“Skepticism in Media Consumption” and Information Literacy
Skepticism is the most overarching component in information literacy. Skepticism in media consumption states specific issues with information that are important to our evaluation of information. Skepticism is important because a logical skeptic possesses one of the key components of information literacy. Skeptics are able to identify when information is questionable. Communication systems allow for people to send information that might contain a paid opinion, political agenda, trolling, gibberish, or information that creates pressure to jump to conclusions. These are all specific reasons to question the quality or intent of information. There are traces of all the aforementioned defects in information across all information platforms.
Mediums for communications sometimes share questionable information. This is partly due to journalism of assertion being commonplace among broadcasting networks and individuals that broadcast. Markham Nolan talks about methods of separating fact from fiction in his Ted x Talk. Nolan mentions how it took the earthquake 60 seconds to travel across a region in Costa Rica and how it took only thirty seconds for someone to broadcast viva the internet that an earthquake had just occurred. Thirty seconds for the information to be broadcasted (Nolan 2012). The nature of these almost instant transmissions is trouble for skeptics like Nolan because it leaves a lot of information to be processed. That is the nature of Nolan’s work using skepticism and online resources that are free to determine the authenticity of information shared online. Nolan’s career is centered around skepticism in media consumption and considering all information from all sources before succumbing to the pressure of jumping to conclusions. In this Ted Talk Nolan acknowledges the tendency for social media to promote echo-chambers, the issue of the limitless information pouring out of the 24-hour news cycle, and how exercising skepticism and information literacy online can lead us to discovering all sorts of information.
This Ted Talk brings to light some of the underlying concepts of media literacy. The advancements our country has made in technology has made collecting information more accessible. With such high access we can become overwhelmed by the information being projected in the spheres of our lives but armed with skepticism we are already a third of the way to attaining information literacy. If we apply information literacy disciplines to the constant streams of information we observe, we will learn new things about the world. In this age of information we have all the tools available to achieve a golden age in this period of information market expansion.
Nolan, M. (2012, November). Markham Nolan: How to separate fact and fiction online