Social networking and information policy

Social networking and information policy

What policy issues have resulted from social networking?

Based on your reading of three (3) of the above readings on issues related to finding authentic information within a socially networked world, identify two (2) essential take-home messages that you believe will inform your work as an information professional.

Post a 350 word summary outlining your two take-home messages to your learning journal.

The way people judge the “truth” of information is changing.
The popularity of Wikipedia demonstrates the changing ways that people view information. Garfinkel notes that “On Wikipedia, truth is received truth: the consensus view of a subject” (2008), highlighting that ‘truth’, for Wikipedia, is different from traditional, objective accuracy. On Wikipedia, information will be deleted if it is not traced to a published source. Whereas the quality of the source was once considered very important, on Wikipedia the very fact of publication makes information suitable. The collaborative nature of Wikipedia leads to inaccuracies, but it also allows a community of editors to discover and correct them. Wittenburg refers to this collaboration as being similar to “trusted-peer models used in evaluating social interactions” (2007), where the editors act as trusted friends, providing objectivity.

The message that I took from my readings was that my view of the best way to judge the accuracy of information, which is informed by my work and studies, will not necessarily be the same as the view of library users. Instead of giving rigid prescriptions, information professionals should observe the way users find and evaluate information (Wittenburg, 2007). This will allow us to assist users in a way that suits their own information-seeking behaviour.

People still care about accuracy.

People are assessing information for accuracy in changing ways; however, this does not mean that they no longer care whether information is true. The fact that Wikipedia demands citation to outside sources, and the fact that information seekers rely on a community effort to ensure the accuracy of articles, are examples of information ‘quality-control’.

The anger of Myspace users who feel that other people are misleading others through their profiles is a stunning example of how seriously people take authenticity on the internet (Sessions, 2009).  I found it interesting that other users exposed people who posted misleading photos; This is similar to the collaborative, corrective way that Wikipedia editors remove false information.

My take-home is that people still care very much about receiving accurate information; Even if they find different ways to judge it’s accuracy, there is still a role for information professionals in helping them.

References:

Garfinkel, S. (2008). Wikipedia and the meaning of truth. Technology Review, 111(6), 84-86. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database. Available http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=35342513&site=ehost-live

Sessions, L.F. (2009). “You looked better on MySpace”: Deception and authenticity on Web 2.0, First Monday, 14(7), 6 July. Available http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2539/2242

Wittenberg, K. (2007). Credibility of content and the future of research, learning, and publishing in the digital environment. The Journal of Electornic Publishing, 10(1). Available http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;cc=jep;rgn=main;view=text;idno=3336451.0010.101

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