc.? If not, where does the information originate?
  • Confirm citations from the author, writer, and content creator. Are they a respected authority or known in their field as an expert? If not, are they supporting their findings with those that are knowledgeable and respected in their given areas of expertise?
  • What’s missing from the story, coverage, article, etc.? (Viewpoints, perspective, relevant and pertinent info, context, background, history, implications, consequences, etc.)
  • What is the purpose of the content/message/story?
  • How is the information scripted and used to propagate a narrative, agenda, or ideology?
  • What additional information do you need to seek to clarify and understand more deeply?
  • Have the images or videos been doctored, adjusted, photoshopped, or digitally manipulated or enhanced?
  • Are the sound bytes and video clips real and authentic or have they been altered and edited to change the context and meaning?
  • Has the video footage been photoshopped, doctored, or manipulated to corrupt the meaning and disrupt the message?

Who is fact-checking the fact-checkers?

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When using fact-checking services, research their validity, and trustworthiness. Are they reliable? Are they biased in how they fact-check, report, and present their information? And if so, how? Who are they funded and sponsored by? Who are their owners and advertisers? Questions that examine the money trail are critical. Ownership influences content and it certainly affects what facts are included or omitted.

Are the fact-checking companies or organizations just an extension from the very agencies, governmental, or organizations they are hired to fact-check info and news about? Or are they truly equipped to provide a neutral fact-checking service? Do they have the capability to verify information independent from conflicts of interest?

An opportunity exists in the mis- and disinformation age.

We are at a prime opportunity to upgrade the defunct social and mass media content sharing landscape. Let’s raise the bar of quality on what is shared through re-posting and spreading content online. Be discerning in what you choose to distribute and what sources you trust. Choose wisely. Take the time and extra effort to circulate original and authentic news and quality information. It’s better to save the article or post to read later, than to rush to share it without vetting its veracity. Question its content, truth, and facts. Be proactive when you recognize false or inaccurate content. If something doesn’t adhere to the truth, kindly correct the mis- and disinformation by offering verified resources.

There is no excuse for us not to research further and dig deeper when we have instant open access to the intelligence and knowledge base of humankind right at our fingertips.

Join us at Sphir in contributing to an innovative user-driven platform through content creation, collaboration, and connection with those you trust and respect.

~ Melissa A. Curtin