In my middle school and even high school experience, using Wikipedia was a big no-no. It was known as this big void of information that was mostly untrue, and outright unreliable. Until I was a sophomore in college did I learn that Wikipedia can be used to find other resources about a certain topic of interest.
If there is a question whether a site is credible or is giving credible information, you can type in the main domain website into Google followed by “Wikipedia” and match up the information. You can see if the site you are using is local to the area in which an event or issue happened, if it is re-reporting a story, or if it is a real news or information site that is known for being credible. It takes time to learn how to spot out misinformation and learn how to fact-check but it is important for us, especially as students and people of the internet-age, to familiarize ourselves to this internet land better and be conscientious of what we understand to be factual.
So what other things have I learned about the use of the internet and how to use it as a resource? Fact-checking.
Fact-checking has become a necessary skill to have in this age of the internet. We are constantly bombarded with information that some people say is fake-news and some say is true and we must listen. How can we limit the amount of manipulated news stories that we ingest and create a well-balanced information-diet?
When you are scrolling on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook…
When you are reading up on the news…
When you are in discussion with others…
First, CHECK THE CLAIM. When you want to make sure something is credible or true, you can copy and paste (or rewrite) the title of the article (or words related to the information) into Google and try to find articles and credible news sources that are talking about the subject. To be sure that the source you are using is credible, check to see if the article is written professionally and without spelling errors. This seems simple but you would be surprised by how many sites contain spelling errors and odd formats.
It is also useful to put the words “fact-check” after the article or post heading/title.
For instance, I saw a tweet the other day that I wanted to find out more information about. Dan Scavino tweeted a clip from Joe Biden’s speech in St. Louis, Missouri that cut him off saying “We can only re-elect Trump”, which Donald Trump proceeded to retweet himself. So, I decided to go to Google and see what was happening here.
I found that Biden had not stopped at saying that the nation can only re-elect Trump, but proceeded to speak more on his slip-up of words. It is easy to cut off videos and post them in order to manipulate what people see or hear. Especially during the time where people of the United States are trying to understand the facts of our politics and decide on a candidate, there will be people tweeting and posting on Instagram and Facebook sharing their opinions or false information.
It is really easy to scroll and take in the information you see and call it fact. It’s unrealistic to say that everything we see on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram is not real. Social media has also become a place of truth. People share their stories, their experiences, their opinions and ideas — it has become a hub of information and humanity. But it is a place that contains all human tendencies – including dishonesty, confusion, or manipulation.
In order to care for ourselves, we must take care of our information-diet. We must be active in research, especially those involved with the news or social media. Take care of yourselves by being conscious and aware on social media/the internet.
Be kind and conscientious with yourselves and others on the internet & IRL folks!
Notion. 2020. Check, Please!. [online] Available at: <https://www.notion.so/Lesson-One-Introduction-to-SIFT-1609b8c742a94173a371db8e61d3a140>
Spencer, S. H. (2020, March 9). Viral Biden Video Is Deceptively Edited. Retrieved from https://www.factcheck.org/2020/03/viral-biden-video-is-deceptively-edited/