The crowd is a tool that can inspire or mislead.

The crowd can project judgement or uncover more.

The crowd can be manipulated or given the opportunity to add value and thought.

The problem is that without knowing, the crowd gets used to serving the goals and objectives of someone else. Fake news, clickbait, posters on your coffee shop bulletin board.

Last week a friend re-posted an article with a shocking headline. If you only read the headline and his comment you could be easily swayed toward his opinion, which was full of bias. My concern was that he hadn’t even read the article or researched it further than the headline before sharing. That’s the judgement of a crowd.

But the crowd can also choose to be curious. Let me click the link, let me see the sources of this information, let me respond versus reacting. That’s the wisdom versus the madness.

Mars, the $37B candy company, reported that chocolate can improve memory. A few shares down the line and chocolate is reversing the effects of Alzheimer disease. Except it’s not. The research had shown that a concentrated supplement of flavanols (found in cocoa) helped a small group of people remember a pattern better than a control group who did not get the supplement. In order to get that same amount of flavanols one would need to eat 5 kg of chocolate a day. Just like our friends online, industry inflates results to support their claims.

So, next time you read that headline, be curious.

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