Two Take Home Messages

After reading a number of article on issues related to finding authentic information in a socially network world, I have been given the task of identifying two take home messages that I believe will inform my work as an information professional.

My two take home messages are:-

  •  Not all is what it seems in the socially networked world.
  • Do your own research, critically evaluate information.

How do I believe these messages will inform my work?  Not only are these going to be important to me but as a future information professional I hope to be able to help other people gain skills in safely using the Internet in our socially networked world.  There are a number of issues that people need to be aware of so as to not fall unsuspectingly into hidden traps.

Not all is what it seems in the socially networked world.  Social networking can be used by people who are not what they seems, we are all familiar with accounts of older adults portraying themselves as young people of the opposite sex.  While not all people are this deceptive, individuals may give an impression that they are something they are not, portraying their offline self in a less than authentic ways.  An example of this could be the way photos are used on social networking profile to convey another impression of their physical body (Sessions, 2009).

Others are not what they seem, sending spam (tweets in this example) with the objective of making money of those who click on their links (Yardi, Romero, Schoenebeck, & Boyd, 2009).

Helping others to do their own research, critically evaluate information and the understand reasons why they should, is another area I hope to help people in my work.  Many people/students are turning to Wikipedia as their first source of information.  While socially generated information is useful, Wikipedia entries are edited based on the content being verifiable through published sources from peer review journals to mainstream newspapers, not necessarily the most accurate as Garfinkel’s article demonstrates (Garfinkel, 2008).

References

Garfinkel, S. (2008). Wikipedia and the meaning of truth. Technology Review, 111(6), 84-86.

Sessions, L. F. (2009). You Looked Better on MySpace: Deception and authenticity on the Web 2.0. First Monday, 14(7), July 6. Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2539/2242

Yardi, S., Romero, D., Schoenebeck, G., & Boyd, d. (2009). Detecting spam in a Twitter network. First Monday, 15(1), January 4. Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2793/2431

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