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The Importance of Being Earnest

28 Feb

The Digital Revolution is changing the way people communicate. The internet is increasingly becoming the means by which people get all their news and information, and many people are taking advantage of the internet to spread political information and viewpoints. This is especially true now that we’re coming into an election year.

While the internet is a marvelous tool, it comes with its own unique hazards. Anyone can say whatever they want, whether it’s real or fabricated. When it comes to the internet, the burden of proof and accuracy has shifted from the author to the reader. Becoming internet savvy is the key to using the internet as a tool for staying informed.

The first step in evaluating information on the internet is to find the source. If there is no verifiable source, your first reaction should be extreme skepticism. When in doubt about information, always do your own research. If something has sources, make sure that the sources are real, reputable, and are being quoted accurately. Use discernment when viewing videos and photographs, as they can be easily edited to modify their original content. The website Snopes.com is an excellent and impartial resource to find if something you’ve read is real or fake.

Some warning signs for questionable information include: if it sounds too good to be true, if it provokes a strong emotional response, if it has been sent to several people, as in a chain letter, or if the information is extremely shocking or graphic. The biggest red flag is if you are asked to spread the information to others

November 6th will be here before we know it, and theOregon primaries are just around the corner. It is a crucial time for every voter to have access to accurate information. Thomas Jefferson said, “wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government.” [1] In order to become well informed through using the internet, it falls to us, as individuals, to exercise discernment and sound judgment in filtering the information we receive.

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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Personal Responsibility

 

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