By now, you probably know that the internet can't always be trusted. Once we reach a certain age, we've seen enough Rick Rollings and bullshit news stories to know which sites we can remove from our bookmarks forever and which we can rely on for information that won't kill us or ruin our lives. But I've found that even the most esteemed websites can sometimes have a dark side hiding just underneath (or sometimes even right on top of) the surface.
#5. LinkedIn Can Endorse You For Anything
Everybody knows LinkedIn. It's the only social media site you can't get fired for visiting during work hours, even though probably 99 percent of its 433-million-plus users set up a profile and then never logged in again. In addition to all the networking you can do, LinkedIn gives you the option to gloat a little and add some skills which you feel you are particularly good at. Then your network of professionals can click on the "endorse" button to validate your claims. If you pick any "John Smith" on LinkedIn, you'll see normal-person skills like these:
Wait ... power cables?
But what if you don't have a conventional job like Johnny "Supply Chain Management" Smith up there? For every worker who knows about leadership and project management, there is a guy whose sole purpose is to shovel elephant shit at the circus. What if they want to be endorsed as the greatest elephant shit shoveler to ever live?
To be fair, it's still a growing industry.
What kind of "professional network" is LinkedIn if it doesn't include a skill set for what is probably the most important job in a circus, next to maybe "clown fight preventer"? (Which was also not listed anywhere on LinkedIn.) I would wager that there are a ton of jobs out there with challenging skills that deserve to be endorsed! But what's weirder than the abilities that LinkedIn doesn't endorse are the skills that have already been added and endorsed. Skills which I discovered by creating a profile for Rod Thrustin of Thrustin Company.
Company slogan: "In Rod We Thrust."
The first skill I added was fire dancing -- which, when clicked on, showed that 838 LinkedIn members have this rad skill. Next, since I'd consider someone with abs like Rod's to be outgoing, I added "go-getter" to the profile, and saw that 46,014 members had already beaten me to the punch. In fact, a lot of skills that have no place on a professional site ended up being present on a shocking number of profiles. I threw together a quick graph to demonstrate some of Rod's newly defined skills.
I'm not saying I've murdered anyone. But I am saying Rod Thrustin definitely has.
But there were no results for "knob polishing," "tub thumping," or "finger banging" -- making Thrustin a pioneer in those proficiencies, you might say. But "drug dealing" and "murder" are somehow more desirable skills to possess, and "prostitution" and "racist" rocket up into the four- and five-figure territory. In addition to those, you can find endorsements for other nonsensical shit, such as "memes," "paranormal romance," and "money laundering," to name just a few. So the next time you're updating the old resume, don't feel tied down by what society deems a professional skill. Because if Rod Thrustin can be the foremost leader in finger banging, then why can't you?
#4. Rotten Tomatoes And Their Mismatched Reviews
Rotten Tomatoes is the kingpin of online movie reviews, like an internet version of Siskel & Ebert, though without the raw sex appeal. Gone are the days where you have to trust one or two random opinions about a film you were considering seeing. Instead, you can just head over to the internet hive mind of reviews to determine if a movie is decent or just a heaping pile of The Huntsman.
The reason Rotten Tomatoes has become the film rating barometer is that it takes an army of trustworthy film critics and puts their expert reviews all in one place. In order to become a top critic at RT, you have to go through an extensive application process and meet a lot of hefty requirements, such as working for a top 100 daily or weekly newspaper, or running a site that maintains at least half a million views each month. With those kinds of stipulations in place, every opinion you see should be dripping with authority. So why is it that when I log onto the page for Deadpool, a universally loved moneymaking machine, I am greeted by a review like this one?
Hands down the best place online to get movie reviews (from a dude named Cole).
Nothing against this website that I've never visited and almost certainly never will, but how in fuck's full name did this opinion make it to the main page for one of the highest-grossing R-rated films of all time? And it's not just new movies like Deadpool, either. When you open up the page for The Godfather, you're greeted with much of the same caliber of criticism. You have reviews from The Los Angeles Times and the legendary New York Daily News right alongside a whole bunch of sites that positively no one is relying on for movie reviews.
In case you're more of a "reviews by a dude named Matt" type.
If you're anything like me, you were probably unable to enjoy Captain America: Civil War until you heard the full review from some random guy's website. Luckily, Civil War's front page has a metric fuckton of them.
Is Cinemixtape a division of Pitchfork?
Pretty sure the suburbs of St. Louis have bigger things to worry about these days.
And of course, this one from Spirituality and Practice is just bursting with vital information for the moviegoing public.
Wondering how Tony Stark impacts your chakra? Click here to find out!
Look, I'm the last guy who would shit on someone's personal website. I've had one for 13 or 14 years, and I still have a 10-year-old bottle of champagne ready to pop when I reach 1,000 page views. But it kind of bugs me that I could write a movie review on my garbage website, and that review could potentially influence someone by popping up on the main aggregator page for a multi-million-dollar film.
It would be one thing if the page just displayed a bunch of random reviews every time you refreshed, but that is not the case here. Any old asshole with a local newspaper can find themselves wedged between the big boys and remain there, possibly forever. This is pretty disconcerting for a guy who relies on Rotten Tomatoes to find out if a movie is worth seeing, so something like 2007's The Invisible never tricks me into buying a ticket again. Now I don't know who to trust.
Hollywood never trusted you again, Justin Chatwin.
#3. WikiHow Is Giving Your Kids Terrible Advice
If you've ever had to fix an old Nintendo or required lessons on how to ditch a dead body, odds are you've landed on a WikiHow page at some point in your life. In fact, if you google any activity with the words "How to" at the beginning, the first few results will typically present you with links to WikiHow. The site's goal is to create the most extensive how-to site known to man, a task at which they've done a pretty good job by using crowdsourcing.
Let's ignore the fact that the top 10 most viewed articles are basically a timeline of desperate searches from every sad introvert you've ever known.
Instead, I want to focus on the "Youth" section -- and if you have a youth at home, you absolutely should, too. Aside from possibly using the same artist who makes those NSFW Wikipedia drawings, the section is chock-full of bad and sometimes dangerous information.
For instance, in the section for Young Girls, an article explains how to stop being ugly and start being popular. One of the first things it tells girls to do is buy new clothes and "look at the girls around your school to see what they're wearing." Later on in that same article, it tells girls that the way to go from ugly to popular is to "Have your own unique style." That type of conflicting information is the last thing a young lady needs to hear when she's already confused and unhappy with herself. But don't worry. If all else fails, that same article tells girls to just go and get a tattoo -- an activity that is fun for all ages!
Another winner from the Youth section is "How to make everyone want to be your best friend" which actually advises your dumb kid to start spreading gossip so that people will like them.
Make other kids regret opening up to you, a lot.
And if your child is one of those "indoor kids," they can head on over to the page regarding "How To Have Fun At Home Alone If You're A Girl." "Fun" must have a loose meaning at The How, because number one on that list is "Do some chores," followed by "Change into some different clothes." After you're done those time-consuming tasks, WikiHow doubles back and says, "Oh, right. You may want to lock your doors and windows, too," because you don't want a burglar robbing a messy house.
Keeping in mind that this section of the site is for youths trying to figure out how to kill some time, number seven basically tells young girls "mix up a bunch of shit in your house and put it on your face" with no further explanation.
That is definitely a bottle of laundry detergent on the right.
That's almost the exact opposite of the advice parents give their kids before they leave them alone for the night. In fact, "Don't fuck around with the stuff under the sink" is like Parenting 101. And here's the 236th-ranked site on the internet telling kids to ignore that lame-ass advice and instead just mix that shit up and dump it all over your face.
It's becomes pretty apparent when reading through these pages that these were mostly written by kids for kids. No self-respecting adult would write a WikiHow about how to start a gang and claim turf.
That actually sounds kind of sick.
But children advising other children is kind of a problem. The reason adults are the authorities on dishing out advice is that kids usually don't know shit about shit. So having a section like this on the certified "How To" division of the internet is just asking for trouble. Especially when they're handing out checklists on how to most effectively lie to your parents or even run away from your fucking home.