Markham Nolan: How To Separate Fact and Fiction Online

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Since my husband had to work all week, my mom flew to Orlando to spend the Christmas holidays with me.  We had such an amazing time shopping, dining, running, and screening movies.  Unfortunately, during all of the holiday fun, I haven’t been able to decompress by watching any TED Talks.  Today, after my mom’s plane left, I finally got a chance to sit around my dining room table and search TED.com.  I was instantly inspired by something new: Markham Nolan’s “How To Separate Fact and Fiction Online.”  Watch it here:

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I love the idea that with new technology and new media, there are more “reporters” than ever before.  Websites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter break news almost instantly… and for free.  The way we received news in the past has completely changed.  This is something we talked a lot about in my Legal and Ethical Issues in Communication class at UCF.  My amazing professor, Dr. Voss, wanted us to really look at the laws of the past (especially the First Amendment) that are shifting under our feet with all of these new technologies.

Nolan urges us to think critically about the images, status updates, and videos that we see on the Internet.  We have to scrutinize the source of all of the information we receive and filter the fiction from the facts.  This relates directly to the class that I teach, Professional Communication and Presentation, because we focus on research and logos when building a speech.  A presentation has to be backed by credible, reliable source material… but how do you really know if your source is legit?

Do you think the widespread use of social media has changed the landscape of “the news” in a positive or negative way?  How do you separate fact from fiction online?

*PS: Be sure to check out the data visualization at about the six minute mark.  It’s amazing!

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