Today’s post is the featured article from the January 2010 issue of The Front Porch Newsletter. If you would like to automatically receive The Front Porch e-newsletter on the last Thursday of each month just click here to sign-up for your complimentary subscription.

john-new“Do you suppose that’s true?” It is a great question that my good friend, Jolene Brown CSP, recently shared with our “mastermind” group. Jolene was recently returning from one of her many speaking engagements. Her seatmate struck-up a conversation, or more likely a monologue, to authoritatively go on-and-on about information she had read about a “politically sensitive” topic. She was trying to “educate” Jolene on the topic. Rather than trying to counter the discussion … Jolene simply asked her seatmate, “Gosh, where did you hear about that? Do you suppose that’s true?” The seatmate wasn’t prepared … “what do you mean?” Jolene repeated the question. “Do you suppose that’s true? I’m just curious.I am wondering if you’d be willing to share your resources or documentation with me?”

With the on-set of mass media and ultimately personal technology, we evolved into the “age of information.” Information, however, is not necessarily the “truth.” Sometimes information does uncover the truth. There have been some incredible journalists who have devoted their life to searching for the truth. Sometimes the truth is missed because of speed or sloppiness. And sometimes the truth is violated with “spin.”

There are times I wonder if more intellect and creativity go into designing the “spin” rather than seeking the truth. Spin is designed to slant perspective … to create a slanted reflection of truth. Spin generally has an element of truth. But I have always said … half the truth is always a lie. When you remove the costume from “spin” what you see underneath is manipulation. This, in and of itself, should beg the question, “do you suppose that’s true?”

Often, we can see spin coming like a tornado. Other times it is far more subtle.

The explosion of all aspects of the internet and social media are good examples. Information is everywhere … the truth is not. Everyone can post their viewpoint … and, regardless of the author’s intention, there will always be those who receive it as the ultimate truth. Today’s information is created in overwhelming quantities. And, in fact, there are many advantages to endless viewpoints. They provide a kaleidoscope of insights and can strengthen our ability to discern. The kaleidoscope, however, only becomes useful and productive when it leads us to the truth.

In some ways, postings on the internet and various social media are a virtual version of conversations that were once held on “front porches” across America and around the world. But with one very big difference. The conversation on the front porch had context. The conversation was in the midst of a defined relationship. Not just more information.

I suppose, in some ways, we lost context but gained variety.

It is in the midst of this onslaught of information (and we are in slow motion compared to where we are headed) I become increasingly convinced that clearly indicating and understanding our core values has become more important than ever. Our values can bring focus to the overwhelming blur of information.

It would serve us well to ponder more truth and “forward” less information.

Disclaimer: This article is simply my viewpoint. Nothing more. Nothing less. It is your job to ask the question, “Do you suppose it to be true?