If It’s Online, It Must Be True: Pew Research Project Reports Americans View Internet Searches as Trusted, Authoritative

How reliable is the Internet? Perhaps more importantly, how reliable does the average American assume the Internet to be? A new report from the Pew Research Project (released December 30, 2007) entitled “Information Searches that Solve Problems,” reveals a new trend in the way Americans solve their biggest problems. According to the report, when faced with a serious concern (be that concern financially based, a health concern, a government policy question, or any of 10 possible problems presented by the Pew Research Project) 58% of respondents replied that they had turned to the Internet as a trusted source of information. That’s compared to 53% (the second greatest percentage) of respondents who replied that, when faced with a pertinent question, they turned to professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, for answers.

As the Pew Research Project report shows, people with questions are turning to the Internet more than to alternative sources, including professional experts, family members, published articles, and government agencies. As Internet use grows, a trust in its relevance and reliability also increases in the psyche of the American public. With more and more people turning to the internet as a trusted source of information, it is important to make sure that one’s personal information accurate and relevant online.

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