The internet is a dangerous place for the average, slightly off-balanced 36 year old woman. In an age where you can find absolutely any bit of information, stat or study on just about anything and everything, there’s a high probability you’re going to stumble upon something you don’t want to read. A few things have happened in the last decade or so; first off, everyone’s an expert, and these “experts” all have a platform. (It’s super easy and pretty cheap to get a blog, and being anyone will read anything you put out on the internet – trust me). Everyone is hungry for their information since we can’t be bored anymore and need to drive ourselves mad with overanalyzing facts. Secondly, scientists or universities or whatever other faceless, nameless entity is behind these big research studies have simply run out of things to research. They are just making up findings now. And I’m not sure what to believe.
Take stories about the science behind love and relationships I’ve read lately. These are some real things I’ve read on website that brand themselves as fairly legitimate:
If you have more than a 45 minute commute, you’re 40% more likely to get a divorce. 7% of the working population in the US has a commute of more than an hour. I am one of those idiots. My marriage is statistically doomed, and I need to move immediately.
Couples who go to bed together at the same time everyday are 60% more likely to stay married than couples who do not. My husband and I go to bed at the same time 95% of the time. Back in the black!
Then there’s this gem of confusion: Gay couples have happier and longer lasting marriages than straight couples. There’s nothing I can even do with this information, I can’t make us gay (or can I…?) Doomed, once again.
My advice is – don’t read any of this stuff. We are all searching for answers. And your computer will happily provide them for you. And if you search long enough, you’ll find the answers that you want to hear. (And ones you don’t, but who cares about those. Keep searching!)
It’s like going to a psychic – some piece of information that they tell is bound to be right if they talk long enough or if you wait around. Stuff is going to happen. Both paying intuitive strangers to map out your life decisions, and trusting your marriage to advice found on the internet are both equally dangerous propositions. One is much cheaper, but the danger is equal.
On a few occasions, my mother has talked about a class she took in college called, “How To Lie With Statistics.” I’ve never believed this course existed or that she took such a course, but I do believe this – taking a bit of fact and twisting it for weird and nefarious purposes is quite easy.
So, living in this age of being able to find out anything, my advice is don’t find out anything. Because it’s all probably a lie anyway.