When I was in kindergarten, I told everyone that I was a Houston Oilers’ (the Houston football team before the Texans) cheerleader. That’s right ... I said I was a professional cheerleader. I told my friends, my teachers - heck, I told anyone who would listen. And after a while, I truly believed that I WAS a Houston Oilers’ cheerleader. Because I was a kindergartener, no one really asked for those real-life details to prove that I was actually a cheerleader. No one really said much; most just smiled or laughed when I told them. A few days later, I actually forgot I was a professional cheerleader and went on to become the sheriff’s wife in our recess game of “Cowboys.” Here’s the lesson learned - just because I said I was a professional cheerleader did not make it true. But I’m afraid that lots and lots of people haven’t learned that very important lesson, especially on social media. Lately, I have read post after post about information that is simply not true. As a teacher, I stressed over and over the importance of looking at information critically, taking the time to check the source and validate the information. Many of the “lessons” I tried to teach in my classroom were hard to connect to the real world because some things you just have to experience as an adult. But sadly, this critical analysis connection was easy to illustrate as I used example after example of intelligent adults who “shared” information as factual when in reality, the information was NOT true. My students noted that those intelligent adults lost credibility and respect for following the “just because I say so” mentality without critically analyzing the information. I hate to break it to you, but just because it's on the Internet or a news show or stated by an “expert” doesn't make it true or factually based. Here’s the deal -- check your facts before you post or present. And check multiple sources for such facts. If you can’t validate the information or the source, DON’T present … or post … or “like” … or “share” … etc Strategies believes that responsible communicators always critically analyze before sharing. And although I never became a professional cheerleader, I will always be cheering that people go beyond the “just because I say so” and share reliable and validated information.