Good thoughts and an important reminder about having a discerning eye when consuming media (you’re doing it right now). It’s always scary to me that people don’t look at sources or ask important questions about unsupported information. Be saavy, people. And education activists, is there anything being done to teach media smarts to kids in elementary school? Just as important as a World Civ requirement, I think.
While Twitter and Tumblr (especially Twitter) have been invaluable in the dissemination of information during major crises like the unrest in Libya and the Japan earthquake, they have also been echo chambers of inaccurate reports and unconfirmed sources. It’s becoming apparent that the speed at which information is reblogged and retweeted cements a “fact” before it can be fully vetted and confirmed. If something is regurgitated thousands of times or by a usually respectable source, it becomes considered truth.
That isn’t far from the old days of news when tidbits were passed through word of mouth, perhaps losing nuance or becoming exaggerated with each retelling. Especially in a world where so much relies on nuance, accuracy and tone, it seems important not to rely upon a word of mouth approach that is susceptible to corruption, exaggeration or rumors. This may end up being journalism’s true worth in this new age: its ability to establish credibility and vet information. Sure it’s thrilling getting live updates from Youtube and Twitter about what’s going on somewhere, but how do we know it’s true and current? How do we know that someone isn’t pulling a prank or exaggerating to hog the spotlight?