We have reached the age of everyone having their own personal brand. What is yours? What makes it up? Have you even given it any thought? For those of us in media and media-related positions, this can be very important.
What do you do? What are the qualities with which you do it? And what is the result or impact?
I notice this as a trend with my friends and me. More often than not, most of us sit at social events with our phones in our hands. While we do manage to have conversations together, we spend a significant amount of time scrolling through our phones as well.
This isn’t bothersome to the friends who are connected in all areas of social media, but to a person like my sister for instance, this habit is annoying. What do you think?
Our phones are not accessories, but psychologically potent devices that change not just what we do but who we are. A second path toward conversation involves recognizing the degree to which we are vulnerable to all that connection offers. We have to commit ourselves to designing our products and our lives to take that vulnerability into account. We can choose not to carry our phones all the time. We can park our phones in a room and go to them every hour or two while we work on other things or talk to other people. We can carve out spaces at home or work that are device-free, sacred spaces for the paired virtues of conversation and solitude. Families can find these spaces in the day to day — no devices at dinner, in the kitchen and in the car. Introduce this idea to children when they are young so it doesn’t spring up as punitive but as a baseline of family culture. In the workplace, too, the notion of sacred spaces makes sense: Conversation among employees increases productivity.
But news in the digital age spreads faster than ever, and so do lies and hoaxes. Just like retractions and corrections in newspapers, online rebuttals often make rather less of a splash than the original misinformation. As I have argued elsewhere, digital verification skills are essential for today’s journalists, and academic institutions are starting to provide the necessary training.But ordinary people are also starting to take a more sophisticated approach to the content they view online. It’s no longer enough to read the news – now, we want to understand the processes behind it. Fortunately, there are a few relatively effective verification techniques, which do not require specialist knowledge or costly software. Outlined below are six free, simple tools that any curious news reader can use to verify digital media.