This week’s module has really opened my eyes to the credibility that Wikipedia holds and after reading others opinions on the matter it seems that we share the same thoughts. I have gathered that most of us use Wikipedia for personal use such as looking up information on an actor or a movie etc. without hesitation. This is because it is the easiest and usually holds the most information but when it comes to academic research we use more caution and multiple sources to back up our research. Although my faith in Wikipedia has not really changed, since I have always been a fan and have had trust in it, my faith in other sources of information have slightly decreased. With sites like Encyclopedia Britannica, I have never had a concern for them containing errors but now I am more aware, that they are not so different from Wikipedia after all. It really goes to show you that one source is insufficient to gain the correct information. The collaborative work that is done by Wikipedia brings together different members of the community who may have different backgrounds but as a whole make one article together. Working together to produce one product is a lot better in my opinion than just one person expressing their knowledge. This will potentially reduce the amount of bias opinions being expressed and get a well rounded amount of information on the topic. I recently wrote a scientific summary for one of my courses and some of the remarks I received from the prof said that the articles I found were too bias towards the results of the experiments. Regardless that I used 15 sources I still wasn’t able to escape people’s opinions. That being said, if there were more sites like Wikipedia or perhaps even sites that provide a wide and diverse range of articles or documents on the chosen topic then it could potentially prevent people from gaining biased information. After learning that Wikipedia’s information is not that much more unreliable than the so called “reliable” sites, I think we should be allowed to include it as one of our references, provided that it is not the only one. I think the public should be more aware of the credibility that Wikipedia holds and that it shouldn’t be underestimated the way it is. Wikipedia is not perfect and there are definitely things that can be improved such as doing background checks on everything that is to be added or changed but the big message that I’ve taken away from this is that it is very important to back up your information with more than just one source. As accredited a document may be, there is always the chance of error.
In school we have always been told never to use Wikipedia as a source of our information as it is not reliable and may contain errors. My opinion is somewhat in the middle of this controversy. I have always used Wikipedia for personal use or as a starter of gaining my information or to gain some clarification on a certain topic as it is easily understandable and not as confusing as some research papers can be. That being said, when doing research for school, I will always try to find academic papers and peer reviewed journals to confirm and support my information and make sure that it is correct. After reading this week’s assigned readings my confidence in Wikipedia has not really changed. I have always kept in mind while doing research that most things I read will be biased based on the author or the scientist’s opinion. It is good practice to get in the habit of not relying on just one source, that to gain a greater understanding and one that is the most accurate you must take information from many sources. To say that Wikipedia is not a good source of information is not true in my opinion. Yes it can be edited by anyone but I think that gives it an advantage. It will not be just one persons view on the topic and has the opportunity for anyone to fix its mistakes where most other types of documents cannot. In the article by Nature, it relates the Wikipedia to the Encyclopedia Britannica and found that there is not a significant difference in the number of errors found (Giles, 2005). The reality of it is that no one is perfect and mistakes will happen. Whether you have an expert writing an entry or multiple people contributing to one, there will always be that chance of error. The thing about mistakes is that they can be fixed and Wikipedia is doing just that. Jensen states in his article that there are around 3300 active editors that are on the lookout for errors and vandalism (Jensen, 2012). With that many people watching out for errors there is a higher chance that it will be corrected when found.
There is an idea discussed in The Social Life of documents that I have never thought about before reading this article and it really stuck with me. It says that “in passing between communities, documents play an important role, bringing people from different groups together to negotiate and coordinate common practices” (Brown & Duguid, 1996). Documents found on Wikipedia give the public an opportunity for collaboration and connectivity between users. In a way it brings the community together where they can share their knowledge in a collaboration to create one document together and are also able correct each other when needed. This is different than most documents where you cannot actively change what is said or add in more information, which I think more sites should think about doing.
Brown, J. S. & P. Duguid. (1996). The Social Life of Documents. First Monday. 1, 1.
Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182
Giles. J. (2005). Special Report: Internet encyclopaedias go head to head. Nature. 438, pp 900-901.
From reading the posts and comments this week it seems like there are others who share my opinions about social media. We are all concerned about privacy and take a second thought before posting comments or pictures. There are certain social networks that are used for different things and have more privacy than others but there still seems to be some people that tend to use them appropriately. Looking back at my original post I realized that I was somewhat negative and naive towards social media in general, thinking that there was more cons than pros but after reading other posts I have changed my opinion slightly. I come from a small town that I visit frequently during the school year and none of my friends went too far from home to go to school and I see them often so I have never really had to rely on social media to keep in contact with them as some people might have to. Because of that I think that there are some cases that social media can be very helpful and beneficial if used in the proper fashion. That being said I think that there is still a healthy balance that needs to be kept while using social networks. There has become an increasing population of young children that have become more involved with social media and networks and I have not changes my mind about this topic. There will be plenty of time for kids to learn the ways of the internet and become involved in things like Facebook but they only have a short time to be kids and it shouldn’t be consumed with all the things that social media brings. The rest of us grew up without it and we are all doing just find and have been able to adapt. Especially in today’s world when there is a new trend almost every month, by time kids are old enough to start social networking there might be completely different ways of doing so. In conclusion to what I have posted this week and from what I have read from fellow classmates, we seem to all have a sharing opinion on the matter, that social media has its pros and cons and can be beneficial if used correctly.
Social media has changed the way we live our lives. As Shelley Turkle states,“ The little devices in our pockets are so psychologically powerful that they don’t even change what we do, they change who we are” (TED Blog, 2012). For some, that may be viewed as a good thing but when you look at all the things it has changed I think we have lost a lot more than we have gained. Things like privacy have almost become non-existent and social networks have become a place where people don’t have to be themselves, and in some cases can become a completely different person just because they can. Personal contact has been completely thrown out the window, no longer do you have to call someone to talk to them and entire conversations can happen without even seeing the person face-to-face. Everything in today’s world has become so digitalized that we have become two different people. While texting, emailing and sending messages online we are able to edit the things we say, think about it before we send them and become a better version of ourselves. When faced with meeting people in person and actually having a real conversation, we don’t get to edit the things we say and can’t take a day to respond to a question while we think about what we are going to say which has become a challenge for some. I think it’s almost ironic that we call it ‘social’ media because we seem to be losing out social abilities and skills when it comes to the real world. Sherry Turlke mentioned in one of her articles that a young boy of 16 once told her “Someday, someday, but certainly not now, I’d like to learn how to have a conversation” (Turkle, 2012). We are no longer having conversations but simply connecting (Turkle, 2012).
I have to admit that I am not innocent in all of this as I have conformed to society and have accounts for the major networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Although I have a multiple account for these different social networks I try to stay true to the person I was before the big bang of social media. I don’t use them to have an outlet; I believe that if you would not say it to a person’s face or could not talk about it in a real conversation then it should not be posted online and if you would be embarrassed to show your boss the pictures you post then to maybe think twice about posting them. I am a minimalist when it comes to posting things online, I don’t think it is necessary that everyone needs to know what I am doing at every moment. There is also the privacy issue. It is hard to have any type of privacy when you are involved in social media; the only way to really obtain a very private life style would be to completely avoid social networking. Even just to sign up for an account such as Facebook you are asked to fill out a list of things about yourself that aren’t always necessary, at least in my opinion. Even if you try to keep the things you post generic, there is still the problem that it will be on there forever. Boyd argues that “there is often a disconnect between students’ desire to protect privacy and their behaviours” (Boyd, 2007). People may be aware and concerned about their privacy but their actions do not equal up. There are only so many privacy setting you can apply to your account but the reality is that there is no such thing as privacy on the internet. If someone really wanted your information, there is a way. Everyone needs to start being more aware of what is being posted and come to the realization that things can come back to haunt you. We must be smart about social networking in an attempt to protect ourselves and our privacy.
Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship danah m. boyd Nicole B. Ellison Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 210–230, October 2007
Places we don’t want to go: Sherry Turkle at TED2012
Sherry Turkle. The Flight From Conversation. New York Times Sunday Review. April 21, 2012
My name is Jess and I am going into my fourth year at Brock University. My major is Biology and I love everything about it. Yes, I can sometimes be a little bit of a science geek but that’s who I am. Since I don’t get to have very many electives I thought this course would be a good one to take as it is completely different from everything else I study. I am a first time blogger so it may take me a bit to get used to the hang of things but I am excited to see what the media benefits this course has to offer. Although my passion is biology I decided to choose obesity for my topic of interest, specifically obesity in children, as it seems to be an increasing topic in the media.
The majority of children these days seem to be more obese compared to when I was a young child and I think it is a very important topic to discuss and something we need to find a solution for. For the last several decades it has been said that children live to be older than the previous generation but it has been suggested that the children of this generation will not live as long as their parents did. There are many factors that can be contributed to this and it is not just one single thing that can be changed to reverse this. When I was a young child we were always outside playing in the yard or the park and didn’t come in until the street lights came on at night, which was our curfew. There was very little time for watching TV or playing video games or surfing the net because we didn’t have the advanced technology that is around today so we didn’t really have a choice. But things are different these days. You see ten year olds walking around with cell phones, who are addicted to playing their video game and on social media networks or sitting on the couch all day watching television. The parks seem to be a little less empty than I remember them as a kid. Not only has the technology increased but so has the way we eat. Food isn’t as natural anymore and the food that is natural is either too expensive or too hard to find. These are just some of the things that are contributed to the increasing problem of child obesity and I’m excited to discuss more in future posts!
Have a good one!