Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blog Group 2: Blog Post 3-You Need More People (Skeptics Wanted)

      When it comes to the consummation of information, we do not want it now. We want it 5 minutes ago. A website that takes more than 20 seconds to load warrants a call to our Internet Service Provider. Don’t respond to a text within a minute, people think you’re lying dead in a ditch somewhere. A shocking headline is posted on our social media and within minutes it has been shared or retweeted a thousand times over. In our effort to always want to be first, often inaccurate or blatantly untrue information is shared across the Internet. 
Skeptical child does not believe you
          In their book, Blur, veteran journalists, Bill Kovach and Tom Rosensteil introduce the concept of “skeptical knowing.” Skeptical knowing is about asking and knowing how to answer a series of systematic questions, (Kovach & Rosensteil, 2013), in an effort to verify the accuracy of information. Verifying information before you share ensures that you are viewed as a reliable source of accurate information. Whether you are sharing news about the latest celebrity gossip or the Ebola scare that is consuming the nightly television news, it is important to always be as accurate as possible with your information.
       Even if we do not make our livings professionally communicating information to others we all must abide by ethics. Ethically sharing information requires us to know the relevant facts, good or bad of a situation. Going back to the Ebola panic that is slowing growing across the United States, I have witnessed on my various social media outlets, an article from the website, National Report, , being shared as casually as one would share information about the Real Housewives of Whatever City. The National Report is a satirical site and the story about a Texas town being quarantined to due to an outbreak of Ebola is completely false. The article has been shared 118,000 times on Facebook and 1,222 times on Twitter (National Report, 2014). Despite having been verified as being false by and The Washington Post as late as today (October 19, 2014) readers of the National Report site continue to comment on the article as if it actual fact.
Kermit Sipping Tea
        In today’s age of rapid technological advancement, where anybody can upload an article or blog, post to the Internet, and reach thousands or millions of people, we all must be a bit more skeptical and not just accept everyone’s word as fact. We have to research and verify multiple sources. Once we are confident in the validity of our research we need to ask ourselves why this information is important enough to be shared. By sharing this information, who are the individuals or groups that will be most affected (Markkula Center, 2014)? Creating a false story about a potentially deadly virus in the hopes of gaining more hits to your website is not only unethical, but has the potential to cause unnecessary panic and further spread misinformation across the information superhighway.

Agni, J. M. (2014, October 14). Texas town quarantined after family of five test positive for the
     Ebola virus | National Report. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from

Google Images. (2014). Kermit Sipping Tea [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Google Images. (2014). Skeptical African Child [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). Blur: How to know what's true in the age of information
     overload. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. (2014). A framework for thinking ethically. Retrieved October
     16, 2014, from

National Report. (2014, October 14). Texas town quarantined after family of five test positive for the 
     Ebola virus | National Report. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from
     town-quarantined-family-five-test-positive-ebola-virus/ (2014, October 14). Texas town quarantined after family of five test
      positive for the Ebola virus. Retrieved October 19, 2014, from 

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