Howard Rheingold’s article describes the growing necessity to detect “crap” in the information we receive online. He provides loads of websites and methods for checking whether something is “goodinfo” or “badinfo” such as factchecked.org. Similar to Kovach and Rosenstiel, he argues that the individual needs to become “information literate” in order to properly sort the information he/she finds.
Here are some questions to consider.
What do you typically search on the internet? Do all types of searches require verification like Rheingold describes?
Some people like to refer to Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube as a kind of internet holy trinity (e.g. “Google is God”), which I believe strongly emphasizes our reverence and trust in these three sites. Are we too centered on these sources for information? Last year there were court cases against Google relating to how much it should be able to refer searches to its own services. Should we be promoting more competition among search engines?
On page five, Rheingold says that we need to think “like an intelligence analyst” when gauging the credibility of news. Is this something we can realistically expect from ourselves? From the average citizen reading online news?
On page six, Rheingold posits “information literacy could be even more important than the health or education of some individuals.” Should this become a more integral part of a middle or high school student’s education? Is this important enough that teachers should go over the reliability of tweets, emails, or social media posts in the classroom?
Here is an interesting visualization of the tweets and retweets relating to the Egyptian protests and revolution in 2011. It's a cool depiction of how information in tweets can be rapidly spread and and blossom into this huge web of info.