Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Designing for Spreadability part 1

Posted by jasendavis on April 5, 2017

It is interesting how you suggest that Wikipedia can and should be used as an academic tool to teach students what to believe as fact and what to question. I once had an English teacher that required us to write a paper using only Wikipedia as a source. A few weeks later, we had to rewrite the same paper using only academic journals. The papers did not differ much, but she would make it known when someone cited a false claim that was found on Wikipedia. I never really thought of this exercise as a learning experience, I just thought it was fun to see the things my classmates would fall for.

That does lead me to a bigger issue. We hold the right to say nearly anything we please, and it is up to others to parse through our words and decide for themselves what is true and what is false, and there is really no way to police the spread of “fake news”. I have a number of friends that will read a story and believe it to be true. No matter what the source of the author, it must be true in their minds if it aligns with their views. It is scary to think that a man like Donald Trump could have this effect on people when his sources are sites such as Breitbart and right wing radical websites.

I think finding a way to educate people in this era of spreadable media would be a great accomplishment, I just don’t know how one would go about it.


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