This week’s lecture poised some very thoughtful and interesting questions. We covered the evolution of technology. We explored the creation of fire and twitter and everything in between. A topic that was brought up both in the lecture and in the book, Superconnected: the internet, digital media, and techno-social life by Mary Chayko, is whether or not fast information is better information. That is what I am hoping to decipher. How Facebook, fake news and friends are warping your memory describes how people can create collective memories that are actually false.
This phenomenon, called memory convergence, occurs when friends or acquaintances discusses memories with each other and even if they are incorrect, the people can convince themselves that it is exactly what happened.
This has happened in the past just as it has happened now. The article also explained that people tend to do this more with those that they see as a part of their social group. This can include face to face communication and online communication on websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Because of this, when people see these fake news articles on their news feeds, shared by their friends, they often do not question them the way they should. Sometimes they will even share the article and continue the spread of fake news. These “memories” can even be passed down by generations when left uncorrected. One positive thing the article mentioned is the fact that, most of the time, people have the ability to change these incorrect memories when presented with the correct information from a reputable source.
While this article talks more about the way fake news infiltrates the mind, I think it can be tied back into our lessons this week in several ways. Information used to be spread by word of mouth, but now you can Google just about anything and get an answer within seconds. However, fake news isn’t just limited to recent times. The article explains that different racial groups can have different memories and feelings about the same history. One major difference in communication in the present is that people can publish anything on the internet and it has the potential to go viral. The fake news can spread like wildfire. I have personally experienced the effects of fake news on my own social media news feed. People can become extremely distressed over news articles that aren’t even accurate. However, I do think that technology can also prevent the spread of false information.
We have the ability to verify information right at our finger tips. Before people had to rely on word of mouth, but now we have the ability to dig into news sources and research their credibility. This article showed me that I need to be careful and question things I read more often. I have found myself researching the source of information with every article I read. Another important thing to look out is the date on articles. People often share articles that are years old and get upset over issues that have already passed. In conclusion, I believe that faster information is actually better because it allows us to access unlimited information in an instant and confirm its validity.