With the World Cup cricket and rugby tournaments taking place in the same year, South Africans have a lot to cheer for despite our teams sometimes literally dropping the ball at crucial times.

But along with all this excitement it seems as if a new sporting code is taking hold in the Overstrand and unwittingly many residents are supporting it. This new sport can be called Jumping to Conclusions (JtC).

With the advent of social media, the crucial gatekeeping role played by traditional media outlets has fallen into disrepair. With it has come a new type of information: unfiltered opinion delivered directly to a growing audience without scrutiny or favour for facts.

The rallying call of the social media opinionistas has become ‘fake news’ and ‘compromised journalism’. And while these phrases carry with them a modicum of truth, it has led to a situation where instead of robust debate the messenger has become the sole victim and the solution, to start our own group or page.

In turn, the public has become the victim of unfettered drivel spewed forth by ill-informed crusaders wanting to have their voices heard. The trouble is that these opinions are rarely informed by fact or, most importantly, offer both sides of the story.

Take any issue in the Overstrand and you will most probably find several pages and groups dedicated to either supporting or opposing it. Most often these groups will be based on someone’s jumping to a conclusion based on an unconfirmed fact. And never the twain shall meet. 

For us to take informed decisions we have to start questioning the ‘facts’ that are so easily flashed across our screens and start scrutinising the sources of this information. Also, look at the other side of the story and make up your own mind. It’s just safer than JtC.

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