Book Reviews and Forward Views with Stella Constance
YOUR INFORMATION SOURCES SHAPE YOUR WORLD
When a person needs information to make informed decisions about how to interact with diverse individuals, social groups, ideas, animals, environments, products, services, institutions, governments, and organizations, how does an individual go about researching and gathering the information that will chart positive future personal and group experiences? What blogs, opinions, or research/studies should the reader believe?
The importance of knowing the origin of any information, is more important now than ever before. Can people trust information coming from anonymous writers and editors? Do they know who is funding them or their media platform (some of them worth in the multi-millions of dollars)? To know the bias of a writer, editor or media platform (through the public acknowledgement of their stakeholders), is to know their slant on how and why the information is provided. Without being able to do so, the reader and researcher, can become vulnerable to biases and agendas, which in some cases, can create life altering changes, sometimes not in one’s best interest – or society’s. In fact, if in-depth research was done, that person might even discover a conflict of interest. It is recommended to take a post-secondary institutional research approach: use a variety of reputable and known sources to validate the information for topic researches, such as books, magazines, journals, website sources, etc. Get to know the writers and editors of your information sources, to validate the quality of the information provided.
However, Satirist (1) Stephen Colbert said it best, that “reality has become a commodity” – a relevant point of remembrance, as we surf the Information Age. Perhaps, more care needs to be taken when people use the search engines provided (for free), with their unique methods of topic listing of promoted websites placed at the top, that there should also be a “caveat emptor” reminder: the information provided within is “without a warranty, the buyer [consumer] takes the risk” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). So, do free services exist on the Internet? Just a friendly reminder: no. The personal information gathered about you and the information they promote (market), is the payment.
So, what is the worth of “your reality”? Your family’s reality? Your community’s reality? Get to know your information sources, well – after all, they’re only human.
1 Stephen Colbert (political satirist). The Colbert Report: The Word. Comedy Central, January 29, 2007.