If Pinocchio’s nose growth was actually a “thing”, and people had to pay for lying online… what would our world look like?
Don’t believe everything you find on the internet. . . We’ve heard this line 1000 times. Yet, as we reach for our phones day after day, before opening both eyes each morning, it amazes me how so many of us consume what we are reading, without stopping to question the validity of it.
Since the majority of my time is spent reading peer reviewed journals and textbooks and keeping my 2 and 5 year olds active these days, I don’t take much time to do additional reading these days. The extent of my media consumption comes from Facebook, Twitter and the 2 quick minutes of Z99 that I hear on my 4 minute drive (which I love!!) to and from work each day.
Let’s just say, I’m a bit out of the media loop these days. I somehow managed to avoid hearing about the ferries in Mexico that had been blown up, until just last week. I am literally living in a grad class bubble at the moment…
Occasionally, I take the time to numb out before bed and first thing in the morning though and I do take in a bit of Facebook and now Twitter, thanks to this class. I check Facebook out of habit. Like Amy, I began using Facebook as a social lifeline. However, the world of Facebook has drastically changed over time and there is no longer such a strong focus on staying connected, but rather a flood of news (fake and real), advertising, and social protests that range in things I agree with to strongly oppose. The advertising really gets me though. All too often, people I love dearly fall into the reoccurring “share” traps. They receive fake promises of gift cards, discounts, and other goodies, and the “shares” go wild. I always have to stop and chuckle… Thankfully, I can see through those hoaxes fairly easily.
The majority of news articles that I read these days are often linked in a post on Facebook or Twitter. For the most part, I tend to find the quality of literature, or at least the decomposition of inaccurate articles linked on Twitter to be much more educative. This likely has to do with the fact that the people that I am connected with on Twitter have mainly resulted from this class… so the articles and links they are posting, share the same purpose that I have. To educate and to scrutinize what we are reading.
On facebook, I interact with a wide variety of people however, and this results in a wide variety of information coming my way when I logon. There have been times when I have had a hunch that something sounds too good to be true, or something just doesn’t sit right. In these instances, I have googled the article post names followed by the word “hoax” and usually confirm my suspicions. However, I have learned through this class that there are a few go-to places that I can use as resources when I am not ready to believe new information on first glance. Factscan, canadafactcheck, Snopes, and Politifact are just a few great sources that can be accessed when checking the validity of what I am reading.
For me, I think growing up as a criminal defense lawyer’s daughter has given me an innate ability to sniff out the fluff. I have had real luck attracting fraudulent promises on Kijiji while trying to rent out my house in Calgary in the past…. For example, after several emails back and forth for a rental request that seemed FANTASTIC, I woke up in the middle of the night and thought “something smells fishy”! I opened my computer and googled a line of the email the potential renter had written and low and behold, I was right in the middle of a first class scam that was about to land me in the danger zone. I didn’t really have the skills that I needed to be renting out a property online… I surely was not media literate in this area…. but thanks to my spidey-senses, I caught on before getting myself into a hot mess. The man had even sent me a variety of photographs of himself, his wife, his grandparents, and children… MAN! If only I knew then, what I knew now… I wouldn’t have needed my intuition to guide me. I just would have known better! I’ve been sure to smell out the phony baloney in Kijiji interactions ever since!
Anyways, back to fake news. It is everywhere. And it is easy to believe it all if you don’t know any better. You also attract what comes your way online. Filter bubbles, as explained by Eli Pariser definitely impact the news, advertisement, posts and search results that we interact with online. Being aware of cookies, and malware, will definitely help in securing your privacy and security online… but I feel that further understanding in how this process works an how I protect myself, would certainly be of benefit.
So, I suppose my feet are wet, and I’ve jumped into the media world unknowingly. However, I am reacting to the need to educate myself at a faster pace than I started out with. Through engaging in courses like ECI832 and ECI830, I have found ways that have helped me to become more media literate and online aware. I believe that I still have a long way to go, but for now, at least I’m keeping my head afloat!