Recently I've torn into Mashable not one, but two, times. In both cases the issue had to do with them posting either misleading or downright false statistics and claims (and readers have since made me aware of two more instances with false headlines). People have been doing that for ages, so why did it bother me so much? It bothers me because that site has a large audience -- an audience that seems to believe what they say, and an audience that proceeds to pass along that misinformation until it becomes "fact" in far too many minds, or even spreads to major media outlets (although that's an issue all its own).
These stats issues have me wondering something. Does social media stop people from thinking for themselves? Have we lost the ability to think critically with the 24 hour news cycle and occasional blurs between general blog commentary and actual journalism (not that they're mutually exclusive)? Let's talk about it. [...]