Knowledge is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as
- Expertise, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject;
- What is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information; or
- Awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.
The term knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject with the ability to use it for a specific purpose if appropriate.
The shortest possible definition of knowledge is When information is packaged or used for understanding or doing something, it is known as knowledge.
The shortest possible definition of information is a message received and understood. In order to equip ourselves with knowledge or educate ourselves about a certain topic we either go to an educational institution for gaining knowledge formally or by constantly reading about it or discussing with experts and peers about it.
Before this age of internet people visited libraries, social gatherings, attended workshops and lectures to serve the above purpose. But, currently the trend is to sit in front of your computer and google or bing for the information.
Recently I read a blog post titled Doctors Warn Against Relying Too Much On Google which came to the following conclusion.
The study warns consumers and health professionals about relying on commercial health sites, except for the “most reputable sites” like WebMD and eMedicine.
But, I think this applies to all the information available on the web. Considering the millions of blogs, social media accounts and websites mushrooming on the web. The main concern is the teens and tweens who are gathering life and world perceptions by reading what is written on the web. People in their teens and twenties are most of the time gathering information about everything under the sun on the web. How many of them after they google or bing a search can differentiate the grain from the chaff and decide which are the authority sites about that topic.
I think though search engines are trying to put in their best to rank the most relevant sites for the searches made. The main drawback is that any website can be made SEO-friendly but how will the search engines decide which website is having the correct content for the related topic. Yes. The no. of inbound links determine the popularity of a site which is assumed to be the certificate for correct content also. But is this right?
I am not saying that all content on the web is crap but when it comes to certain important topics like health, career, relationships all the read content should be analysed and cross-checked with over a wide range of websites available for that topic and also discussed real time with actual experts on the topic.
As many time blogs and social media post are the personal opinions expressed by people rather than the facts. Recently one the film directors from India had tweeted that everybody is a critic today everybody seems to have an opinion … where is the audience?
I personally believe that the onus is on us as web developers, content writers and web marketers to always try our best to put forward and market websites with true factual information.